Directors & Boards - 2017 Directors to Watch
"Nevertheless, She Persisted": WIB Survey Identifies Women's Challenges and Opportunities When Considering Corporate Board Service
I was thrilled to be included in Director & Board's 2017 list of 'Directors to Watch'!
Uncertain times call for board refreshment:
“Board structure and refreshment have never been more important. With uncertainly at all-time highs, boards need to leverage diverse perspectives to effectively see around the corner and protect the interests of all stakeholders.” M. Whelan
Women in The Boardroom: Margaret Whelan’s View from the Boardroom
Kudos to Women in the Boardroom for their recent research and survey, and thanks for including my perspective!
"Even though we have much more work to do in achieving gender parity on corporate boards, I'm encouraged that so many have identified board service as a professional goal and that resources are available to facilitate their success," said Margaret Whelan, founder and CEO of Whelan Advisory, LLC, and TopBuild board director. "It takes more time and effort than most candidates realize, but staying determined and focused ultimately leads to triumph."
My Perspective on Board Education
I started my career on Wall Street in 1994 and have been in boardrooms ever since. Initially I was a stock analyst but when the wall went up between research and investment banking in 2003 I decided to make the transition to banking. That’s because I preferred the advisory side of the business, opining on optimal capital structure, strategic initiatives and M&A, more than writing about trends and recommending stocks when I was a top ranked analyst and the Global Head of UBS’s housing research team.
There are many very capable investment bankers, but what sets us apart from each other is our ability to relate to our C-suite clients on a personal basis. The trust builds over time, in my case decades, and in working together in good and bad times. As that evolves, it’s common to be offered executive positions and board seats.
I was fortunate to attend the Equilar Board Leadership Forum, an event co-hosted with Nasdaq at the MarketSite in New York City. The Forum featured eight fast-paced presentations and panels focused on creating progressive boards.
The main theme was around better leadership and oversight, in particular in the wake of more shareholder engagement and activism. Over 100 directors attended, some were professional directors on five-plus U.S. and international boards, and the group even included a retired CEO who has served on more than 20 boards. Also in attendance were C-suite professionals who work on behalf of their boards, and in some cases also serve as independent directors on other boards. I found it refreshing to see so many general counsels in the room, which was likely a function of the pervasive theme around risk management overall.