1. The composition of C-suite leadership across the spectrum is notably different than it used to be ten or so years ago. Recent stats from Deloitte show that females in the C-suite now account for 28% of the overall composition, a marked uptick from 18.6% a decade ago.

But as the world emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, it has become clear that the pandemic’s economic and social tolls have disproportionately affected women. So, what is in store for women C-suite leaders in the post COVID era? I believe female executives will leverage lessons learned this year to emerge into 2021 stronger and more supportive, pulling more women back to organizations into leadership roles. 

Female executives should be at the frontline of emerging C-suite roles

COVID-19 has taught business leaders the real power of expanding diversity in the C-suite. We’ve witnessed emerging senior leadership roles steer organizations successfully through the pandemic. However, what’s even more interesting is that women occupy the vast majority of these emerging C-suite roles.

As such, women executives should position themselves for success in these new roles, from chief data officer, chief digital officer, and chief innovation officer to chief sustainability officer and chief transformation officer. What’s more, many of these C-suite positions typically don’t have a set career path, so women can use various avenues to get there, and CEOs should pave the way for them to do so in 2021. 

There’s great value in resilient leadership

Women executive leaders have managed organizations of all sizes through one of the most sweeping crises in recent history. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, emotional intelligence played a large part in that success. 

Women in the c-suite should leverage empathy and purpose to guide their organizations and teams through the remainder of this crisis. Resilient leadership will help leaders respond appropriately, restructure, and ultimately thrive past COVID. In other words, we should renew our investment and commitment to a positive attitude and a strong sense of future opportunity even during times of turbulence. 

It’s crucial to pay power forward

In a year replete with uncertainty and crisis, women leaders have learned that power is wielded and won today through social impact more than ever before. It’s an excellent opportunity for female c-suite executives to be at the forefront of the fight for social and economic justice by paying their power forward.

In this way, they can accelerate economic opportunity, rebuild stronger teams, address systemic inequality, and advance gender equality mandates.

Setting the gold standard for competent executive leadership

In a world reshaped by COVID, women executive leaders have emerged as the new role models of competent leadership. Not just that, their efforts offer the business world an innovative blueprint for pulling through crises. We’ll continue to see this in 2021 as female c-suite executives showcase that gender equity in senior leadership teams plays a crucial role in rebuilding and recovery.