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Boards Hone in on Sector-Specific Candidates as Economic Factors and Regulatory Compliance Increase Risk; AESC Study Finds Strategic Skills Still Dominate

BlueSteps recently hosted the #ExecCareer Chat: How to Attain a Top Board Seat, featuring Monica Burton, from Witt/Kieffer and Bob Pearson, from Pearson Partners International.
 
Some of the questions asked included:

Whether you are an aspiring board director or a current member of a board, it is vital that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, board appropriate and utilized effectively to maximize your board career opportunities. LinkedIn is a great tool for board directors as it can help you share updates about your organization, allow you to follow influencers in your industry, connect with fellow board members, and be found by those conducting board searches.
 

In observance of the official American Business Women's Day on September 22nd, BlueSteps devoted the entire month of September to facilitate discussion on a variety of topics related to women in business, from gender diversity on boards, to work-life balance, to obtaining your next opportunity. This programming is only an extension of what BlueSteps and the Association of Executive Search Consultants are committed to throughout each year, but it is an official recognition for all the women who make a difference in the workplace across the world.

When it comes to women on boards, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) has come a long way, Baby, to quote an old TV ad for the Virginia Slims. The first issue of NACD’s original newsletter, Director’s Monthly, featured a Board of the Month – first American Savings and Loan. The board’s photo shows 15 directors, all apparently white males. This kind of board composition was commonplace in the late 1970s, and NACD’s membership reflected this fact. Flash forward to the present day, when most boards have diversity and the picture looks as quaint as a TV ad for smokes. How can a board grow in diversity? Here is the story from NACD, expressed as lessons learned for boards and for the individuals who seek to join them. 
 

A recent study by Goldman Sachs found that creating a more gender-balanced board could boost the euro zone’s gross domestic product by up to 13 percent. So where are the women? Having a female director on a company’s board has too often been seen as a token gesture in the surface interests of achieving gender equality. However, an increasing number of reports from industry experts further strengthen what many already knew: there are a multitude of tangible benefits that women bring to the table.

New opportunities for female executives to become board directors are on the rise, but how can female executives best position themselves for when they appear? In today’s highly competitive business environment, it has never been more vital that female executives receive the best possible advice and information to secure their positions as board directors, and prevent themselves from getting stuck beneath the infamous glass ceiling. According to Catalyst’s 2012 census, only 16.6% of board seats are being taken up by women; it is clear that if you want to join this percentage, you must gain as much first-hand knowledge as you can.