Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Helping women get on corporate boards

I recently heard about an organization called WBL, or Women Business leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation. It was founded in 2001 to provide its members with help to improve their businesses and grow professionally. The part I find especially interesting is the help that WBL offers to senior level executives (VP and above) to get positions on non-health care corporate boards.

The organization has published two books, Answering the Call and Advancing Women in Business. The first is a resource for considering the risks and responsibilities of governance. As WBL notes, "This book is a great place to start considering whether board service is right for you or to brush up on your governance-related knowledge." The second book is to help you understand how to get on a nominating committee's radar screen.

In addition, WBL holds annual Summits about serving on corporate boards and considering your first board seat.

This is a great resource for women health care professionals who want to expand their personal and professional horizons. Many corporate boards are seeking to diversify their membership, and the experience offered by health care people can often be applicable to other industries.

2 comments:

Adriennelc said...

Thanks for the post and support of WBL! We're proud to be helping so many wonderful senior executive women with these opportunities and look forward to being a resource to your readers.

- Eleanor Whitley and Adrienne Colburn, WBL Staff

Paul Levy said...

Comments transferred from Facebook:

Margie: Paul, You should also know that efforts have been underway locally for several years, especially by the Corporate Board Committee of The Boston Club, the region's largest organization of senior women executives and professionals. CBC, in collaboration with Bentley, publishes a census of how Massachusetts companies are doing with respect to women ... Read Moredirectors. The answer is: not well, and, in this recession, even worse.There are now studies linking bottom-line performance to the inclusion of women on corporate boards. With that in mind, The Boston Club maintains a list of highly qualified women executives who add dimension to the pool of candidates whom companies consider in naming board directors. We link to similar organizations across the country, so our ability to help a company in the search process is nationwide. Thanks for passing along your recent discovery. Every effort to support this endeavor adds to companies' capacity to do right by their shareholders, customers and employees.

Marie: Great post, thanks Paul! I recently contributed to a panel discussion on Women on Boards run by New Zealand's Minister for Women's Affairs, where many of the same issues were discussed. Fewer than 10% of Directors of Listed Companies in New Zealand are woman, even though diversity (of skills, experience, ethnicity, gender, social networks etc etc) is widely recognised as a strength in good governance.