Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dr. W. Jeff Wallis

Second Supervisor

Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez


Women hold an impressive 57% of the 1.08 million jobs in business, marketing, and management with only 26% of executive positions in financial service organizations held by women and 4% of those filled by Black, Hispanic, or Latina women (Catalyst, 2020). Women represented in executive leadership roles in corporate banks has been slow to progress. This study explores key supports factors and obstacles experienced in pursuit of executive leadership roles in corporate banks from the perspective of women who attained such roles. A qualitative research methodology explored the perceptions and lived experiences of 12 women executives in corporate banks. Phone interviews lasting 75-90 minutes were conducted. There were 17 semi-structured interview questions developed and aligned to six research questions. Nine significant findings were additive to the body of knowledge. Emergent was the identification of informal mentoring as the primary support needed by women in banking. Context-based social bias stratification features layering effects, and interplay across forms of bias unique to a given context, in this case relational, predecessor, familiarity, and nepotism. Lifting the rug of unconscious bias reveals complex layers of context-specific biases in addition to common forms of bias uniquely experienced by women. Internal talent management emerged as an area of deficiency. Identified were key personal characteristics and strategies to overcome internal obstacles and create forward momentum. Cultures of accountability require internal examination of key performance indicators around management advocacy, performance and talent management, internal programs, and recruitment. The sudden impact and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic was explored.

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