Sheila Ronning worked hard to elevate the content of the latest LA program, the "301 advanced event", and succeeded admirably. We’ve watched many other groups “compliment” Women in the Boardroom by emulating the basic program, even to the questions asked of panelists. Yesterday’s WIB event took it up a notch in the following respects.
First and foremost, of course, no panel would be complete without an excellent moderator, and Teena Hostovich of Lockton fit that bill perfectly. Just enough introduction to whet our appetites, and a steady hand on the questions, guiding us through the day’s event.
Two of the women panelists were corporate investors, which is a very strong path into the boardroom. Kimberly Alexis, CFA, has a background as a financial expert and technology hardware analyst for major Wall Street firms. She founded her own investment firm, Alexy Capital, which invests in businesses and builds boards for same. She serves and has served on major corporate boards largely because of her financial and technology acumen plus a reputation as a collaborative governance advisor.
Sharon Stevenson, co-founder and managing director of Okapi Venture Capital, with her focus on life science investments, came up the clinical path as a veterinary surgeon, and also acquired an MBA from the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management, a PhD in Comparative Pathology from UC Davis, and a Master of Science in Veterinary Pathology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.
The third panelist was Dr. Maria Klawe, president of
Harvey Mudd College, former dean of engineering and professor of
computer science at Princeton University and previously at the University of British
Columbia, IBM Research in California,
and . Dr. Klawe’s impact has been significant on
elevating the percentages of women in science, technology, engineering, and
math (STEM) fields in undergraduate studies at Harvey Mudd, but also through
her extensive leadership roles in academic and government organizations
advancing educational opportunities for all. University of
Clearly, these are women who “love constant learning.”
The women elevated the concept of “networking” as building a reputation on a foundation of performance and delivery of valued results, rather than simple card-swapping or schmoozing. They redefined “mentoring” as speaking well about the women we know who perform outstandingly well. Interesting that many have been asked, “Would you mentor me?” They suggested, instead, that women focus on what they could offer of value -- something that makes them “worth mentoring.”
Their stories re-affirmed the reality that many opportunities are serendipitous consequences, not entirely directly, of initiatives or actions or deeds taken many steps beforehand and often long ago. The idea that we could chart a continuous, carefully-constructed linear path into the boardroom was replaced by the impression that good results take time to stew, that good deeds do mature into benefits, but that it may take more time and certainly less control, and much more sheer persistence, than we might have expected.
But, results happen. That is what matters. And it is especially impressive to see women in leadership so absolutely “comfortable in their skins,” so authentic in their delivery, and so open in their honest communications with the next generation of leaders who would follow in their footsteps.