Jean Park first encountered Forté as a Wall Street intern. Years later, as a portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments, she supports Forté because it gives women the confidence to prove themselves in the workplace. Jean believes that women armed with confidence and business acumen are better equipped to overcome the unconscious bias that keeps them from their first stretch assignment or the promotion that can make or break their rise to the top. She's doing her part to give ambitious women that first step up. Why support Forté? “Empirical research shows that companies led by teams with diverse backgrounds and experiences perform better than companies that don't share the same diversity,” Jean said. Women have represented a majority of college-educated adults for the last four decades, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. For Jean, the crux of reaching parity lies in women’s transition from college to the workplace. “Women are in a better position than ever to impact the future,” Jean said. “And I firmly believe that we can change the dynamics of many businesses for the better if we can encourage more women to pursue careers in business. Getting that education helps increase the confidence of the women who enter the pipeline to become our future business leaders.” Forté aligns with what I believe in. Feeding the leadership pipeline. While there are more college-educated women than men in the workforce, women still lag behind men in pay and leadership. So what happens to the pipeline of women leaders after they enter the workforce? “There’s a lot more evidence that shows that long before women encounter any glass ceiling, many women hit obstacles just trying to get their first promotion or their first stretch assignment,” Jean said. “This is not due to women having less ambition. It’s due to unconscious bias in the workforce. The key is for more senior leaders to recognize those dynamics and take action to level the playing field at the very first rung of the ladder.” Getting the chance to manage a diversified investment portfolio as her first stretch assignment was pivotal for Jean’s career. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but that particular assignment was viewed as something very difficult,” Jean said. “My success in that role surprised a lot of people and helped accelerate the subsequent chances that I’ve been given.” Enabling other women to reach for breakout opportunities is the very reason she values Forté. “Forté can help women develop the confidence they need to present themselves in a way that increases their chances, not only to get that first job and join the pipeline, but also to have a chance to get their first stretch assignment or first promotion that allows them to show what they really can do when given more responsibility,” Jean said.