General Electric’s Women Network

Brief: 

General Electric’s Women Network fosters the professional growth and development of women working at GE by providing coaching on career paths, flexibility and role models. Additionally, the network helps retain talent, particularly in the engineering and technology fields.

The problem addressed by the campaign: 

Women had no direct way to network within the organization and lacked direct programmes to help their professional development

Solution: 
  • GE created the network and facilitated such connections.
  • Typical facets include sharing experiences, best practices, workshops, mentoring, speaking engagements and highlighting successful female role models.
  • The project has been particularly instrumental in the Middle East.
  • In the Middle East, the network operates under several key programmes:
    • Women in Technology and Commercial, which focuses on developing women in engineering and commercial roles
    • Health Ahead, which focuses on providing education to women on healthcare
    • My Connection, which focuses on mentorship and inter-personal networking initiatives
  • Under the My Connection programme, the UAE Women’s network recently organized Paint Fest, a team-building activity to paint murals for the Dubai Centre for Special Needs.
Impact: 
  • Today the rapidly growing Women Network has evolved into a worldwide organization of over 150 Hubs (chapters) in 43 countries, helping thousands of women around the world.
  • At a global level, GE has established a scholarship programme aimed at supporting qualified women in college. The goal is to support young women interested in technical or business careers, while building a future pipeline of candidates for GE’s entry-level leadership programmes. General Electric’s Women Network is proud to have raised US$ 431,600 through 2008, and to have awarded scholarships to 108 women.
Why has it worked?: 

General Electric implemented the network across different functions and countries. It used a comprehensive approach that includes networking events and community outreach.

Conclusions and Recommendations: 

Engaging and developing women leaders ensures GE’s success moving forward.

Foundational Issues: 
Critical skills gaps
Level of Collaboration: 
Level 1: Collaboration within the organization
Region: 
Global (all of the above)
Economic and political context: 

General Electric (2011):

  • Employees: 287,000
  • Sales: US$ 150.2 billion
  • Assets: US$ 751.2 billion
  • Profit: US$ 11.6 billion
About the Author(s): 

General Electric is a multinational American conglomerate that operates in technology, services, and finance.