Categorized | Blog

Women on boards – how you can make a difference to our companies and communities

In September I’ll be attending the annual Diversity on Boards conference with a group from sphinxx including Jenny Reynolds and a number of other women leaders.  I’m looking forward to catching up with my good friend Denise Aldous at the conference as well – many of you will have met or heard from Denise when she was a guest mentor in our Take the Lead group mentoring program. You’ve probably heard the great news that Jenny and Denise were recently appointed as the first female directors on the Cronulla Sharks Football and League Clubs – a milestone for women leaders and the role of women in sport.  This is a clever move from the Sharks: with the state that the Rugby League is in, it’s high time that clubs introduced a female perspective to their leadership ranks.

We know from Catalyst research that those companies with more women in leadership roles and around the board table produce financial results up to 35% stronger.  We also know that companies with women at the top engender a more collaborative culture capable of bringing people together during tough times.  In my limited experience of sitting on a couple of public boards, I’ve also found that women are more willing to embrace change and to challenge the status quo than my male counterparts – and let’s face it, which organisation isn’t dealing with change right now?
So we all know that it’s a good thing for our workplaces and our communities to have women on boards, yet we also know that in Australia women comprise only 8.3% of board directorships.  So what can we do to shift that number up?
1. We can educate ourselves about what’s involved in being a company director – The Australian Institute of Company Directors and Women on Boards are good places to start with this.
2. Get your CV converted into a good board resume – there are organisations and individuals who can help you with this.  I used Kerry Chater from Dolphin Consulting – send me an email if you’d like an introduction.
3. Most of us are members of professional bodies and organisations – have you considered putting self-nominating for a board position?
4. The vast majority of board appointments are still made through networks and recommendations – do you know anyone who sits on boards who could put you forward for others?  If so, you can make an appointment to catch up and ask them to do this.
5. Not for profits are always looking for talented directors – is there an organisation you already support in another capacity?  Why not send them your CV and ask to be considered for future appointments?
As a final point, if you’d like to connect with company directors and get the latest on trends for women on boards, you can still join our group at the Diversity on Boards conference in September and avail of the group discount – click here for all the details and drop me an email if you’d like to join our group.


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