Member Spotlights: Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Christen Duhe, President & Executive Director

Before Christmas, one of our local media partners stopped by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to give poinsettias to our staff members. She brought her eight-year-old daughter along to help, and as they gave me the poinsettia, she told her daughter, “Look! It’s a woman CEO!” She looked at me and explained that they’d been delivering flowers all day, and at one point her daughter asked her mom why all of the CEOs were men. I’ll never forget that moment. When asked to share a story about my role as a woman leading an organization, this memory immediately came to mind. The mom also shared that her daughter wanted to be a CEO one day and how important it was for her to meet one that looked like her.

Beyoncé once said that girls run the world, but unfortunately the data tells a different story. In a 2023 article from Fortune, it was reported that for the first time in history, more than 10% of Fortune 500 companies are being led by women. Don’t get me wrong, this is great news and a step in the right direction, but it also means that 90% of these organizations are run by men. I’m no statistician, but that’s quite a disparity.

We are incredibly lucky to be walking in the footsteps of so many remarkable women who have blazed a trail for us to be in the positions we are today. To all the women leaders reading this, never doubt for a second the impact you’re having on young girls and the next generation of women entering the workforce. You’re inspiring people and you don’t even know it. Keep showing up and keep the blaze going. One day it won’t be as exciting to meet a woman CEO because there’s going to be so many of us. Let’s keep celebrating us anyway.

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