Candice Lange, director of the Jane Brock-Wilson Women in Management Center in the Krannert School, has come a long way since earning her bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Purdue.
Lange began her career at Eli Lilly and Company as a biochemical toxicologist. After holding a number of management positions in clinical and discovery research, she was asked to create and lead a new corporate strategy for work-life integration. She also led Lilly’s diversity strategy and the extension of the Lilly corporate brand into its human resources practices.
Under Lange’s leadership, Lilly achieved national recognition on a number of annual lists, including the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work in America and the Working Mother 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. During this time, she worked closely with executive leaders in a coaching and advisory role to effect changes in corporate practice, policy and culture.
As her career and family grew, developing people and constructing programs for women became her focus and led her to form Lange Advisors, an Indianapolis-based consulting and executive coaching firm.
Returning to Purdue to lead the Jane Brock-Wilson Women in Management Center has been a great opportunity, Lange says.
“The days are busy, but very rewarding. Because our center is new, we’re starting a number of new programs at the same time,” she says. “This fall we will be launching a new undergraduate course, an alumnae conference and a business camp for young women in high school. We also are very excited about our new course, Navigating Gender in the Workplace, and we will have a lot of interaction with students.”
Lange says there are exciting opportunities on the horizon for women, but also some persistent gender-based challenges. Citing a recent McKinsey report, she notes that only 37 percent of first-level management promotions in major corporations are made to women. These percentages continue to decrease for subsequent promotions to higher levels.
“We have excellent researchers at Krannert and in other institutions who are studying and identifying the obstacles that lead to results such as these,” she says. “By bringing business leaders and researchers together, we can develop new strategies to address these persistent issues. This research-to-practice model is an important part of our work. We can then share best practices with students, alumnae and leaders in the business community.
“If we can predict typical obstacles to advancement and equip women with the skills to navigate these obstacles, we can make a real difference in helping them reach their goals. At the same time, we want men to be partners as well. As leaders, both men and women need to understand gender dynamics in order to effectively lead their teams, develop talent and create an environment where everyone can contribute their best work to the mission of the organization.”