At a recent business meeting, I found myself feeling distinctly out of place. At first I didn't know why.
I realized that in this room full of senior business professionals, I was the only woman. One of the men extended his hand, and asked... which of the other men I was with. Not my name, not who I worked for, but who I was with.
As I've progressed to my current position as general counsel, I've increasingly found myself the lone woman in a sea of men. Seeing a woman in corporate leadership is so rare that this man assumed I was someone's guest.
I laughed it off then, but the lack of gender diversity in corporate leadership is no joke. 24 Fortune 500 companies have no women on their boards. And although women hold more than half of all professional-level jobs, they make up only 14.6% of executive officers and 4.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs.
When I talk about adding women to boards, I'm asked one question: Why add women to leadership positions? My answer is -- why not? Why is the default leader male?