Paradigm for Parity® CEO Spotlight Series: Gina Drosos
The Paradigm for Parity® coalition CEO Spotlight Series showcases member company CEOs who are transforming their corporate culture to advance women of all races, cultures and backgrounds.
As Women’s History Month comes to an end — but our work to close the corporate gender gap continues — we are pleased to feature Gina Drosos, CEO of Signet Jewelers. Drosos spoke about her roles as CEO, a mom and a mentor, sharing: “I am a CEO today, but I will always be a mom first. The pandemic created overwhelming hardships for parents raising young children, and by a large proportion, this impacted women more so than men. We realize our team members’ needs are continuously changing, and we aim to ensure this is reflected in our overall employee experience.”
- What motivated your company to join the Paradigm for Parity coalition?
We are intentional about creating a work environment within Signet where women feel respected, supported and positioned for success in both their personal and professional lives. This has been and continues to be an integral part of our overall growth plan and key to our values-driven, people-first culture and our Purpose of Inspiring Love.
For the past four years, we’ve been named to the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index and, for the past two years, certified as a Great Place to Work®. In fact, 91% of our team feel people at Signet are treated fairly regardless of sexual orientation, race or gender based on responses to the Great Place to Work® Trust Index© Survey.
We’re proud of what we’ve achieved together and energized to do more. Our involvement with Paradigm for Parity and the coalition’s 5-Point Action Plan gives us a strong roadmap to build on these efforts to ensure gender equality across Signet and within our sphere of influence with our business partners.
2. What role can/should CEOs play in leveling the playing field for marginalized groups, including women and people of color, in the workforce?
I believe that true diversity is a business driver. That’s why our DE&I strategy is aligned to our Employee Experience and Corporate Sustainability Goals.
I am a CEO today, but I will always be a mom first. The pandemic created overwhelming hardships for parents raising young children, and by a large proportion, this impacted women more so than men. We realize our team members’ needs are continuously changing, and we aim to ensure this is reflected in our overall employee experience.
Since I became CEO in 2017, I’ve focused our team on creating gender parity at every level. This focus has resulted in women comprising 50% of our senior leadership team and 42% of our leaders holding the title of VP or above.
Among our Corporate Sustainability goals, we’ve committed to earmarking contributions for scholarships and academic partnerships for historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic serving institutions to increase the diversity of our interns and direct hires. We’re also focused on increasing the representation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), among our Director and above leadership roles in our support centers by 20% by 2030.
3. What do you consider to be the benefits of leveling the playing field for women in the workforce for your company and society as a whole?
Leveling the playing field is a key component of our business strategy. A diverse team makes us more agile, more innovative, and helps our people bring their whole selves to work. It also helps us mitigate biases that could hold us back and mirrors the communities we serve. Over the past several years, we’ve made a concentrated effort to recruit with these goals in mind so we would get past our own biases — and hire people that don’t always look like us. This starts with our Board of Directors. Today, 58% of our Board is diverse with women comprising 42%.
We’re also focused on lessening hierarchy and ensuring team members feel safe in speaking up, which benefits the entire organization. As senior leaders, listening and drawing answers throughout the organization simply helps us make better, more informed decisions across all facets of our business, including those that impact our engagement and contributions to the world outside of Signet.
4. How is your company advocating for, lifting up and supporting women of color in your workplace?
Integrating diversity into our business strategy and our culture is what makes the difference. Two years ago, we initiated our Black Organizational Leadership Development (BOLD) Mentoring program. I’m proud to be a mentor to one of our talented VPs of Operations who is participating in the program. It’s a relationship that I value personally and professionally as we both learn from each other.
We also have several Business Resource Groups (BRGs). Our Women’s BRG is one of our largest and most active. The group has been instrumental in advocating for advances that impact our diverse female team members, including enhancements to our paid family leave policy, financial empowerment workshops, instituting a working Mom panel and more.
Our Black Employee Network is also an active group led primarily by Black female emerging leaders. Among its activities, the group is designing and facilitating development workshops on topics such as Inspiring Love, Authenticity & Laughter and building resilience as well as spreading awareness of community health topics and connecting team members to resources that affect Black women disproportionately.
5. When you look at the Paradigm for Parity coalition 5-Point Action Plan, is there one step that you think is most critical to ensuring that women of color have the same opportunities for advancement as their colleagues?
Realizing they all work in tandem, identifying women of potential and giving them sponsors and mentors is a step that I think is key. I’m so grateful for what I have learned as both a mentor and mentee over the years. As I mentioned, in 2020, we launched the BOLD mentoring program. This program is designed for our high potential team members of color and pairs these emerging leaders with our executive leadership. Mentees are also offered opportunities for various enrichment activities such as Fireside Chats with our C-suite, bi-weekly coaching sessions, growth mindset workshops, professional development tools. All these elements create a sense of community and sponsorship. This program has already led to 37% of mentees having a positive career shift or promotion, and we look forward to continuously enhancing the program based on the input of all involved.
Virginia “Gina” C. Drosos is the Chief Executive Officer and has been on Signet’s Board of Directors since 2012. Gina previously served as President & CEO of Assurex Health, where she delivered significant revenue growth and executed the strategic sale of the Company to Myriad Genetics for up to $410 million. Prior to Assurex Health, Gina spent 25 years at The Procter & Gamble Company (“P&G”), where she held positions of increasing responsibility with strong proven results and became a thought leader in Beauty and mass brand retailing.
Gina holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from The Terry School, University of Georgia, and a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
About Paradigm for Parity®
Paradigm for Parity® is a coalition of business leaders dedicated to addressing the corporate leadership gender gap. The coalition is made up of CEOs, senior executives, founders, board members, and business academics who are committed to achieving a new norm in the corporate world: one in which women and men have equal power, status, and opportunity. The ultimate goal is to achieve full gender parity by 2030, with a near-term goal of women holding at least 30% of senior roles.
* Photo by Phil Masturzo, Akron Beacon Journal