Corporate Voices was very pleased to welcome Christina Tchen, executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, as the keynote luncheon speaker at the Ninth Annual Partners Meeting on May 5, 2010. Ms. Tchen discussed the work of the Council on Women and Girls, and emphasized that especially now, issues affecting women and girls are the responsibility of every level of government, not just one office.

She praised Corporate Voices’ work on workplace flexibility, mentioning the White House Flexibility Forum that shone the spotlight on flexibility issues on March 31, 2010, and discussed how meetings on flexibility will be held around the country in the coming year.

“Corporate Voices brings corporate America together to share a voice for women, girls, and families,” she said.

In the wake of the recent recession and the beginnings of an economic recovery, Corporate Voices’ annual meeting created an opportunity for experts, high-level speakers in the Administration and Congress, and the business community to discuss how to grow the economy and workforce in a sustainable way. Speakers also talked about what policies are necessary to meet the needs of increasingly important sectors of the workforce.

As women and mothers make up an increasing share of the labor market, updating old policies to help them in the workplace was a key theme of the annual meeting. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who also joined the group and gave the opening keynote speech on the second day, said,

“At a time when 70 percent of all women make spending decisions and 2 out of 3 people that start new businesses are women, we need to update so many of our laws that are outdated, to recognize and meet the needs of today’s women and families.”

Recognizing this need, Corporate Voices will, in the coming months, start a challenge to the business community to expand workplace flexibility, so that families can better balance the demands of work and life. The White House announced this challenge at the Forum on Workplace Flexibility in late March, and Corporate Voices will work to drive this initiative with events around the country and outreach to the business community this year.