Behind the Scenes in the Boardroom
The Women's Networking Committee and The Gibbons Women's Initiative teamed up on March 26th to present an inside look at board selection, board diversity, and board service. THe progrma was held at the Park Avenue Club courtesy of program co-sponsor Gibbons P.C. After an hour of cocktails and networking, a diverse group of 75 attendees heard from a panel of three experienced leaders: Mary Ann Christopher, President and Chief Executive Officer, Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey; Alyce C. Halchak, Director, Gibbons P.C.; and Pamela H. Woldow, Principal and General Counsel, Altman Weil, Inc.
Ms. Halchak opened the meeting commenting on the number of studies showing the value of board diversity, and the paucity of women board members, and shared her perspectives as both a board member and an attorney who counsels boards. Ms. Christopher shared lessons from her experience as a member of boards and commissions addressing a range of health care issues. Ms. Woldow observed that "As in most areas of business, women have a long way to go before they achieve adequate representation in the upper echelons of corporate America. Despite the fact that women outnumber men in the population, are responsible for more than 80% of all purchases of goods and services, represent 50% of all investors and own more than 10 million companies (which account for more than 45% of all US firms), the boardrooms of many public companies remain off-limits to women. From all the studies and evidence, we know that when companies tap into the large, underutilized reservoir of highly qualified women and assign them places in the boardroom, the companies benefit."
The panel discussed how to identify and attract board opportunities, and actions as a board member including building relationships with other board members, being prepared for and consistently present at board meetings. The duties and risk of board membership were also noted. Following a lively question and answer portion of the program, the attendees enjoyed an additional opportunity to network over coffee and dessert.
The next Women's Networking Committee program is "Fight Like A Girl" sponsored by Ogletree Deakins on April 22nd.