"We're in a relationship business," says Dennis Fleischmann, managing partner of law firm Bryan Cave's New York office as he discusses the firm's women-only networking events in Carol Hymowitz's "In the Lead" column in today's Wall Street Journal (subscription required). Hymowitz reports on how numerous other professional service firms and other corporate leaders are employing women-only business-development events, and recounts perceptions about their pros and cons.
While I prefer mixed-gender business events, I can't help applauding the companies cited in the column (Ernst & Young, Merrill Lynch, Sara Lee, General Electric) for "getting it" that women are a critical part of the future of business.
Contrast this, however, with the gender tone-deafness that continues to be apparent in the management consulting industry. In its upcoming Consulting Summit_2007 this May, conference presenters Kennedy Information, BNA and Consulting Magazine feature NOT ONE WOMAN on the speaking roster.
I simply can't believe that there aren't any women whose leadership in management consulting firms isn't making at least some positive differences. And I simply can't believe that these conference organizers haven't figured out that women (and men) want to hear from other women (as well as men)!
Come on, management consultants, ENOUGH with the white men's club!