Lynn Shapiro Snyder, a Senior Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practices in the Washington, DC, office was quoted in an article about women on corporate boards on a presentation she gave at the Sprint Nextel Corp. to kickoff the win|win campaign. The campaign is an initiative spearheaded by high-profile Kansas City figures to promote gender diversity on corporate boards and in executive suites.
Companies with three or more women on their boards are more financially successful by all sorts of benchmarks, Snyder said.
The need for a mix of men and women in the boardroom is not necessarily about discrimination — it’s an issue of confidence and frame of reference, Snyder said.
She advocates working from the top down — through boards — and from the bottom up — through mentoring programs and other efforts — to promote gender diversity.
Once a woman is given her first chance at a board seat, often a rush of requests will follow, Snyder said.
She encouraged win|win to get the word out that one woman on a board may not be sufficient. Snyder also advocates regular board evaluations to determine whether board members are “vibrant and contributing to the community” and the use of search firms to find the best person to fill open board seats.
Life experiences play a huge role in what a candidate can bring to a board, Snyder said, adding that directors also should be collegial, collaborative and good listeners.
Women, she said, need to get over their reticence to commit to a board and to let others know they’re interested in serving.