In six years, BNY Mellon's Karen Peetz has helped grow the women's professional development program she chairs to impressive heights. The bank's Women's Initiatives Network, launched in 2004 as a small gathering of Bank of New York female executives, has expanded to 40 global chapters to assist more than 2,000 women, and even some men, with their networking prospects and career path.
But don't look for a "mission accomplished" banner draped around BNY's One Wall Street tower. Peetz is working with other executives involved in the women's network to scrutinize how much the initiative has truly helped in moving females up in the firm. "What we are now drilling into now is, 'What are the results so far?'" says Peetz.
BNY Mellon has one of the industry's highest percentages of women at the operating and executive-committee level (16.9 percent in 2009). But just two years ago women comprised less than 10 percent of the executive ranks. Peetz and other members are still worried many senior-level women are being left behind.
Peetz wonders, for instance, how many may be shut out because they don't gain profit-and-loss business line experience earlier in their careers. "To me, you can't really pop somebody into a P&L at 55 if they haven't been doing that since 40," she says.
Peetz has expanded the talent reviews of her group's own mid-level executives to include their performance over P&Ls, "because that's really a determinant of whether people will continue to rise in the organization," she says.