Against the backdrop of the well-known inequality of women on corporate boards and, more importantly, of women as board chairs, the recently published book Dear Chairwoman contains highly personal stories of the challenges, perseverance and successes of some of the most respected female executives and board members/co-chairs at C-level.
Although marijuana companies place great importance on social justice, women are underrepresented on corporate boards. However, this situation is often worse with non-cannabis businesses.
A new book highlights the problems of women in global business. The figures are disappointing. By the end of 2020, women would hold fewer than a quarter of the board seats at the largest publicly traded U.S. companies in the Russell 3000 Index, and globally, women would also hold fewer than a quarter of the board seats (BoD) that year.
In fact, not only do countless companies worldwide not have women on their boards, but an even greater imbalance can be seen in the meager percentage of women who actually chair boards. That’s about 7.4 percent of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the US (by revenue) that claim to be women.
Given the critical purpose of the board of directors, whose mandate includes the fiduciary representation of shareholder interests, including corporate governance, as well as oversight and tactical decisions related to hiring and firing of employees and executives, executive compensation, dividend policy and distributions, management of corporate assets, and greater gender diversity, it is essential to represent the interests of all stakeholders. In addition, there are various reports – for example, the European Commission’s report on the state of the environment and public health. B. in the Harvard Business Review – described how gender diversity improves overall board effectiveness, while research shows that companies with female boards tend to be more profitable.
Despite its undeniable and notable benefits, initiatives such as Senate Bill 826 (SB 826) require all publicly traded companies headquartered in California to have at least one woman on their boards, while boards of six or more companies must have at least three women, and those of five companies must have at least two women. In addition, the NASDAQ recently announced proposed listing requirements, so it remains difficult to get women on the board. Many recent events are proof of this hard truth.
With this insight and a lifetime of experience in developing women leaders, Rika Nakazawa wrote the recently published Dear Chairwoman: Letters from today’s women board members to tomorrow’s fearless directors (HAL HOUSE, paperback). The book features the extraordinary voices and personal stories of women leaders from around the world who have found their place in the boardroom. They are used as letters to educate, train and inspire the next generation of women in business and government to take on board positions. Each of these letters is full of energy, personal experiences and future perspectives to encourage young women to not only serve on the board of directors, but also to claim the title of president by taking the highest seat in the boardroom.
The book is filled with letters from some of the most respected female executives who have risen to leadership positions at top companies like Microsoft and sit on the boards of global giants like The Coca-Cola Company, MGM Mirage, JPMorgan Chase, Alaska Airlines, Nordstrom and many others. Gavriella Schuster, a vice president at Microsoft, one of the book’s authors, notes: This book is remarkable because it enables young women to understand the story behind the stories. 40 very different stories show how many paths there are to success and what drives the women behind the stories. It allows each reader to recognize themselves in another’s story and find faith and trust in their own.
Mastersfund CEO and author Gillian Muessig also highlights the value of the book’s personal approach, explaining: Dear Chairwoman highlights the journey of women finding their way in the modern boardroom. Everyone has their own way of doing things. This parable shows how the road is paved.
Lisa Hammitt, EVP AI at Davidson Technologies and author, stresses the importance of the book, especially in light of current events: Post Lean-in, post #MeToo, COVID, home economics…. This president makes a bold appeal to tribal elders, using folklore, to guide leaders through the rite of passage at a time like this, if no other. The book and its unique stories even resonate with male allies, both for themselves and to prepare their daughters for the job market, as evidenced by the many 5-star reviews on Amazon.
It is also interesting to note that among female CEOs, few use the word president on their LinkedIn profiles or in their bios at conferences and events, but use terms like chairman, chairman of the board or president. While the shift in nomenclature from Chairman to CEO is a step forward in addressing unconscious diversity bias in companies around the world, the lack of use of the nomenclature of CEO is intriguing and an archetype I am trying to change.
Dear Chairwoman is a perfect fit for Nakazawa, who is a senior executive, entrepreneur, investor, board member and frequent speaker on technology-driven business transformation and diversity in leadership. As co-founder of BoardSeatMeet, Inc. in Austin, Texas – a company that provides high-performing, mixed and racially diverse boardrooms – Nakazawa has focused her career on advancing women in leadership positions in management, technology and business across industries and around the world.
A veteran of the technology industry himself, Nakazawa has served on several boards of next-generation computing and artificial intelligence companies. The goal is to deepen the interface between analog and digital experiences through transformative innovation and ongoing focused collaboration.
As for Dear Chairwoman, Nakazawa emphasizes that the intent of the book is to share the important insights of women who have broken through all sorts of proverbial ceilings and reached leadership positions – seats on chairs in corporate America and around the world. The stories of these remarkable achievements are offered in the form of personal letters to the next generation of women leaders, Nakazawa said. They highlight each leader’s path to the boardroom, including the challenges they faced along the way and the victories they achieved in their role.
I really want it.
Merilee Kern, MBA, a member of the Forbes Business Council, is a globally recognized analyst, strategist and brand futurist who focuses on industry game changers, movers and shakers across all B2B and B2C categories. This includes industry experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is the founder, editor and producer of The Luxe List and host of the nationally broadcast program Savvy Living. She is a productive trendsetter for companies and consumers, an authority and tastemaker in the lifestyle and leisure sector. She keeps her finger on the pulse of the market for innovative new must-haves and exemplary experiences in all price ranges, from affordable to extreme, and the minds behind the brands. Her work reaches millions of people around the world through television programs (her own and the many others in which she participates) and numerous print and online publications. Contact her at www.TheLuxeList.comand www.SavvyLiving.tv/ Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReports / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListReports / Facebook www.Facebook.com/LuxeListReports/ Link www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern
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