A Letter from Heather Helle

An interesting revelation from McKinsey & Co. and LeanIn.Org’s recent report, Women in the Workplace 2023, finds that it is the first rung of the ladder, not the glass ceiling, that is the primary impediment to women’s equity in management. And while health care boasts more women than other industries, our representation declines at every step of the career ladder, from 76 percent at entry level to only 32 percent in the C-suite.

Why does this matter? Because promoting greater equity may lead to better health care for us all. As women tend to bring leadership styles characterized by empathy and interpersonal savvy, they often excel in promoting inclusivity and inviting diverse perspectives to the table. This in turn can lead to new ideas and fresh approaches to delivering more effective, efficient, and compassionate health care solutions.

But health care organizations need to be much more intentional. For starters, structural systems to support more equitable talent management and pay equity, formal mentoring programs, and family-friendly policies can embolden and enable more women to rise to the executive ranks. While I have taken breaks in my career to focus on family, there are usually no defined paths to off ramp and return. Smart organizations are learning that formalizing such paths can provide competitive advantage in attracting, retaining, and benefiting from top female talent.

For aspiring women leaders, my advice is:

  • Create community, invest in your professional networks.
  • Embrace diverse roles, seek P&L experience, learn continuously.
  • Take risks; they often lead to rewards.
  • Find your passion.

I am passionate about creating structural systems that enable women to lean into their authentic selves and bring their best. As leaders, it is our job to create opportunities, have a vision for what colleagues can do, and believe in people even when they may not believe in themselves.


Heather Helle
President & COO
BAYADA Home Health Care


About the Author

Heather Helle, President & COO at BAYADA Home Health Care is a transformational business leader who is passionate about making a difference in the health care ecosystem. She sees every day as an opportunity to surprise and delight BAYADA clients with a care experience unlike any other.

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