Transforming the Boardroom
Finding great female directors is easier than you think, the business math is a cakewalk and the PR writes itself.
If you’re a startup raising funds, look to female investors. A group like Female Funders, which has a Vancouver presence and aims to increase diversity and enhance talent in the innovation sector, can help. Because it’s common to allocate a new board seat for the lead investor in every round, you will up your chances of building an inclusive board from the get-go.
While finding distinguished, qualified women is simple, attracting them is fractionally harder, because women who do have extensive board experience are tapped time and time again. Try securing fresh female board directors by emphasizing and exhibiting a strong focus on corporate responsibility, enticing them with your gender-equitable leadership team and satisfying them with proven pay-equity policies.
Strive for volume; tokenism doesn’t do the trick. Turns out that when it comes to women on boards, three is the magic number for a company to see a positive impact on the bottom line. Since you can’t stop at one woman, you will need to be relentless in your pursuit for equity, from recruitment to succession planning.
Once you’ve achieved your board target, you need to shout it from the rooftops. Board equity shouldn’t be sequestered in the boardroom, so make this leadership strategy part of your brand. Everyone wants to know you are structured with integrity and equity. As Arianna Huffington once told me and a group of friends, “If Lehman Brothers was ‘Lehman Brothers & Sisters’ they would still be around today.”
While it might seem bold to pack your board with powerhouse women, it’s really a bottom-line decision. More gender-equitable boards provide better financial returns, including higher returns on equity, returns on sales, and returns on invested capital.
Read more of what I shared in this month’s Women in Business Magazine (page 23).