The J&J Story

More than 1000 high-potential women at J&J have been through Smith Leadership Programs


  “We partner with Smith College because we've seen a retention rate of   95-96% as a result of the program.”

  Anthony Carter
  VP - Global Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Global Diversity Officer at   Johnson & Johnson


Better Financial Performance | Companies with higher numbers of women at senior levels are also companies with better organizational and financial performance.
– McKinsey & Company, Women Matter report


Outperform the S&P | Stocks of Fortune 500 companies with women CEOs rose an average of 50 percent in 2009, compared to the benchmark for U.S. stocks, the S&P 500, which rose an average of 25 percent.


One day in 2002, Johnson & Johnson’s learning officers came to an uncomfortable realization.

The group of 20 women they were sending through Smith’s Leadership Consortium and the Smith-Tuck Global Leaders Program each year was indeed producing powerful results. But moving forward 20 women at a time was just not fast enough.

The pace wasn't filling the company's pressing need for strong female executives who were ready to take J&J to the next level. And it wasn’t getting them quick enough to their ultimate goal: to be the #1 company in the world for women executives.

So J&J made a big statement: they asked Smith to double the rate at which its high-potential women were being prepared for leadership. Smith answered by creating a customized leadership program, exclusively for J&J women only, that could transform 50 high-potentials at a time using Smith’s proprietary approach to how women learn and lead.

The result:
J&J's women’s leadership pipeline could now be filled twice as fast.

Today, more than 1000 high-potential female managers and executives have been through the Smith-J&J Custom Leadership Program or one of Smith’s global leadership programs. More importantly, the Smith-J&J Custom Leadership Program is now a mainstay of J&J’s industry-leading Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI), begun in 1995 by JoAnn Heisen, former Chief Global Diversity Officer and Executive Committee Member at Johnson & Johnson.

Under Heisen’s watchful mentorship and in partnership with Smith College Executive Education, the Women's Leadership Initiative has grown the female executive ranks at J&J from 300 in 1995 to more than 2,000 today.

"There is no doubt that Johnson & Johnson has benefited enormously from Smith’s programs,” she says. “Our women rave about the experience. To attend one of Smith’s sessions is worth its weight in gold on their resume."

J&J executives aren’t the only ones raving about the experience either. J&J is today considered one of the benchmark companies for developing, promoting, and retaining great women executives.

Learn about Smith’s Custom design process >

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Case Study: Womens Leadership Initiative, Johnson and Johnson