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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Chicago Tribune – More Women Are Landing Board Seats, But the Pace of Change is Slow

  • May 2018

The Chicago Tribune reported that among Illinois’ 25 most valuable companies, women have claimed 44% of new directorships since the start of last year — a sign that progress is accelerating. Among those companies, 23% of board seats are held by women this year, compared to less than 18% five years ago.

Nationally, women won a third of new directorships in first quarter of 2018, nearly double the 2013 rate. Few new directors had CEO experience, illustrating a more holistic approach to assessing candidates’ qualifications. “We need to have the conversation about opening up the definition of board-ready,” said Cynthia Soledad, who co-leads Egon Zehnder’s Diversity & Inclusion Practice. Narrow recruitment practices that limit candidates to chief executives and those with prior board experience slow diversity efforts. Such practices not only exclude women and members of racial and ethnic minorities, but also younger individuals, whose skill sets could be useful as business needs evolve, said Soledad.

Companies with changing business needs are increasingly seeking board members who have worked as chief marketing officers because of their understanding consumer behavior; chief human resources officers because of their talent insights; and chief information officers because of their knowledge of cybersecurity—all of which helps bring more diverse candidates to the forefront, she said.

Full Story: More women are landing seats on Illinois' corporate boards, but pace of change is 'glacial'. By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz. 24, May 2018.


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