NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Highlighting their ongoing commitment to advance diversity in the boardroom, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and PwC co-hosted more than 100 corporate leaders to discuss opportunities for women in the boardroom on September 15 in New York City. The forum was the latest step in NACD's efforts to increase diversity in boardrooms across corporate America.
"NACD is absolutely for diversity, absolutely for women on boards, and that's why we're here," said keynote speaker Barbara Hackman Franklin, chair of NACD, director of Aetna, Dow Chemical and American Funds and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce. "In order for boards to fulfill their mission and act as an effective, independent counterweight to management, they must incorporate a range of perspectives and voices. NACD is asking all boards to make diversity a top priority because we know that business success depends on it."
The forum included panel discussions on business challenges facing directors today, moderated by PwC's Mary Ann Cloyd, and the specific challenges facing women in the boardroom, moderated by Catherine Bromilow from PwC. Both Bromilow and Cloyd are partners in PwC's Center for Board Governance, which has a commitment to supporting director effectiveness in the boardroom. "Women, as directors and executives, bring deep value and different perspectives to the boardroom. We believe that having women in key roles helps both companies and boards to be successful," said Bromilow. "And, PwC is committed to supporting women in these challenging roles."
The event also included peer exchanges facilitated by members of the NACD Advisory Council on Diversity: Women in the Boardroom, and time dedicated explicitly to networking, as many attendees reiterated that these connections are invaluable to furthering their personal development.
"NACD views diversity broadly—through the lenses of skill sets and experiences, from the perspectives of thought, background and communication style. Diverse insights are essential components to exemplary board performance," said Ken Daly, president and CEO of NACD. "At a time when companies are facing more challenges than ever before, having a wide range of opinions is crucial to developing innovative corporate strategies. We are grateful to our friends at PwC's Center for Board Governance for their collaboration on this event."
The action-oriented meeting focused on defining next steps for NACD and four specific stakeholder segments—boards, women directors, institutional investors and search firms. To help move the needle particularly on women's advancement in the boardroom, some consensus was reached by leading and prospective directors who attended the meeting. Based on the premise that securing your first, or next, public company board seat is a combination of what you know and who you know, the following five themes were woven through the dialogue:
- Network – Meet with influential directors, fellow board members, management including CEOs and the chairs of Nominating/Governance Committees which oversee board composition.
- Demonstrate your commitment to boardroom excellence and participate in boardroom education programs throughout the country and increase your personal value as a director.
- Encourage boardroom renewal. Realize that both age and term limits have increased over the past few years, so board seats are not opening for new board candidates as frequently.
- Study companies' proxy statements and explore their diversity policies in public disclosures.
- Go after a new board seat with the same fervor and rigor as a new-job search.
The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is the only membership organization delivering the information and insights that corporate board members need to confidently confront complex business challenges and enhance shareowner value. With more than 11,000 members, NACD advances exemplary board leadership. NACD is focused on creating more effective and efficient boards through director-led education and peer forums to share ideas and leading practices based on more than 30 years of primary research. Fostering collaboration among directors and governance stakeholders, NACD is shaping the future of board leadership. To learn more about NACD, visit www.NACDonline.org. To join, please contact Kelly Dodd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-380-1891.
About the PwC Center for Board Governance
PwC's Center for Board Governance provides resources to help board members more effectively meet the challenges of their critical role. This is done by sharing leading-edge governance practices, providing insightful and timely thought leadership, and by offering or sponsoring programs for directors to discuss current board-level issues. Visit the PwC Center for Board Governance at www.pwc.com/us/centerforboardgovernance, and download the Board Center iPad app at www.pwc.com/us/BoardCenterApp. PwC firms provide industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to enhance value for their clients. More than 161,000 people in 154 countries in firms across the PwC network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. See www.pwc.com for more information. © 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership. All rights reserved. PwC refers to the US member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity.
Steven Silber, Communications Director
SOURCE National Association of Corporate Directors