Forté Foundation Leads Forum about Critical Issues and Possible Solutions Surrounding Clashing Generations in the Workplace

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Forte Foundation is sponsoring an event and ongoing media interviews about how to balance the workplace in response to today's unprecedented workplace challenges With three distinct generations currently in the workplace -- Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y -- corporate America is in a state-of-flux as they try to figure out how to balance the contrasting needs of each generation.

Forté Foundation, a consortium of corporations, business schools and nonprofits that is inspiring women to pursue leadership positions in business, is holding its third annual Executive Roundtable tomorrow evening at New York University. Themed around The New Workscape: How to Adapt, Attract and Profit, Forté is leading this forum to examine the dynamics of one of the most diversified, multi-generational workforces in history, including Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Forté will also analyze how the work-life balance revolution initiated primarily by women may be a key for linking the needs of both genders and all three generations in the workplace. The speakers include representatives from The FutureWork Institute, PepsiCo, IDEO and Ernst & Young.

“As Forté coordinated the speakers for this year’s Executive Roundtable, an overarching point became clear: corporate America has not yet figured out how to respond to the clashing needs of Gen Ys through Boomers,” says Elissa Ellis, executive director, Forté Foundation. “What makes it more difficult is that all ends of the employee spectrum are essential – the experienced Boomer, the Gen Xer who is entering senior management, as well as the eager Gen Ys who represent a company’s future,” continues Ellis.

Some of the differences between Boomers’ and Gen Ys’ expectations in the workplace include:

--    Boomers understand and support diversity; Gen Y is down right uncomfortable without it.

--    Boomers demand work-life balance; Gen Y wants work-life integration.

--    Boomers need to be educated about new technologies in the workplace; Gen Ys cannot function without them.

But Ellis believes there is also a thread that weaves the generations together. “The effort of women during the past decade to make the workplace more flexible may lead to solutions that enable corporations to effectively unite the different needs of their workers,” says Ellis. “Gen X women have been asking for work-life balance since they began their careers, the Baby Boomers are just realizing it’s an issue as they prepare to pull back from 80-hour work weeks, and Gen Ys naturally prioritize time with family, friends and community.”

The four guest speakers at Forté’s 2006 Executive Roundtable include:

--    Margaret Regan, president and CEO, The FutureWork Institute is a leading consultant and researcher who helps develop tailored flexibility and diversity workplace programs for corporate clients. Regan will moderate the event and share some of her views and theories about the new workscape.

--    Amy George, vice president of global diversity and inclusion, PepsiCo, sees how her Company, which has historically been at the forefront of understanding employees, is experiencing dynamic change in response to the differing demands of the three generations in today’s workplace.

--    Laura Weiss, principal, Global Service Design & Innovation, IDEO, works at the newest organization represented by the panelists, but her Company still faces generational challenges similar to those of more established corporations.

--    Gregg Slager, senior partner, Mergers & Acquisitions, Ernst & Young, is the third panelist who has been featured in major media outlets for his daring move to re-organize his department to accommodate work-life balance. Having done it, Slager is in a position to describe how more traditional financial services companies can execute successful re-organizational strategies.

“This dynamic panel of speakers represents a comprehensive cross-section of experience at dealing with the varying challenges in today’s changing marketplace,” says Ellis. “Our goal is to build upon this event by continuing to lead this important discussion and influence workplace changes we believe can ultimately advance Forté’s mission: providing greater opportunities for female business leaders of all generations,” continues Ellis.

Forté’s 2006 Executive Roundtable is being held tomorrow, May 2nd, at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York University, 566 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012 from 5:45-8:30 p.m. Forté Executive Roundtable is sponsored by Forté Foundation members. A report about the event summarizing the valuable insights and advice provided by the speakers can be obtained at [http://www.Forté beginning May 16, 2006.

About the Forté Foundation

The Forté Foundation is a consortium of 22 major corporations, 27 top business schools, and influential non-profits including the Committee of 200 and the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) that in only five years has become a powerful change agent directing women towards leadership roles in business and enabling corporations to more effectively reach and retain top female talent. It is the only organization that provides a national infrastructure for women at all stages of the career continuum to access the information, scholarship support and networking connections they need to succeed in business careers.


Lynn Schwartz


Suzanne Mannion



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Suzanne Mannion