Reflections on Women’s History Month 03.31.2022 | Ellie Sullivan

In light of women’s history month – 31 days dedicated to honoring the bravery, tenacity, and ingenuity of women who have pushed boundaries to get us where we are now – it’s worth checking in to where we stand today.

Some great news: while there is still far to go, women have made tremendous gains in blasting through the ubiquitous glass ceiling, and at the CEO level, there is certainly more female representation than there was a decade ago.

In Heidrick & Struggles’ recent Route to the Top study– an analysis of the profiles of 1,095 CEOs across 24 markets – the results revealed that in the first half of 2021, the share of women CEOs appointed doubled in comparison to the 6 months prior (though absolute numbers are still very low). Now, more than ever, new CEOs are more likely than their predecessors to be women. They are also more likely to be from countries other than where the company is headquartered, and to have cross-border experience.

So, what does this mean?

The inclusion of women in mobility matters, particularly when it comes to helping propel them to leadership positions where their voices and ideas can be amplified!

Studies – such as Mercer’s When Women Thrive report – have consistently revealed that compared to men, more women process the unique skills needed for expatriation, such as flexibility, keen adaptability, inclusive team management, emotional intelligence, and the capacity to build cultural bridges. This translates to higher success rates for women expatriates, and the ability for companies to not only attract but retain talent, as the female demand for mobility opportunities is skyrocketing.

At Weichert Workforce Mobility, we’re passionate advocates for raising the bar when it comes to better Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within mobility. Change starts from within, which is why we intentionally work towards eliminating biases and fostering an enabling environment where everyone has access to the tools, training, opportunities, and flexibility they need to be successful. We’re proud and inspired by the strong team of women across our organization who are helping to drive our success and disrupt industry norms, making differences in their own way, every day.

Throughout March, we celebrated Women’s History Month by inviting female leaders across our company to share quotes and insight and help us further cultivate an organization that fosters belonging, challenges biases, and takes action to make inclusion and equity a reality. In this post, we are proud to present a sampling of those stories:


Vicki Lander, Executive Vice President

Is there a woman who has inspired you, professionally or personally and why?

I count myself very fortunate to have been touched by so many courageous, talented and inspirational women. One in particular, however, comes to the forefront as I consider the 2022 theme of “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” That woman is my Maternal Grandmother, Dr. Geraldine Light.

My Grandmother was born in 1907. After graduating from Cornell University, she elected to pursue a career in medicine. In specific, she chose to focus on the practice of Anesthesiology. Keep in mind that she made this decision in the mid 1920s, when women were only recently given voting, inheritance and employment equality with men. As such a woman going into the field of Anesthesiology was extremely rare. In 1936 she accomplished her goal and became the first female staff Anesthesiologists at Billings Hospital in Chicago, which is known today as the University of Chicago Hospital in Hyde Park.

As a surgical anesthetist, she worked extremely long hours, and would later convey stories about surgical procedures that would cause her to work late into the night. She passed along tales of both tragedies and successful outcomes, and of the struggles that she faced as a female in this profession. Several of her teachings left a lasting impression on my core beliefs today.

While my grandmother struggled to be accepted as a woman in a male dominated profession, that perception was only magnified by the fact that she lived with a material handicap; as a young woman, she suffered a serious infection that led to the amputation of a leg. But other than slowing her gait, her handicap never interfered with her work. Throughout her career, she participated in countless complex operations, had the opportunity to train several student anesthesiologists, she led numerous research projects, and authored many reference papers about her work which are still circulation today.

Her tenacity serves as a reminder to me today of the value of believing in yourself, and of avoiding the pitfalls of negative influences. We are as good as we believe we are, and there is no limit to what we can accomplish if we stay focused on our goals.


Ann Stafford, Regional Vice President Canada

Is there a woman who has inspired you, professionally or personally and why?

My mother stands out as someone who taught me about customer service and the importance of little things, like saying or spelling someone’s name properly because a name may be a small thing, but it matters to that person. She also taught me the power of persistence and having a positive attitude. It helped me navigate my career where every role I was given, other than this current one, was created for me.

Life can be weary, and there are no doubt pitfalls that come unexpectedly, and even when you expect them, they can still feel like a punch in the gut. But my mother and the people who inspire me taught me to take the moment to visit those feelings of sadness, anger, fear, defeat, self-pit… cry and shout if I need to… but don’t stay there. Be like water and find another path. It may take time, but persistence and positivity can sometimes carve away the hardest rocks and next thing you know, you’ve opened a new pathway to something that didn’t seem passable before.

And that’s just what mobility people do, right? We deal with a lot of tough situations each day, but we rise to the challenge and figure it out. My mom would have been proud of our positive persistence!


Marvina Ravindran, Workforce Mobility Specialist, Singapore

What are ways that we can support our female colleagues, and other women in our lives?

Women should empower each other to improve and grow to reach greater heights. Amplify women’s voices, ideas or suggestions by allowing them to be heard in meetings or in society. Create mentorship programs led by senior-level professionals to help women advance their careers or to inspire them when faced with challenges like being undervalued or overlooked.

And let’s give opportunities to women who may not have the experience, but have a lot of potential; this allows them to prove themselves and will encourage diversity in promotions.


Jennifer Connell, Vice President Consulting & Advisory

What is it like to be a woman in the workforce mobility industry?

As a woman in mobility, I consider myself quite fortunate. Our industry is incredibly dynamic and through it, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside a wide range of clients and stakeholders, and an even wider array of projects. The variety keeps every day interesting.

Mobility is impacted by so many other hot trends like remote work, the talent shortage, and the laser focus upon sustainability and D&I. It is consistently evolving, which truly challenges me to never stop learning.

It has been a great journey starting as a Relocation Counselor and advancing to VP of Advisory Services. As a mother of three sons, I love that am modeling to my children the remarkable power and capability women hold when we have the opportunity to do what we love.

My hope is that my sons grow to be allies in the ongoing battle for leveling the playing field, smashing glass ceilings, and ensuring that women have access to these opportunities.


Christina Kasiraja-Lebrun, Vice President Business Development

Is there a woman who has inspired you, professionally or personally?

My former boss, MaryAnne, who is just an overall amazing human being.  I was blessed enough to report to MaryAnne when I started my first leadership role.  From day one, she empowered me to strike the balance between being independent in thought, approach and method, and how to respectfully collaborate with the team when needed.  She inspired and groomed me in a way that enabled me to come into my own as a leader and curate leadership methodologies based on her teaching.  These are a few of the salient approaches I’ve developed as a result, which continue to be focal points in my personal and professional life:

  • Leveraging individuals’ talents and skills to achieve high standards while supporting their development.
  • Creating a supportive environment for teams to safely express ideas that contribute to business improvement.
  • Applying methodical and logical approaches to efficiently solve complex issues.
  • Maintaining work-life balance; as proper rest yields long-term productivity, staff retention and cost-savings.
  • Knowing that physical activity and balanced nutrition is crucial to one’s wellbeing.

What are ways that we can support our female colleagues, and other women in our lives?

I feel we should support and empower not just women, but all high-performing talent in general by simply leading by example.  In other words: treat, value and empower others the way you wish to be as well.

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Written by Ellie Sullivan


Ellie Sullivan, SCRP, SGMS-T, has over 30 years of experience overseeing critical mobility advisory initiatives, including policy benchmarking, proprietary research and tracking global trends and best practices. She is also the creator of our proprietary Optimization Lab format, which brings together Weichert SMEs and client stakeholders for day-long workshops to analyze current program challenges, identify solutions and create a road map to the ideal future state.

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