Only 19% of corporate board of directors seats are filled by women. With our friends at The Board Connection, we asked our executive network why it’s important to increase this number and how to do it.
According to a recent study by our friends at The Board Connection, only 19% of corporate board of directors seats are filled by women. This is an improvement from years past, but corporations have significant room for improvement when it comes to gender diversity in the boardroom. 7% still have no female board members. For additional statistics and insight, we encourage you to read the conclusions of the study on The Board Connection website.
Forefront has partnered with The Board Connection to gather direct feedback and insight from executives in our network on the topic of gender diversity. We sought out executives who were either serving on corporate boards or aspire to do so, to create discussion around this topic.
Below are the executives who participated in the dialog:
Kristen Robinson – Chief Human Resources Officer, Pandora Media, Inc.
Kellie Richter – Chief Marketing Officer, Provasi Capital Partners LP.
Kelly Harris – Partner, Harris & Dickey, LLC.
Melisa A. Denis – Partner, KPMG, LLP
Rachel Gervin – SVP, General Counsel, Sage Software, Inc.
Guilda Javaheri – Chief Information Officer, Golden State Foods
Verona Dorch – Former General Counsel, Harsco Corp.
Jo Ann Herold – Global Chief Marketing Officer @ Interface, Inc.
Below is a small snippet of the valuable insight we gathered:
“The more diversity and therefore breadth you have on a board, the more you will be able to get broader perspectives and more creative insights that may not be generated when you have a lot of like-minded people.”
“I believe that women bring a unique perspective to the boardroom…process decisions differently; not better, not worse, just differently.”
On board culture: “…in some [boards] it can be a lot of egos…who’s the smartest, who talks the most. I’ve seen some women (and other minorities on BODs) hang back in those environments – I’ve done it myself…”
“The board culture has traditionally consisted of CEOs and they believe that they need like kind on their boards. There are not a lot of omen CEOs to choose from… to increase the number of women that serve, companies are going to have to change the CEO requirement.”
“In order to keep a happy and productive workforce and to most efficiently market and sell goods and services to existing customers and attract new customers, it is important to have a leadership team that reflects the changes in the market. I think you just appear stale, outdated and out of touch otherwise.”
“I think historically placements for openings on corporate boards have been made by word of mouth to friends and colleagues of existing board members. There have not been as many women in executive positions and therefore we don’t tend to come to mind for the “friends and colleagues” phone calls for openings.”
We will be publishing the full Q&A responses from our executive network in the next several days. Please follow this link to see all the responses as they become available.