By ION President Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane
Inforum’s “Strategies for Greater Success,” held Aug. 10 in Grand Rapids, provided tools to help you put your best foot forward, both personally and professionally. Making a commitment to be more successful is exciting.
As president of ION, I sincerely hope that you will achieve the success you dream of – not only because Inforum members are also ION members, but because when one woman excels at what she’s passionate about, all women benefit. I also hope that many of you are passionate about joining the board of directors of a public or nonprofit corporation. After all, women constitute approximately half of the work force and the majority of the consumer market. It makes perfect sense that we should have a greater presence on boards. And if Inforum is any indication, there is an abundance of women who are ready, willing and able to serve.
So why are women still so poorly represented on corporate boards?
Part of blame rests with nominating committees who believe that the only qualified board candidates are sitting or retired CEOs, the majority of whom are male. Fortunately, this belief is changing. It seems almost every month I see another article or report about the positive financial benefits for companies that have a balanced board. Experts in marketing, human resources, capital markets, corporate governance, and community affairs, along with industry and financial experts, can all contribute valuable skills as board members.
3D puts your name in front of nominating committees
Another obstacle is a candidate’s lack of visibility. To be considered for board service, you must first get your name on “the list.” ION can help you do that. Last month we announced our partnership with GMI to bring you the Diverse Directors DataSource (3D). This new resource is designed to promote the formation of boards with diverse knowledge, experience and talent, and give board candidates greater access to the nominating system.
If you’re interested in serving on a corporate or nonprofit board of directors, submit your profile to www.GMI3D.com. Later this year, 3D will be available by subscription to nominating committees, search firms and shareowners. As these resources help us progress to the next stage of diversity, I’m confident that you will all succeed as professional women. After all, you have 10,000 ION colleagues and friends rooting for you.