Advancing Women to the Boardroom

In the Know

Potential vs. Performance: Do Nominating Committees Expect More from Women Board Candidates?

From the Skytop Strategies Gender Equality in the C-Suite and Boardroom 2 Symposium

The recent Skytop Strategies symposium on gender equality in the C-suite and boardroom included a roundtable discussion on the differences in potential vs. performance as it relates to how board candidates are evaluated by search firms and nominating committees. The discussion drew on the research that shows that women and men are often held to different standards in corporate settings, where women are evaluated on past performance while men are evaluated on future potential (Catalyst, 2011; Barsh, 2011).

The roundtable participants made Full Article

Women’s Leadership Development Programs – Lessons Learned & New Frontiers

A recent issue of the Journal of Management Education (Volume 40, Issue 3) included a rich discussion of women’s leadership development programs (WLDP). As the title suggests, the issue includes a review of themes from the latest research on WLDPs as well as recommendations for WLDPs going forward. The focus in all cases is on understanding how WLDPs can foster transformational change in individuals and organizations while fostering leadership development in both women and men.

This special issue of the ION newsletter will include a summary of the key findings and recommendations from these Full Article

Female CEOs in F500 goes down; Catalyst, Inforum, & Network 2000 update their leadership numbers

ION members Network 2000 (MD) and Inforum (MI) have released updated board and executive officers for their regions; Fortune reported a decline in the number of women serving as CEO in their top 500 companies; Catalyst raises concern that one woman on a board will “become the new zero;” and financial institutions sign the Women in Finance Charter in the UK, making a commitment to improve gender diversity in their senior ranks AND tie progress to the pay of senior executives. Read more

Vague Feedback May Hold Women Back, One Diverse Candidate is Not Enough, How Women Decided, and Tax Incentives for Board Diversity

Researchers find that women are more likely to receive vague feedback not tied to business goals, which leads to lower evaluations and less advancement opportunity; also a single diverse candidate in a list of possibilities has 0% chance of being the final choice (but two diverse candidates significantly increases the likelihood that one of them will be selected; and could tax incentives be the answer to increasing the number of women on boards? Read More.

Companies with Women Execs Outperform Others, GAO Report Details

femalegraphCompanies with diverse leadership, including women in executive roles, outperform others financially, and the GAO’s report on women on boards predicts parity is at least four decades away, but only if women are added to boards at twice the rate they are today.  Fast Company also reports on a new study that shows how pervasive sexual assault  and harassment is in the tech industry, and researchers find consistent and surprising gender gaps in self-esteem around the world.  Read more. 

ION Reveals Low Number of Women Board of Directors

ION Report Reveals Low Number of Women Board Directors, Executives in Top US Public Companies: Search Firms, Investors, Governance Chairs Urged to Cast Wider Net in Search for Qualified Candidates

Annual  Status Report of  Russell  3000  Companies  Shows Only 13 Percent of  Board Members,  Executive Officers Are Women NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — ION has released its 10th Annual Census of women board directors and executive officers of public companies ( The report includes 2014 data from 2,827 US corporations in the Russell 3000 (R3000). Key Full Article

When You Can Count on a Correlation

Numerous studies have documented the direct, positive correlation between the participation of women on the boards and senior management teams and overall organizational performance (see:

Many of these studies acknowledge that this research does not prove causation; such is difficult in any situation outside of randomized, controlled experimentation. The strength of the correlation, however, is reinforced by a number of factors that are evident from the scope of research I’ve tracked over the years.

When is Correlation Enough?

A Harvard Business Review blog from earlier this year attempted to address the issue of when a correlation can be Full Article

ION Comments on Joint Standards for Assessing Diversity Policies, Urges Emphasis on Outcomes

ION Comments on Proposed Joint Standards for Assessing Diversity Policies, Urges Regulating Agencies to Emphasize Actual Impact of Initiatives

Disclosure of Outcomes will Promote Stakeholder Transparency, Accountability Regarding Diversity and Inclusion Policies

Nashville, Tenn. – March 6, 2014 – ION has commented on the Proposed Interagency Policy Statement authored by the OCC, BGFRS, FDIC, NCUA, CFPB, and SEC,1 which would assess the diversity policies and practices of the entities these agencies regulate. While ION welcomes the development of the joint standards, it is concerned with the emphasis placed on assessment and disclosure of the existence of diversity and Full Article