The Women’s Initiatives Network occupies unusual territory at Caterpillar Inc.
It started as an employee resource group, but programs it helped create crossed over into a full-fledged business initiative — one that simultaneously promotes its core female constituency and proves its worth in bottom-line results.
In the process, the formerly women-only group engaged more men in the company and reversed traditional mentoring roles to place junior female employees in a position to counsel senior male colleagues.
“It really disrupts in a lot of ways what we had been doing in leadership and development,” said Amy Volz, the global chairperson of the Women’s Initiatives Network. “We’ve seen some authentic growth out of that.”
The Women’s Initiatives Network (WIN) works in tandem with the company’s Women in Leadership (WIL) program with the complementary goal of greater diversity — with gender as the foundation — throughout the ranks of the company.
A previous push by Caterpillar to promote more women into corporate leadership positions led to a 20% female workforce, with 18% of leadership roles in the company occupied by women.