helping women unlock corporate boardrooms
aspiring to corporate director seats often find the boardroom
door politely but firmly shut. The Kellogg School’s
Center for Executive Women aims to provide the keys to open
has launched the Women’s Director Development program,
the school’s first Executive Education program geared
entirely to women. Now in its second year, the program helps
women acquire the skills to join the corporate board network.
goal is to help women make the leap onto nominating committee
radar screens, and we’re already doing that,”
says Professor Victoria Husted Medvec, the center’s
executive director and program coordinator.
feel we have truly surfaced some new candidates, and that
is very gratifying.”
program has garnered wide media attention, including a feature
article in The New York Times. The course has sold out quickly,
and enrollment has been brisk for the next two sessions: May
7 to 9 and Nov. 12 to 14.
of past and future attendees particularly pleases Medvec.
Participants include a number of chief executives and financial
officers, as well as presidents and vice presidents of companies
such as Microsoft Corp., R.R. Donnelly and Sons Co., Coca-Cola
Co, and Barnes & Noble Inc.
are not mid-career professionals,” Medvec says. “These
are people already at the executive level, and they’re
already qualified to take the next step and become board members.”
addresses the responsibilities of board membership, accentuating
decision-making skills and information analysis. But it also
goes beyond the nuts-and-bolts of board participation to offer
specific insights about how attendees can maximize their impact
on a board and establish credibility in what is usually a
really helped give me a better sense of where to look for
certain problems and how to analyze the health of the company,”
says Margery Kraus, president and CEO of APCO Worldwide Inc.
and a steering committee member for the center.
attended the Women’s Director Development program last
year and says she found the experience invaluable.
is a need for this, because boards are in the spotlight now.
You want to make sure that the women who join boards are qualified
to do so,” she says.
who complete the course come away with more than a sheaf of
notes and contacts. The center adds their names to its “director
database,” which is available free of charge to corporations
seeking new board members and to executive search firms that
are recruiting directors.
Medvec says the center has received “quite a few”
requests for candidates to fill board seats. “In this
way, we are proactively addressing the absence of women on
corporate boards,” she says.
need more female members is something few can dispute. As
of 2001, women occupied just 12 percent of all director seats
on S&P 500 boards, according to research by the Spencer
Stuart Board Index Report of 2002.
who are interested in enrolling in the Women’s Director
Development Program should contact Marily Schonthal via
email, or by phone at 847-491-7019. They can also apply