A groundbreaking study by the Harvard Business Review a few years back found that women were being passed over for top executive positions for one primary reason: their reluctance to network.

So, in 2004, a dozen top female executives at what was then The Bank of New York decided to establish an internal networking group to help mid-level female executives break out of their shells. They served as mentors, led workshops with titles like "Balancing Strategic and Tactical Thinking" and "Building Credibility and Influencing People," and organized networking activities across the company's business units.

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