One billion strong: Women in the workforce will be the agents of change

one-billion-womenIt used to be a man’s world.

If you’ve seen the TV series, Mad Men, when men were in charge at the office, you get a sense of how it was for working women in the 1960s. If they weren’t nurses, hygienists or teachers, very often they were secretaries who developed management skills. They took pride in becoming indispensable to an employer, but it was rare for them to advance to positions of leadership. That was also a time when many women worked only until a man proposed and agreed to support them financially. So unless they had no plans to marry, were they thinking about their career goals and what they could achieve? Not if those goals didn’t seem to be in reach. Nor did they have the “power in numbers” support they can access today.

In the coming decade, according to a survey from Booz and Company, women will have more company than ever before. One billion women are expected to enter the workforce. And if the economy is going to grow globally, women need to aim to lead and therefore become economic agents of change.

Fortunately, the most powerful leaders in the world are recognizing that equality in the workplace—equal participation by men and women at the highest levels of leadership—is essential. In England, Prime Minister David Cameron has challenged corporations with an ultimatum to promote more of its female executives to boards of directors.

I started The DAWN Network to encourage more women to join the naturals industry, aspire to develop and lead their own companies as well as work toward becoming leaders in the field.

DAWN—Developing and Advancing Women in Naturals—strives to double the number of female leaders in the natural products industry over the next three years by creating and promoting networking and coaching opportunities.

Help us make leadership in the workplace as much of a woman’s world as it is a man’s. Join DAWN and let us know how we can help you.

You can also submit blog articles for The DAWN Network blog.

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With thanks to:

Welcome to DAWN!

Welcome to DAWN!

Dear newest member of Developing and Advancing Women in Naturals:

Per your request, you have now been officially enrolled as a DAWN member and will have access to our organization and its attendant website and blog,

We are thrilled to add your voice and creative energy to this new alliance supporting women’s ascent in the natural products industry. DAWN fosters female executive achievement and entrepreneurship within this domain by providing informational guidance and technical assistance through its website, e-newsletter and workshop events.

Our DAWN network blog ( features original and published articles concerning women in business, from issues we face to ways we can surmount them. In our current “Executive Spotlight,” we talk with The Vitamin Shoppe executive Rikke Cumberbatch and Digestive Care and Nutrition Expert Brenda Watson about what drives them to excel in the naturals industry today. We also examine the importance of “envisioning” in female leadership appraisal and development.

We foresee both the website and blog as forums for mentorship and sponsorship tools, active networking facilitation, self-assessments, e-newsletter distribution, industry job searches and more. We are currently designing these highly interactive elements and welcome all ideas and suggestions you may have during this process. As well, if you are interested in writing for our blog or newsletter, please email with your thoughts or to request more information.

A word about DAWN:

DAWN was founded on the belief that the natural products industry is perfect for women’s individual and collective leadership. With its attention to sustainable sourcing practices, naturals industry has proved especially alluring to female professionals and start-ups, and therefore is primed for our across-the-board success! By harnessing our shared ambition and ecological ethics, we have the chance to positively impact our industry, while simultaneously furthering women’s overall contributions in business.

For each new DAWN member, Reserveage Organics will donate $5 to the Whole Planet Foundation, which provides microcredit loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. The foundation targets the poorest individuals and families, with a special focus on women. We are excited to share in Whole Planet Foundation’s mission to add financial leverage to women’s ingenuity –the core principle of DAWN.

DAWN newsletter:

DAWN will launch its inaugural newsletter at Expo West in March 2012! In the interest of conserving paper, the newsletter will be available only through our website, where issues will be archived and accessible to active members.

Our first edition will focus more deeply on “envisioning opportunities and trends” as well as on the crucial differences between “sponsorship” and “mentorship” – two areas that the prestigious Harvard Business Review has identified as vital to furthering women’s professional advancement.

We look forward to DAWN being a collaborative venture that will show the world what innovative and inspiring leaders women truly are!


Naomi Whittel, Founder and the DAWN team