Paradigm for Parity® CEO Spotlight Series: Julie Kampf
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.
This week we are pleased to feature Julie Kampf, CEO and Chief Possibilities Officer of JBK Associates, who speaks about the challenges of being a female executive in today’s corporate world. Kampf shares that she “personally [has] taken a mentorship approach with all the women to help them overcome any issue relating to asking for what they need” to “readily identify those opportunities so that they are universal and open to everyone.”
- What motivated your company to join the Paradigm for Parity® coalition?
Our firm has been a leader in the diversity arena for the past 20 years and was founded on the principles of equality and parity. This was not an “initiative” that was put into place because it was political or mandated but because it was a human issue that we addressed from the start of our business. Many firms decided in the several years that they need to up their game in the diversity recruitment arena because they needed to be competitive. When we started our firm 20 years ago, we knew that equality, parity and equity was critically important to companies, and therefore, by bringing the best candidates to our clients from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, we achieved great things with our clients. Paradigm for Parity® was an incredible platform for companies to get on board with what should have been done a long time ago and this really helped to provide a community to make a change.
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 fully believe that a company’s cultural landscape and environment start at the top. When the CEO of an organization takes the full responsibility to ensure the entire organization is committed to equality, it will happen. Many times, we see that CEOs have not encouraged this passion and commitment and therefore have lacked the ability to create the most diverse and equitable company. It is not an easy path to go down and it should not be one of mandate but one of openness and willingness to look at all possibilities. When organizations are fully committed to creating the most diverse and inclusive organization, that is when the magic happens. Innovation is a phenomenal effect of a diverse and inclusive organization where people are being treated fairly and equally and that includes gender, color, age and beyond. Gaining mindshare from people of all backgrounds and experiences opens the communication and generates incredible ideas.
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?
Having been in the position of assuming the responsibilities that a male counterpart had and never getting the title or equal compensation, I can personally comment on how much difficulty that creates. Women are not typically wired to ask for what they want and it’s unfortunate that women have had to fight for equality from all aspects including compensation and title and thankfully, we are seeing a shift, but it takes a company-wide approach and commitment. The studies are out there for everyone to read how exceptional the productivity and results are when women are involved on management teams, on boards and throughout the company. It also helps companies attract great talent as they will see there is a place for women to ascend to and be successful.
4. How is your company advocating for, lifting up and supporting women of color in your workplace?
We are constantly creating opportunities for all people in our organization and quite a number of our team members come from backgrounds of color and diversity. Everyone has a seat at the table, and everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and their thoughts. We are and have been fully committed to hiring people from diverse backgrounds not only for their experience, but their forward-looking ability to grow with our firm, by taking on new challenges even if they have never experienced it before. It’s critical to provide the opportunity and the foundation and let people soar. What has made the biggest difference in advancing all women in your company? It’s important to our firm to provide the opportunity for everyone, but, I personally have taken a mentorship approach with all the women to help them overcome any issue relating to asking for what they need. I feel plugged in to the team and readily identify those opportunities so that they are universal and open to everyone.
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?
All of the points in the Paradigm for Parity® are equally important, but Mentorship and Sponsorship are key critical components so that women of color will have the same advancement opportunities as others in the organization. Those relationships with mentors and sponsors are close knit and they learn so much about the people they are working with to give them ideas, and the confidence that they can get to where they want. I believe everyone should have at the very least a mentor but having both a mentor and sponsor is a fabulous way to ensure that there is a trusted confidant that will support the goals of each individual. Hopefully that person has lived it and can impart wisdom and knowledge in a compassionate forum.
Julie Kampf is a global business executive and thought leader on talent and diversity, with 30 years of experience in the life science and retail/consumer industries and on not-for-profit Boards of Directors. She is currently a Board Director for both Marizyme, Inc. and Jupiter Neuroscience, both Florida-based biotech companies, and, Chief Executive Officer of JBK Associates International. She founded JBK in 2003, which has grown to become a multi-million-dollar company as one of INC’s fastest growing private companies, four consecutive years. Julie has a reputation for delivering results that exceed expectations working with company CEOs and Boards, ranging from those included in the Fortune 100 to early stage start-up companies. She is a current member of the NACD and The Private Director’s Association.
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.