Janice Reals Ellig Co-CEO Chadick Ellig

“Women on boards, a strategic business imperative” – Janice Reals Ellig

Janice has been an advocate of Women on Boards for many years. We’re discussing with her why this is not a ‘nice to have’, but a ‘need to have’.

“Janice, Chadick Ellig strongly values gender parity – especially in the boardroom. Besides talking and writing about it, you’re actually doing something to change it.”

Janice Reals Ellig Co-CEO Chadick Ellig

Janice Reals Ellig Co-CEO Chadick Ellig

“Absolutely! Women constitute half of the global population and in the U.S. influence over 80% of purchasing decisions. Yet less than 20% of the approximately 4,500 S&P 500 board seats are currently held by women. Furthermore, ‘less than 3%’ – i.e. 30 companies of the Fortune 1000 – have 40% or more women on their boards. That is a dismal statistic. That is why, as founder and chair of the Corporate Board Initiative for the Women’s Forum of New York, we proposed a goal of reaching gender parity on S&P 500 boards by 2025. That is my personal mission and I am honored to work with many CEOs to make that goal a reality.

“When I was President of the Women’s Forum of New York, I started the Corporate Board Initiative and our signature event, the biennial Breakfast of Corporate Champions in 2011, where we honored those companies with 20% or more women on boards. With an outstanding panel of CEOs – who spoke about the strategic business imperative to achieve gender parity on boards – momentum began to build. These CEOs sponsored board-ready women for the Women’s Forum Database to build the pipeline and help accelerate the number of women on boards. Enlightened CEOs and their boards know gender parity – a more balanced board – means better corporate governance, better decision-making. They know more women in the boardroom, and the C-Suite speaks to their key stakeholders – employees, customers, shareholders and communities.

“Given the global landscape and need to remain competitively relevant, corporate CEOs and boards cannot afford to ignore half the population – especially with the rich pipeline of highly qualified women available for board positions.

“Research studies done by Catalyst, Credit Suisse Research Institute, Deloitte, McKinsey and most recently, EY/Peterson Institute, show a strong correlation between significantly higher financial performance with more women on the board. Putting women in the boardroom and C-suite is not just ‘a nice thing to do’, it is good for business and shareholder value!

“Yet, while we hear a lot about the benefits of having more women on corporate boards, the majority of boards, 97%, do not have parity. Focused and committed board leadership can make parity a reality within the decade. And compared to many countries, the U.S. is lagging – tied in 10th place with Australia – for the percentage of women on boards. We are the United States of America: a world power. We should not be trailing – we should be trailblazing.”

Janice Ellig and Susan Chadick - Chadick Ellig search firm

One of my favorite quotes: “We put a man on the moon… we should be able to put women on boards.” – Deanna Mulligan, CEO, Guardian (November 2013 Breakfast of Corporate Champions, sponsored by the Women’s Forum of New York)

To contact Janice: www.chadickellig.com

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