Elevate Women

Photo by Member Mark Krancer, Kram Kran Photo

Elevate women logo

An Economic Development Initiative of the JAX Chamber

Elevate Women is a direct result of community leaders taking action to address identified gender gaps in leadership across Northeast Florida, leveraging a groundbreaking study titled The Status of Women in Northeast Florida: Strengthening the Pipeline for Women’s Advancement to Leadership by The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (2019). This study brought to light that women are preparing for advancement to leadership positions but are not transitioning into them at the same rates as men.

The study also noted that:

  • Women in Northeast Florida earn $0.77 for every dollar a man earns, which is lower than Florida and the U.S. averages
  • Florida ranks 45th in the U.S. for women in managerial and professional roles
  • Women lag in STEM – fewer than 1 in 20 work in this sector
  • Women make up only 22.4 percent of board members of the 22 major corporations headquartered in Northeast Florida
  • Many women-owned businesses underperform due in part to a lack of access to capital

Research also shows that increasing gender diversity in corporate leadership is not only good for women but is also strongly correlated with higher returns and profitability.


For the Jacksonville region to be known nationally as a place where women can succeed both personally and professionally.


  • Bring awareness to action that diversity at the decision maker level is a business & economic imperative
  • Ensure all women are represented
  • Create viable and sustainable pathways to leadership for women
  • Strengthen leadership pipeline & grow next generation bench
Infographic of female representation in northeast Florida

“The only way to have the best possible talent pool for companies who are invested and growing in our community is to ensure everyone has access to the opportunities. As a business community, we can and will do better.”


Past Chairwoman, JAX Chamber, Former Market President, Truist Bank

Proven Benefits of Diverse Leadership

What the Data Says:

  • Women tend to be better at organic growth and innovative initiatives providing more sustainable results. They tend to limit riskier merger & acquisitions which has shown to be a positive trend for shareholders & stakeholders
  • Female executives challenge the status quo and are less likely to focus on tradition, fundamentally increasing others’ receptiveness to change. As more women are appointed, organizations are more open-minded, making them adaptable and nimble
  • The top 25 percent of companies within their national industry groups had 33 percent higher profitability than bottom-quartile companies, and 21 percent higher if gender diverse

Mckinsey & Company, Delivering through Diversity Report, 2020

Why Board Diversity Matters

Internal Growth & Innovation
vs M&A Risk

Adaptable & Nimble
vs Change Avoidance

Profitability & ROI
33%+ Racial Diverse, 21%+ Gender Diverse

Main Street Bridge Jacksonville
Jeff Crass Photography, Eye Candy Publishing LLC

Northeast Florida’s Call To Action

In order to remain competitive and lead in economic development and job growth, Northeast Florida businesses must be more reflective of the community they serve and the talent they employ. Diversity on corporate boards and executive-level roles remains below other state averages and well below the 50 percent target level.

Female Board Representation in Corporate Sector

Graphic showing Female Board Representation in Corporate Sector

A Way Forward

Elevate Women is committed to making Northeast Florida a leader in the professional progression of women to both the C-suite and the board room. Our partners work with us to:

  • Bring Women Forward – identify and recommend women who have the capacity and capability for corporate board service & executive level roles
  • Access a Diverse Executive Talent Pool – tap into our high caliber executive talent network for executive opportunities
  • Drive Executive Development Partnerships – elevate women into executive leadership within our own business community through collaborative partnerships
Women of JAX Chamber

Elevate Women strategically partners with forward thinking organizations who want to balance opportunities in executive or senior leadership and create internal succession structures for female talent.

Elevate Women Strategic Pillars


  • Identify & understand the barriers for women achieving executive level and corporate board roles
  • Educate the community and bring awareness of the benefits of women in leadership
  • Create a pipeline of qualified women leaders and support system for future leadership roles
  • Recruit & mentor high potential women leaders
  • Provide sustainable programs and community resources to support and elevate women
  • Secure funding, sponsorship and/or investor programs for women business owners
  • Encourage & promote women to lead in all aspects of our community

Current Priorities

  • Creating awareness that leadership diversity is a business and economic imperative
  • Establishing executive mentor/sponsor programs for candidates and/or creating partnerships to proven leadership programs
  • Building an executive women’s network, bringing female C-suite leaders together to broaden relationships and stay abreast of opportunities
  • Collaborating with key community stakeholders to facilitate broader diversity and promote female talent
  • Connecting with executive search firms and executive recruiters to be informed of executive leadership positions and provide high-caliber women for these roles

For more information

Learn more about Elevate Women and how to get involved in achieving diversity goals in your business.


Delores Weaver

Dottie Dorion

Barbara Harrell

Michael Ward & Jennifer Glock

Nancy & Gary Chartrand

Cindy & Dan Edelman

Julia & John Taylor

Ellen Wiss

Paula Liang

Nina & Lex Waters

Debbie Buckland