On Tuesday, Kathryn Heath addressed a crowd of students, faculty and community guests for the annual Bobby Boyd Leadership Lecture at the UNC School of Social Work. In her bright pink blazer and skirt, Heath discussed how women can take ownership of their careers based on her latest New York Times Bestseller, “Break Your Own Rules.”
As a founding partner of Flynn Heath Holt Leadership, Heath currently serves as a leadership and career coach, specifically for women. She explained why her work is critical in the current political climate through a visual representation of the gender representation gap in corporate America.
Referencing a model known as the "red suit vision", Heath described a typical suite where company executives meet. If, theoretically, the men wore gray suits and the women wore red suits, Heath said only 2.2 people would be wearing red suits in the suite. To make matters worse, Heath noted that one seat would be the designated “pink seat” for human resources, which is dominated by women but does not hold as much power.
Heath has found that her former position as senior vice president and director of First University at First Union bank, now Wells Fargo, gave her key insights into the ways of modern corporate America. She called on women to understand corporate systems in order to gain influence.
“If I deeply care about something, how do I drive that change in an organization wherever it is where you want that change to come,” Heath said. “Figure out who’s going to make the decision.”