There is no secret that there has always been, and continues to be a gender bias in the workforce environment. Although, this particular problem is a work in progress, there a handful of companies that have chosen to confront this issue head on. One company that deserves a closer look when it comes to this particular topic is IC Systems. Due to its very unique beginnings, it seems as if IC Systems has skipped the learning curve and gotten straight to the Empowerment of women.
Founded in 1938, by Ruth and Jack Erickson, IC Systems (an accounts receivable company) has been a leading example of what a company that empowers women looks like; during its 80 year history. After her husband’s passing, Ruth was left to take on the role of being head of the company. Ruth, being left to do much of the initial heavy lifting seemed to be fit for the challenge. She was even described as “the epitome of toughness in the face of adversity”, by those that knew her. Some of her early roles included being, a door to door marketer and saleswoman for her company’s services, as well as working on financial resolutions for her companies clients. Ruth also noticed early on the incredible impact computers could have on her company and invested in a state of the art system that would increase the company’s work productivity and the number of customers that could be contacted at any given time. This gave IC Systems a profitable head start against their competition; did someone say innovator? With a resume like this it is clear to see how her reputation of being a tenacious entrepreneur definitely proceeds her.
With a founder such as Ruth Erickson, the bar for women’s excellence within the workplace was set high before the idea of women’s empowerment became such a popular topic of discussion. Following Ruth’s lead, the company has continued to publicly and pro-actively promote women’s empowerment and equality throughout its company’s 80 year life span. Today, IC systems is on its third generation of family leadership, most of whom are women that have taken to the same business operations as Ruth herself. Some examples include: Barbara Erickson(chairman of the board), Michelle Dove (general counsel and chief compliance officer); and many of the stakeholders are women as well. IC systems has also been recognized by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council; the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the US. There is no doubt IC Systems is a leading example of what a female empowered future may look like, and with the proof in the pudding I think it’s safe to say there’s a bright future ahead of us.