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AUGUST 2014 - Corporate Boards Event
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Increasing the Diversity of Corporate Boards

by Paula Mitchell

On Thursday, July 24, 2014, WLALA proudly presented a program called, “How Smart Women Get on Corporate Boards,” featuring speaker and author Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire.  Betsy spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the event, which was sponsored by Reed Smith LLP, and Maria Shtabskaya of Morgan Stanley, who graciously provided a delicious sushi lunch for all of the attendees.  All attendees also received an autographed copy of Betsy’s recently published book, “The Board Game:  How Smart Women Get on Corporate Boards.”

Betsy presented the audience with the undeniable case for having more women corporate directors at the decision-making tables in board rooms across America.  Currently, 36% of all publicly held companies in the United States have no women on their boards of directors.  Betsy, who is a public relations and executive and board search expert, provided the audience with a road map for how to go about winning their first board seat.  She provided exposes from several of the women featured in her book, who have successfully navigated these relatively uncharted waters for women, and provided valuable advice to women at all career stages.  Based on the feedback from the audience, Betsy’s presentation was timely, important, and extremely well-received. 

WLALA thanks Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire for her important, inspiring, and timely message!

Some of the reviews of Betsy's book (which is available on Amazon) include:

“Corporate boards without women directors are basically dysfunctional. Companies can no longer ignore half the population (and seventy percent of the purchasing power) and be successful.” —Peter V. Ueberroth, director, Coca-Cola—three women directors today; women on board since 1934.

“A Board of Clones tends to do clone thinking and usually has a very narrow range of creativity. A board that has both genders and multiple ethnicities, is far more likely to be productive and responsive to employees and customers. I feel sorry for any organization that doesn’t have a significant level of diversity.” —George C. Halvorson, Chairman/CEO, Kaiser Permanente—five women directors on board.

“Companies can do well by doing good, and the power of influence provides better results than many alternative approaches. Women are proving to be particularly skilled in both these areas, and will be sought after by corporations around the world —Mark T. Bertolini, Chairman, CEO and President, Aetna—four women directors on board.

“The goal of obtaining a board seat must be a career-long, purpose-driven endeavor. The most important influence in getting more women on boards is the women who currently serve on boards.” —Douglas R. Conant, retired CEO of Campbell Soup—five women directors on board.

Paula Mitchell is a WLALA Board Member and Counsel in the appellate practice group at Reed Smith LLP. She specializes in state and federal appeals. Before joining Reed Smith, Paula developed substantial experience in federal appeals as a former Ninth Circuit clerk, where she spent eight years working on appeals from the Third, Fourth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits, as Judge Arthur L. Alarcon's career law clerk.



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