The California state legislators recently passed a bill mirroring efforts in Europe to force corporations to look at Board gender diversity. If they don’t, they’ll be heavily fined for non-compliance. In a nutshell, corporations risk heavy fines starting at $100,000, then quickly escalating to $300,000 for subsequent non-compliance. The legislation is far reaching and states that companies incorporated elsewhere would also be subject to this regulation if they have a ‘principle executive office’ in California. Here are the details from the Wall Street Journal: “The law requires a company to appoint one woman to its board of directors by the end of 2019. By the end of 2021 a five-member board would need to have two women, while boards with six or more directors would need three.”
The papers are sitting on the Governor’s desk. I think he will sign, don’t you? I personally don’t think many companies will want to fight this one, the media attention would be devastating. So, we will see companies shifting their Board mix rapidly.
This latest news changes what Indaba Global can do for talented women.
We vet Board positions for our Executive Coaching clients. Board ‘fit’ is important for both the candidate and organization. We are actively positioning and marketing female executives for future Board positions. As an Executive Coaching firm, we are often asked to put forth candidates for executive roles or Board positions. We typically do an analysis with the candidate and look at time commitments and goals. We know that this will set up a selective search; and positioning our candidates properly is vital.
That’s the first step. How important is this? In general, without help, most Board candidates don’t make the cut past the first round. Why? They have critical perceptual gaps in the initial documents they present. As an example, some candidates don’t know the differences between CVs and resumes: length, purpose, and layout. Together they tell the story of why you are a viable candidate and you need both to be considered for Board positions. We help you craft and refine these.
Outreach and Marketing
The second step is outreach and marketing. Corporations often seek Board Members with specific skill-sets, such as financial or legal expertise. Board Members must weigh-in on critical topics like succession planning, crisis management, and acquisitions, so the requirements for these positions are significant.
To a large extent, in the past, friends of friends or candidates brought in by Executive Coaching firms and recruiting firms were typically selected. Candidates needed to be connected and positioned properly for consideration. That’s still vitally important, but how many people have the time to figure out precisely where Board opportunities are? The process for finding a corporate Board position requires a targeted strategy. It’s similar to landing any other high-level job; but it’s also very different in many regards. That’s where we help.
So, what do we think is going to happen and when?
Boards are going to have to fill seats with female candidates. That’s a fact. The selection process will happen quickly and those best positioned to ‘fit’ will get the nod. Companies aren’t waiting for the legislation. New guidelines coming out of Vanguard, Fidelity, and BlackRock require that Boards have at least 2 women directors. Vanguard has already changed their own board to have 40% female representation. Most corporations are nowhere near this percentage — and they will have to move this way soon. The marketplace is changing rapidly. Those women who are available, talented, and connected will be in a great position to take on the Board positions becoming available in 2019-2021.
If you’d like to consider putting yourself in the running for Board positions now or in the future, let us help get you ready.
Please forward this to other talented female executives. We can help guide them in their search for viable Board positions.
Also, forward this to current Board members seeking viable Board candidates. Networking is important. Be assured: We treat every referral as a valuable link to help people achieve their goals.