How Cboe Invests in Women

March 27, 2024

By Stephanie Foley

Women are born leaders. Study after study finds having more women in senior positions makes companies more profitable, productive and collaborative. It’s not enough to have more women at the table. Women must be invited into the conversation and their input evenly considered. And so, investing in women and valuing their contributions isn't just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. Investing in women drives innovation, enhances decision-making and fuels our collective success.

But today, women lead only a small fraction of Fortune 500 companies and are underrepresented in the C-suite and top management teams. McKinsey & Company’s 2023 Women in the Workplace study challenges common myths about why women are not reaching their optimal potential. Newsflash, it’s not a lack of ambition. Rather, women are held back from growth opportunities by performance bias and outdated stereotypes that unfairly place the burden on them.

Cboe has made remarkable strides in our efforts to foster an inclusive and supportive workplace for women at every level. As Chief Human Resources Officer, I am proud to champion the work Cboe is doing and shed light on the ways we invest in women, ensuring their growth, empowerment and representation across our organization.

Cultivating Women Leaders through Mentorship and Board Representation

Cultivating women leaders requires showing talented women there is a path to grow and advance to the top. To make this a reality, we developed a formal mentorship program open to all women at Cboe, amongst others. We match mentees with senior leaders, allowing all participants to develop meaningful connections, dedicate time for self-reflection and gain valuable career guidance as they navigate their professional journeys. 

Our commitment to advancing women also extends to our boardroom. In February, we announced the election of two new members to our Board of Directors—Erin Mansfield and Cecilia Mao—strengthening the board’s expertise with their uniquely qualified backgrounds in financial regulation and technology.

We are proud to have five strong, female leaders comprise nearly half of our board, helping Cboe build trusted markets around the globe. Their perspectives and expertise enrich our decision-making processes and bring us closer to advancing women at the highest level of leadership.

Providing Fair Compensation and Pay Transparency

We believe in fair and equitable compensation for all employees, regardless of gender or any other representation. We have implemented robust pay transparency measures to ensure that our associates understand how their compensation is determined, promoting accountability and fairness across the board. In addition, by conducting regular pay equity analyses, we reaffirm our commitment to closing the gender pay gap and fostering a culture of equality and transparency.

Offering Flexible Work Arrangements

We are committed to being “flexible first.” Flexible work arrangements empower women—and all our associates—to decide where and how they work. We recognize that our associates live full, meaningful lives outside of work as caretakers, creators, volunteers, artists and life-long learners. Our role as an employer is to take away barriers and help our associates do more, not less.

Being flexible first means more than just working from home. Flexibility at Cboe means we trust and support our associates to find a healthy work-life balance and thrive in both their careers and personal lives. The majority of our associates work hybrid schedules, enabling them to get the most out of in-office environments without sacrificing the benefits of remote work.

We know that flexibility benefits everyone, not just women. McKinsey’s study reveals that both men and women see flexible work as a “top three” employee benefit. However, women are more likely to turn down new opportunities because of responsibilities outside of work. Providing flexibility enables the women at Cboe to take new opportunities without putting their other commitments at risk. Likewise, the men at Cboe can more easily contribute to their own households and family responsibilities, not only enhancing equality at work, but often at home too.

Supporting Parents with Comprehensive Parental Leave Policies

Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting and life-changing moments in many people’s lives, and it is important to us to support our associates in this stage. We offer comprehensive parental leave policies for all parents to bond with their newborns or newly adopted children. By offering inclusive parental leave benefits and empowering our associates to use them, we strive to eliminate barriers that disproportionately impact women's career progression. When all parents are nurtured and valued, they can continue to thrive in their career journey.

Elevating Women’s Voices

Listening to women sounds simple, but it’s crucial to make change. However, often to be heard, women need a dedicated space and platform to come together, like the Cboe Women’s Initiative (CWI). The associate resource group is committed to advancing women at Cboe through educational training with top industry leaders, networking opportunities to foster meaningful connections and advocacy to represent women’s needs and concerns within the organization. In fact, the CWI originally spearheaded Cboe’s mentorship program with so much success that we expanded it across the company. The group continues to facilitate important discussions on topics that affect women like burnout, how to give and receive feedback, cultivating an influential presence and more.

The systemic barriers holding women back are real, and companies need to do their part to empower women so we can all reap the rewards. Investing in women isn't just a talking point at Cboe – it’s integrated into our strategy, operations and culture. With our continued support, women will help us all reach new heights.