Board Women?

Tracy WilliamsTracy Williams,  President and CEO
Olmstead Williams Communications, a public relations boutique

Ready to serve on a corporate board – mid market would be a great place to start

My ears perked up at Tuesday night’s “Women on Corporate Boards” event at the Omni in Downtown Los Angeles when one of the panelists said boards “even need PR people.”  We were also told we need to broadcast our interest on serving on corporate boards.  Another tip for women interested in serving on boards was that a good director is someone who asks the “Why” questions, according to Edith Perez, who serves on Con-Way Inc.’s board.  That is the cornerstone of a PR practitioner’s job – or it should be.  With two important attributes down, I should be a shoe-in, right?  We learned that it’s important to have served on non-profit and possibly government commissions, check.

The panelists – Gabrielle Greene, Whole Foods board member; Janet Kerr, La-Z-Boy board member; Edith Perez, Con-Way Inc. board member; and Wendy Webb, Jack in the Box board member – gave reason to hope in the way that accomplished, extremely well-educated and gracious people always do, with an “if we can get a board seat, so can you.”  However, the reality is that women represent only 16 percent of membership on corporate boards.  Edith Perez said she hoped that the number would reach 30 percent in her lifetime.  But Edith is much too young to make that a happy number: the European Union has already required the quota for women on boards to reach 30 percent by 2015.  Looking around the room, I saw a sea of untapped talent that corporate America would be wise to consider.  Board recruiters, take note: you can access an impressive list of female candidates here.  Go ahead, give them a call.  Studies show that adding women to your corporate board will also add to your bottom line.

Olmstead Williams Communications
10940 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1210
Los Angeles, CA  90024

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