Together We Are Stronger

The Canadian Board Diversity Council is working to increase women's representation on boards from 13% in 2007 to 20% or more by 2011. Organizations collaborating include corporate, executive search, government. In Canada looking for a search firms making board placements?
In the US, ION has a new "take action" page with ideas for how individual shareholders and mutual fund holders can encourage companies to increase the number of women on boards.

And, this is legitimate territory for diversity and women's initiatives as well. We'd like to see this issue given more weight than women's initiative efforts to bring in speakers on work/life balance and other softer subjects. Why? Because studies indicate that having more women on corporate boards drives a lowering of the wage gap and a strengthening of the pipeline for executive women. Oh, and there's also a correlation between the percentages of women on boards and bottom-line corporate performance!

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls. She blogs on networking for PINK Magazine. Follow her on Twitter.
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1 comment:

Dora Vell said...

Thank you for mentioning Vell Executive Search.

We have a new study coming out on fast growth Software company boards ($100m - $1b) where the numbers of women are very small, and they are mostly outside of the US and Canada.

I think we need to ensure that women (and others that would be board candidates) are visible enough so that they do maximize their chances on getting on specific boards.

From a search perspective, we need to be aware of women before they can be put on boards. So, profiles need to be elevated and access needs to be there for the few that can and are willing to serve. For example, women need to ensure their linkedin profiles, their ZOOMinfo profiles and other databases (such as the NACD's database for candidates) are up to date. More on that later. I think we need to write a general article on how people can make themselves "visible" and available for boards. Also, how we can find them and catalogue them for quick access.

When it is a word of mouth exercise (versus a formal search) it is a lot harder. I am doing a high profile, pro-bono, non-profit board search in Massachusetts and gender diversity is a key requirement. The board was at a loss to name women that would qualify in their network, but ones that met their criteria were easy to find from a professional's perspective.

This is clearly a bootstrapping exercise (getting more women on boards). We need to be pro-active.

Dora Vell