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    Once again, boards ignore a request to make a bigger effort on gender diversity

    07/27/2017 10:57 AM | Jan Molino (Administrator)

    Courtesy of "Mad Men" AMC series

    The facts:

    In the Wall Street Journal today, Index-fund giant State Street Global Advisors, which oversees more than $2.5 trillion in assets, found of the 468 companies it owns shares of in the U.S. lacked a single female board member. Of that group, about 400 companies failed to address gender diversity in any meaningful way. State Street Global Advisors then voted against the re-election of directors charged with nominating new board members at each of these companies. 

    Progress has been slow. Nearly a quarter of the companies in the Russell 3000 index lack a female director, according to ISS Analytics, a unit of Institutional Shareholder Services.

    Health-care companies were the worst performing group, accounting for about a quarter of those with no women on their boards. 

    Companies may talk a "big game" about gender diversity, but there is little follow through.

    Boards have been slow to add women for various reasons, including their infrequent turnover and preference for experienced chief executives. But there also has been limited pressure from big institutional investors.

    So what can women do to get a board seat?

    Women need to make their corporate board interests known in the first place. It takes research and preparation to get a board seat. Here are a few tips:

    • Promote your career through non-profit board involvement, political connections and company activities, so you meet people who are themselves on boards.
    • One of the key credentials for board members is experience being accountable for the profits and losses of a company.  Since women have held fewer P&L roles than men, you have to work that much harder and your network needs to be that much stronger
    • Be strategic.  Acquire marketable expertise. Knowledge of digital technology, the regulatory environment and executive compensation are in high demand.
    • Parlay those skills into a board membership through stronger and strategic networking.  
    • Create a digital footprint. Online connections can lead to pleasant surprises.
    • Go global. International experience is in demand.

    Get smarter and prepare with Corporate Board Development through Aspire Ascend. This is a highly customized one-on-one approach to Corporate Board Training.   Hone your skills crafting and delivering your value proposition for a board seat, learn how to utilize your network, develop a board bio and pitch, and gain the skills and practical tools that will help you on the path to the boardroom.  

    Read the rest of the Wall Street Journal article here.

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