Men Who Get It: Our Fearless (Male) Leader

September 6, 2012

"So, if you’re the Center for Women in Business, why is your president a man?"

It’s a common question.

David Chavern is the founder and president of the Center for Women in Business. He is also the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. He is a well-connected, influential, and inspirational leader who cares deeply about issues facing women in the business world.

"I started the Center for Women in Business because I believe that women business leaders, entrepreneurs and executives are key to the success of the American and global economy. Women-owned firms have an economic impact of $3 trillion annually, which translates into 23 million jobs – 16% of all U.S. jobs. In light of these impressive numbers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the business community must acknowledge and embrace women as job-creators and growth-promoters."

When David Chavern decided to found the Center for Women in Business, it quickly became clear that the success of CWB would be linked to how many people truly believed in our message that supporting women in business is not only the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do. It’s easy to tell women that they should strive to hold leadership positions at companies or start their own businesses—it’s preaching to the choir. But the fact remains that only 4% of CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies are held by women. In many ways, men are still the ones making the decisions in the business world. That’s why it’s imperative that men, not just women, understand the amazing potential for growth that women possess.

What is made clear to us by the number of women in executive and board-level positions is that women have somehow not gotten the experiences, guidance, or techniques they would have needed in order to take on these leadership roles. That is what CWB seeks to change and where we need the support of both men and women. Our aim is to help women obtain the skills and connections they need to accomplish their career goals and aspirations—whether it’s running a global enterprise or starting the small business of their dreams.

The CWB wants all people to be able to use the free enterprise system for their own benefit and for the greater benefit of society. We want anyone, with hard work and dedication, to be able to create wealth and jobs for themselves and their communities. We want individuals to achieve their personal and professional dreams. And, most importantly, we want people to be able to accomplish all of these things regardless of their gender.