How We’re Empowering Women’s Leadership at McGraw Hill

Published March 22, 2021

In 2020, we launched the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) to formally provide women at McGraw Hill with opportunities to grow their networks, enhance their visibility to key leaders, and showcase their leadership skills and capabilities.

The mission of the program is to empower McGraw Hill women to leverage pathways toward more successful and fulfilling careers and to champion an organizational culture where women can achieve their professional and personal best.

We talked to a couple of the WLI’s Sponsorees, and their Sponsors, to learn more about their experience in the program.

Sponsoree: Denise Foote, Sr Content & Product Development Manager

Sponsor: Anthony Lorin, President, International

  1. What were your main goals when you began the Women’s Leadership Initiative?

    Denise: My main goals were to learn from senior leaders, meet more women like me from across the company, and work on a meaningful new project – all of which happened!

    Anthony: This program reflects the strong commitment from our organization to promote gender equality, build a more diverse management team, and retain some of our best talent! It’s our responsibility as an organization to build a more diverse management and leadership team that better reflects the diversity we have in our organization. I decided to be a sponsor for WLI because this initiative helps women build the connections they need to move up in the organization.

  2. What is your biggest lesson learned from participating in the Women’s Leadership Initiative?

    Denise: People working together across business units can do great things. The WLI itself is proof of this. Women across the company developed the program, recruited a stellar first group of Sponsors and Sponsorees, and inspired McGraw Hill projects that will make a difference. Additionally, input from my fellow Sponsorees helped shape my project and motivated me to do more. It has been a wonderful experience!

    Anthony: I have truly enjoyed our regular catch-up every other week. It is a great opportunity for us to exchange our views on the business, but also to share personal challenges during the pandemic. Denise has always done a great job articulating the main challenges and expected outcomes from the various projects she has been working on. This was an incredibly useful insight for me and really helped me better understand issues or potential training gaps in other regions.

Sponsoree: Wendy Rinaldi, Editorial Director

Sponsor: Scott Grillo, President, Global Professional

  1. What project/s have you worked on as part of the Women’s Leadership Initiative?

    Wendy: I am working on a digital subscription platform focused on exam preparation for IT certification that can be sold globally. This project continues to evolve in several directions based on regional feedback, competitive research, and marketplace changes.

  2. What is your biggest lesson learned from participating in the Women’s Leadership Initiative?

    Wendy: Being able to work directly with the President of Global Professional, Scott Grillo, is incredible. To be able to tap into his expertise and experience one-on-one has been hugely beneficial. He has introduced me to sales leaders around the world for direct feedback on the project, as well as other leaders within the organization.

    Scott: I’ve seen that there is a real desire, and many obstacles, to gain exposure to peers and leaders in other areas of the organization. I’m glad we’re focused on opening more doors to opportunities like this.

  3. Why did you decide to be a Sponsor for the Women’s Leadership Initiative?

    Scott: I wanted to play an active role in ensuring this important initiative was successful in its first iteration and able to develop deep roots within the organization. I’ve been with McGraw Hill for over twenty years and have noticed that while we do a good job of hiring and promoting women—particularly women early in their career—there seems to be a barrier in women achieving the most senior leadership roles in the organization. My hope is that this program will help uncover where those roadblocks lie, and, more importantly, develop strategies to overcome them in the future.