Help Wanted: 1,000+ Women to Fill California Board Seats – Are You Ready? - McClarie Group

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Help Wanted: 1,000+ Women to Fill California Board Seats – Are You Ready?

Photo by Mark Lennihan / Associated Press

I’m extending a sincere thank you to Governor Jerry Brown for signing California Senate Bill 826 last fall. The law makes California the first state to require publicly traded companies to have at least one woman on their boards of directors by the end of this year.
 
The news gets even better in 2021: For companies with five directors, two will need to be female. And for companies with six or more directors, three will need to be female. Companies that don’t comply will be hit with hefty fines.
 
My take? It’s about time, and it’s a smart move for Californians. I’ve recently prepared and positioned five female clients who’ve landed seats on boards of publicly traded companies – and they’re absolutely thriving. So are those companies. Boards that are diverse and reflect the communities they serve have a competitive advantage. Any number of studies – especially those from the Peterson Institute, Credit Suisse and McKinsey – suggest that more gender and racial diversity in the boardroom and the C-Suite increases performance, profitability, better stock market returns and valuations. What company wouldn’t want that?
 
Yet according to estimates by Annalisa Barrett of San Diego-based Board Governance Research, nearly 30 percent of the 642 publicly traded companies headquartered in California don’t have a single woman on their boards. The law, in essence, calls for close to 200 women to be added to these boards by the end of this year, with a total of 1,060 to be added by the end of 2021.
 
That’s a fantastic opportunity for a good number of us. So how do we land these seats?

Gianna Brasil (right), Executive Recruiter for the DeWinter Group, has been working steadily to change the face of California companies (and improving their profitability) by identifying accomplished women for C-Suite and board positions. (Gianna participated in my Watermark Conference session this past February.)

“Companies are telling us that they don’t want more of the same – they want diversity of thought and diversity of experience on their boards,” Gianna says. “We’re encouraging women to step up, even if you’ve never served on a board. Find women who are on boards, ask them about their experience and get yourself not just board-ready, but board-capable. If you have experience in the business world and the desire, you already have plenty to offer a board.”

Where to start? I recommend the DeWinter Group’s Business Before Hours: What it Means to be on a Board panel on May 29 in San Francisco, featuring women who serve on private company boards – which, Gianna notes, is an excellent first step toward public board service.

And you know how I feel about recognizing and articulating your value. Too many good executives – female and male – never make it to the C-Suite or boards of directors because they don’t know how to tell their story. Don’t be a well-kept secret. Invest in yourself and join me for Your Winning Story Makes You Unstoppable. We begin with an intensive June 8-9 workshop in San Francisco and continue our work together via a six-week follow-up program. Read on for details.

It’s unfortunate that we need to legislate what’s right and what works best. We resist change even when it’s in our own best interest. Here’s hoping the remaining 49 governors are inspired and courageous enough to do what is right. 

There’s a board of directors looking for you. Let’s make sure you’re ready to be found.

Wishing you joy and unfathomable success,

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