Saturday, May 30, 2009

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership

The web site Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership is owned and maintained by Martin K.I Christensen, of Denmark. See:

He lists Women “Ministers” or Cabinet appointees in the US. To see the impressive list of Obama appointees, scroll down to see the tremendous number women named just in the year 2009:

Friday, May 22, 2009

More on How Times Have Changed

I really enjoy sharing the information sent to me from
Harvard Law's Governance Center. Lucian Bebchuk has been writing some very interesting papers on the TARP program and another recently announced discussion paper:

The Elusive Quest For Global Governance Standards
by Lucian Bebchuk and Assaf Hamdani

I forwarded these to young women in business school and another not-so-recent business school graduate, who said,

"Great to see best B-schools doing more on the governance topic.

When I graduated with an MBA in 1982, the term governance was never used. I can't remember one class discussion on the role of the Board of Directors. I think we (CEOs in training) thought them useless, rather like an adornment with no purpose but to look 'pretty'.

How times have changed with the power shift to the Boardroom."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How Times Have Changed

I just recently discovered that Dr. Lois Frankel wrote a new book: See Jane Lead: 99 Ways for Women to Take Charge at Work (Warner Books: 2007).  
Dr. Frankel historically is known for her New York Times Best Seller books, the Nice Girls series: Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office and Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich. Her latest book truly is a reflection of more modern times. She interviewed women in leadership, asking them to discuss their insights about what they thought worked, what they did that advanced their careers, and how their perspective of leadership is appropriate to today’s business challenges. It’s a book that every woman should read if she is interested in being an active participant in the contemporary business marketplace.

Our thoughts are alike: we both see the importance, now, of not looking at the things women might consider wrong in their careers, but rather the crucial need for women to develop and strengthen strategies that will enable them to succeed at work. Dr. Frankel is very good at enumerating possible things that women CAN do to be more effective, more influential, and to be more comfortable with guiding change at work and within their careers.

She sees women as "natural leaders." She also recognizes that women lead in what I consider to be the most basic business unit: the home, household, and family unit. Dr. Frankel advises women to acquire some new tools, techniques, tactics, and strategies that can deliver on the promise of "natural leadership." In See Jane Lead, she identifies effective methods of "influence" rather than the more traditional command-control power-based type of leadership which is hitting its own limits in contemporary workplace environments.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Even MORE Women Corporate Directors

For those who have followed Champion Boards over the past few years, you recall that we collaborate with which also tracks nominations of women to corporate boards. Alice Krause, owner of that web blog, has been monitoring the progress of women in leadership since July 2005. It is her diligence that has tracked press releases from all corners. Champion Boards has charted that information. Together, we have seen the "slow, steady" progress of women advancing to the C-Suite and to the B-Suite (the corporate boardroom) just as Directors and Boards magazine also has reported. found, in the first quarter of 2009, a total of 69 board nomination press releases announcing corporations appointing women to boards. In comparing our two data sources: D&B found 2 women whom did not report, while appeared to find 31 more.

The companies' announcements about the new director nominations speak to specific and strategic competencies the women bring to their boardroom. So, D&B's Jim Kristie's views are absolutely "on target": tougher regulations have encouraged boards to look into new sources to find financially competent and independent directors; the size of the average board has decreased; and women are acquiring more and better business and governance skills in an economy that appears to value their strategic input.

There are many trends worth following in this arena: noteworthy among them is the fact that really quality women are accepting the board challenge. We project a continuing positive trend as more women move into top leadership roles throughout business.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

An Awesome Stat

In the latest Directors & Boards magazine, James Kristie, Editor and Publisher, said he proudly reported that 38% of the directors appointed in the 1st Q 2009 to his magazine were women:

Editor's Note By Jim Kristie
"An awesome stat:
Our Directors Roster reports a record-busting number of women being elected to boards."

"Now, here is why that stat of 38% is so worthy of note. For the first decade of the Roster, from 1994 up until about 2002, the percentage of women named to boards typically averaged in the low teens. In 2002 we started to see a consistent uptick to the high teens. Could that have been an early reaction to the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley with the attendant push for independent director and financial experts on boards? I say yes. From 2003-2006 the data veered widely, with some quarters backsliding to the low teens and other quarters hitting 20-25% of appointments. Year 2007 marked the first solid breathrough trend: every quarter that year was above 20% women directors. Same with 2008, when the average for the year was 25%. Now we have this big burst in the first quarter of 2009. Just flip through the Roster on pages 66 through 77, and you'll see this stat come alive. For me, a champion of board diversity since I showed up on the Directors & Boards doorstop in 1981, this stat is a sight to behold."

What is so impressive is how proud he is -- as a governance professional -- to be able to say that he can see real progress, real talent, and "independent director and financial experts" among the women nominated to top level positions at corporate boards today.