Harvard Business School (HBS) Executive Education will launch “Women on Boards: Succeeding as a Corporate Director” on the HBS campus in Boston from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2. This new program will provide an in depth examination of the function of corporate boards and inner dynamics of board governance. The program will also serve as a valuable convening platform for women to explore topics of boardroom diversity among a network of accomplished peers.
“It’s a myth that there aren’t enough qualified women to serve on boards. There’s actually an ample supply of such women,” said Professor Lynn S. Paine, John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration and faculty cochair of ‘Women on Boards: Succeeding as a Corporate Director.’ “Through this program we aim to bring many of them together, increase their visibility, and help them prepare for the challenges boards will be facing in the future. This program is not just about board basics. It is also about the difficult issues corporate directors will be grappling with in the years ahead.”
The program provides insight into different types of boards and how they function, as well as best practices and priority issues for board governance. The program also focuses on understanding the selection process for board membership, and addresses misconceptions and challenges facing women pursuing board seats. Such challenges include limited seat availability, indefinite term limits for established board members, company-specific specifications for filling board seats, and biases both conscious and unconscious that can impact how boards are selected.
“While it’s widely understood that companies with diverse leadership and employees can leverage a wider breadth of skills and insights, obstacles to boardroom diversity remain,” said Frances Frei, UPS Foundation Professor of Service Management and Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education at Harvard Business School. “This new program helps high-achieving women navigate the next phase of their career by understanding how boards operate, as well as the barriers they may face and how to overcome them.”
Using case study and panel discussions, presentations, and individual coaching, the program will leave female executives with a refreshed perspective on board governance as well as their own personal leadership styles.
“To prepare for board service, all senior leaders need to develop the knowledge and skills that boards are seeking,” said Professor Boris Groysberg, Richard P. Chapman Professor of Business Administration and faculty cochair of “Women on Boards: Succeeding as a Corporate Director.” “Our program is designed to help executives grasp the key issues affecting boards today and the best practices employed by high-performing boards. Our goal is to give executives the tools they need to hit the ground running as successful board members.”
“Women on Boards: Succeeding as a Corporate Director” is designed for female senior executives at large, established companies who hold positions ranging from division head to CEO. The ideal candidate is a senior professional who seeks to contribute to corporate governance at the highest level.
As with other HBS Executive Education offerings, “Women on Boards: Succeeding as a Corporate Director” will rely on research from leading HBS faculty, discussions with industry peers, and learnings from real-world case studies from successful global companies.
Scholarship assistance may be available to qualified candidates thanks to the generous support of Linda Rabbitt, CEO and Chairman of Rand Construction Corporation.