The Journey Toward Empowerment

March 9, 2016


A year ago, we made a promise to the women of Konica Minolta to help them advance in their careers.

A year ago, Step Forward was created to do just that.

I am so proud of this initiative, both personally and as the executive sponsor, to be able to offer a forum to empower women at all career levels. Step Forward has opened doors, started conversations, shined a light on where we are and where we need to go.

Over the past year, Step Forward has featured authors Gloria Feldt discussing the power of intention and Leslie Grossman explaining how to “Link Out” to capitalize on your connections. We’ve learned life lessons for success from inspirational speakers including marketer Pat Roque and Ramsey, NJ, Mayor Deirdre Dillon. Entrepreneur Jennifer Iannolo, who is now in Nepal with the State Department to promote empowerment and democracy, helped us discover and leverage our own unique talents.

Our conversations were also internal. I was a member of a panel of women executives here at Konica Minolta who shared our experiences, our work/life balances and what inspires us to lead.

It’s not just women who have embraced Step Forward. Male executives have also spoken. Mark Bradford, President, Direct Sales, told us how to humanize work. Gavin Jordan-Smith, Vice President, Solutions and Production Planning, BIS, shared what impact his mentors have had on his career. And, each month, as I look out over the audience, I see a room full of eager female AND male faces wanting to be part of the conversation.

These conversations are continuing across the company. Many branches have requested information so that they, too, can start a Step Forward chapter. And, our colleagues across the pond have started a women’s group in the U.K. This is so exciting!

What is also exciting is the future. As Step Forward enters its second year, our focus will be on career enhancement.

To that end, I am so proud to announce the Konica Minolta Mentorship Program. This initiative will be piloted in Ramsey, NJ, for employees to develop leadership skills and build confidence, create positive change and encourage the transfer of knowledge. Our mentors are graduates of Konica Minolta’s Edge Leadership Program who have volunteered to make a difference. These individuals are the best and brightest that Konica Minolta has to offer. And they have a lot to offer. Some started their careers here and have gained more responsibility and greater roles within the organization because of their ability. Some have been recruited and have different ideas and perspectives. Many bring corporate experience from other companies, leveraging their best practices as our own. All are committed to the development of every employee at Konica Minolta.

I’m excited to see where we will be another year from now as we continue to take another “Step Forward.”

Kay Du Fernandez
Senior Vice President, Marketing

Kay Du Fernandez leads the creation of innovative marketing strategies throughout the entire customer journey. Through digital disruption, brand awareness, a focus on customer experience, marketing communications and channel management, she works to improve the value we deliver to customers, partners and employees. Her responsibilities also encompass strategic business development and pricing to support sales efforts for Konica Minolta’s U.S. operations. Kay established the Step Forward Program at Konica Minolta to inspire women in professional excellence.