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Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano believes ambition is good, and that girls don’t have enough of it. It’s true. Recruiters and academics often tell me that the dearth of women in top corporate jobs stems as much from women not stepping up to the plate, as top brass refusing to elevate them.
Napolitano came in a few days ago to promote her innovation initiative as chair of the National Governors Association. She has an impressive record in turning around what was the worst financial crisis in Arizona history (without raising taxes), and she has strong views on the state’s role in innovation. (Check out this Video View).
Napolitano mused on why there continue to be so few women in both politics and business. One challenge is nurturing the confidence and ambition to get there. But, in business, the problems start earlier when women are less likely to get the experience and exposure that could prepare them for a CEO slot.
Napolitano, now in her second term, also spoke about these topics before a group of executive women at The White House Project. The group is committed to getting more women into politics, and some of the attendees speculated that Napolitano’s next push may take her to Washington for a presidential bid in 2012.
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