2020 Women on Boards

Those In The Know

 
Speak Out, Margaret!
 
Those in the know, namely some pretty big institutional investors, have called the addition of Margaret Hayne to Urban Outfitter’s board “cynical” “bogus” and a “calculated insult" to investors who have supported shareholder resolutions against Urban's all male board.
 
Ms. Hayne, the wife of Urban's CEO Richard Hayne, is president of the company's Free People brand and is Urban Outfitter's second largest shareholder, outside of her husband. A smart businesswoman she's qualified to serve on lots of boards, but not on this one, shareholder activists say.
 
And while there's reason to believe that Mr. Hayne put his wife on the board to silence his critics, maybe he's provided us with an opportunity.
 
When Mark Zuckerberg put Sheryl Sandberg on Facebook's board he got a lot of flack because Sheryl was an insider. But soon after Sandberg's appointment, Facebook added a second woman, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, a Chancellor of the University of California and former president at Genintech.  In our lingo, Facebook became a "W" Company.
 
So, we're reaching out to Margaret Hayne and asking her to speak out; to tell her husband and his cronies that her appointment marks a change; the buck doesn't stop here. The board needs another woman, and maybe a person of color to be more representative of Urban's stakeholders. Ms. Hayne has an opportunity to mend some fences. We hope she's up to the task.

Think Big

When we had the idea to commemorate 12/12/12 with a national conversation on board diversity there was only one thing to do, jump in with both feet. Our 1 1/2 year old campaign was doing well, but it was hardly the national phenomenon we know it will become. Our outreach strategy, forming 2020 Chapters in cities across the US, had not yet been realized. How to pull off a national event without budget or infrastructure? Think big.
 
We had organized the first 2020 Chapter in New Orleans early in the campaign. In 2012 we added two chapters, in Boston and New York. Each chapter, made up of volunteers committed to the 2020 mission, was charged with organizing an event. But three events could hardly be described as a national effort. In the end New Orleans held one, Boston held two and New York, the city that never sleeps, held four. Then there were seven.
 
We talked to everyone we knew: 2020 sponsors, affiliates, our board of leaders, colleges and universities and colleagues in like-minded organizations. We worked with Women on Line to help with our social media strategy and with YPO/WIN's event consultant, Kelly Kelly to help us with outreach. Breanna Bakke our Assistant Director became a whiz at EventBrite. Our friends at ION, Catalyst, the 30% Coalition and 85 Broads helped.
 
In July we had 15 events on the calendar. By the September there were 20. We signed on our 27th event last week, at the Leeds School of Business, University of Boulder. And on 12/12/12 we learned that Dassault Systemes, in Waltham, MA was holding an event for their women employees. Now there were 28.
 

Change Is In The Air!

When Facebook filed for an IPO in February without a single woman on its board 2020 Women on Boards took action. Within hours we issued a press release on the wires and engaged thousands on our social media channels. We were interviewed by many publications including the Wall Street Journal. We consulted with the Face It Campaign as they strategized a Facebook Black Out and march in front of the company's New York headquarters. Facebook got the message and put Sheryl Sandberg on the board. Let's see an independent woman director next.
 
We have seen other progress. According to NACD in the last three weeks 6 women have been appointed to the boards of public companies. Four companies left the Z ranks: ConocoPhillips, eHealth, UnderArmour and MBIA, each appointing one woman director. Qualcomm and Game Stock each added a woman to their boards to become W companies.
 
Together we can make it happen!

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