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Millennial & Gen Z women in facility management and design are embracing business networking models like NextUp’s

NextUp, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing all women in business, saw its membership grow to a record-breaking 17,131 members and 100+ corporate partnerships in 2023. This surge is attributed to the influx of women in business, especially millennials and Gen Z’ers who now make up 38% of NextUp’s members. One of the preeminent member associations in the United States, especially in areas where Fortune 500 companies are located, such as in northwest Arkansas (Walmart’s headquarters) and Cincinnati (Kroger and P&G headquarters), NextUp has many education, training and networking options. Women in facility management, interior design and architecture who are looking for opportunities to connect can investigate a regional community.

NextUp also attributes much of its recent success to its “You Are NextUp” campaign, which showcases more than 100 NextUp members and leaders from companies across the country, such as Coca-Cola, General Mills, Hallmark, Target, and more, who highlight the power of what women can do in business.

“NextUp has seen a huge surge in young members,” notes Lisa Baird, CEO of NextUp. “We know that young women tend to feel some isolation when starting their careers. It’s often hard to find mentors and advisers when working remotely or jumping in and learning in a very fast-paced environment. Joining an organization like NextUp provides numerous networking and mentorship programs, connects our members to peers and mentors and supports them in ways that nurture their careers. This type of networking is especially important as companies navigate remote, hybrid or in-person office hours, where more direct contact with colleagues is limited.  Our ‘You are NextUp’ campaign is one of the ways we are highlighting our members and how they support women in business.”

Lisa Baird, CEO, NextUp

NextUp is unique in that it focuses on a 70/20/10 adult learning model – emphasizing 70% experiential, 20% social, and 10% formal learning. NextUp believes that this approach is  crucial for younger women just starting their careers who can benefit from years of collective experience and wisdom of many senior NextUp members.

“We are at a crucial inflection point for building the pipeline of future women leaders as noted in  the 2023 IBM Business Value Institute Study,” notes Baird. “NextUp’s efforts align with this emerging need for more sophisticated talent development strategies that focus on outcomes over activities and build competencies such as inclusive leadership.”

NextUp also works at bolstering a commitment to women’s empowerment across various sectors. Established in 2001 as a 501c3 nonprofit, NextUp has become a beacon for women and allies, offering leadership opportunities, networking, and award-winning leadership development programs including ‘Rising Stars’ for young executives. NextUp’s approach is further distinguished by strong partnerships with the leading Fortune 500 companies and its 21 regional chapters, creating an unparalleled national network for women and allies united by NextUp’s mission.

In the IBM Business Value Institute Study, trends for women in the global workplace were especially poignant showing that the pipeline for top leadership positions still hasn’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels, with only 14% of senior leadership being women – down from 18% in 2019.

“We recognize that these past several years have been challenging for many women — and studies, like the IBM Business Value Institute Study, show that there are still broader challenges faced by women in the business,” said Lisa Baird. “Moreover, despite an increase in women assuming senior leadership roles, a slight dip in 2023 to 32% indicates the persistence of the ‘drop to the top’ phenomenon. This is why women’s mentorship and organizations like NextUp are so important and show how women and their allies lift other women up.  Our 2023 survey highlighted that half of the respondents reported professional growth — promotion, career advancement, role expansion with an astounding 70% attributing some of their professional growth to NextUp.”

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023  highlighted the need for continued efforts in addressing unemployment disparities and improving working conditions for women. NextUp remains committed to confronting these challenges through its programs and initiatives.

“Our commitment extends to addressing the ‘broken rung’ phenomenon in women’s career progression and supporting women in fully onsite work models, where challenges like burnout are more prevalent,” noted Lisa Baird. “Our increase in numbers, and especially with younger women, show that these efforts are crucial to the development of women in business.”

With NextUp’s rapid growth in members, the organization has become more than a nonprofit organization — it is a movement. Its focus remains steadfast on creating impactful, sustainable change for women in business and developing the next generation of leaders. 

Click NextUp for more information. NextUp Membership is open to individuals or members of a partner organization. When you join NextUp through The McMorrow Reports/FMLink, you are entitled to 20 percent off an individual membership when you enter the code: NextUp24McMorrow at checkout.

For more information, email Beth Fasching, Strategic Partnership Director, bfasching@nextupisnow.org