Press Mentions

  • Building a Career on the Foundations of the Information Revolution

    Wharton School of Business August 4, 2016

    While at Frontier, Wilderotter again broke glass ceilings. When she joined the company she was the only woman among the top 200 senior leaders. Today, she says, 40% of Frontier’s top leaders are diverse.
    She also worked to achieve diversity on the board, in the process replacing 10 of the 12 independent members in her first 18 months as CEO. “It was one of the best decisions that I made,” she said, noting that the new board had “five women, three African-Americans, and five men, all of diverse backgrounds and capabilities, and all passionate about helping me succeed with the company.”
    Wilderotter herself sits on several boards today, including those of DreamWorks Animation, Hewlett-Packard, Costco, Juno Therapeutics, Chobani Yogurt, and Cakebread Cellars Winery. She said she has served on 28 public company boards and several private ones during her career. Wilderotter has also placed several women on boards and receives many requests. Female representation remains a challenge: the 2020 Women on Boards Gender Diversity Index of Fortune 1000 companies reported that in 2015, only 17.9% of corporate directors were women.

  • Think There's a Shortage of Qualified Women for Boards? You're Wrong

    CNET Magazine July 14, 2016

    One reason Singh Cassidy believes that companies with more diversity on their boards perform better is because they have higher odds of representing more viewpoints.
    Women "offer a perspective...that may be missing entirely," Singh Cassidy said.
    Data collected by TheBoardList also highlights reasons why many women don't make it onto boards. Fifty-nine percent of CEOs surveyed said they got board referrals from investor networks and 39 percent said they used their own networks. The problem with that, Singh Cassidy said, is those networks tend to be homogeneous.
    TheBoardList isn't the only organization seeking the advancement of women on boards. The Women Corporate Directors Foundation is a global community group, and 2020 Women on Boards aims to raise awareness about the issue.
    Getting women onto boards is one piece of the bigger issue of diversity in tech at a time when numbers reflect low percentages of diversity in computer science programs, in technical roles and in leadership positions.
    Finding board members is a "process that requires not just availability of candidates," Singh Cassidy said. "I think there's room for optimization of that entire process."

  • DaVita Adds Female Director, Part of Work to Have “Majority Diverse” Board

    The Denver Post July 13, 2016

    Denver-based DaVita HealthCare Partners grew its board to 11 members and continued on its path to “majority diverse” with the addition of Bain & Company advisory partner Phyllis Yale.
    The board of the Fortune 200 company approved Yale on Wednesday. It now has three women, a Latino man and a black man.
    During a Women’s Foundation of Colorado event in October, DaVita chairman and CEO Kent Thiry said the company had set a goal to make its board of directors majority minority within 24 months.
    “We hope to be a role model for other companies,” Thiry said Wednesday.  “If we can do it, other companies can too.”
    Only 42 percent of Fortune 1000 companies had boards that were 20 percent or more women, according to 2020 Women on Boards.

  • HSN’s Board Move Gives the Company a Very Rare Distinction

    Tampa Bay Business Journal July 8, 2016

    HSN Inc. has named a retail veteran to its board of directors, and in the process has moved into an elite group of businesses nationwide.
    The appointment of Fiona Dias, principal digital partner at Ryan Retail Consulting, increases the size of the HSN (NASDAQ: HSNI) board to 10 members. Five of the board members are women.
    Only 13 other firms in the United States have boards composed of 50 percent or more women, according to 2020 Women on Boards, a national campaign.
    Diversity is good for a company’s bottom line, the organization contends.

  • CHARLOTTE: Leading the Push for More Women on Corporate Boards

    BizWomen June 20, 2016

    CHARLOTTE — Jennifer Winstel is hoping to educate people in North Carolina about the need for more diversity on corporate boards.
    Winstel leads 2020 Women on Boards’ efforts in Charlotte. The national organization aims to increase the percentage of women on corporate boards to 20% or greater by 2020.
    Winstel, a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch, reached out to 2020 Women on Boards founder Malli Gero about a year ago to learn how she could get involved with the organization. The timing was in Winstel’s favor — Gero was looking for a way to enter the Charlotte market.

  • Research: Women-led Firms Have more Female Board Members

    Business Record June 20, 2016

    Women in positions of power have a lot less trouble than men at finding other female executives for key roles, according to an analysis of 1,000 U.S. corporate boardrooms. When women hold key leadership posts like chief executive officer or board chairwoman, companies have women in more than 27 percent of director seats, compared with less than 18 percent when men are in charge, according to a study released by the advocacy group 2020 Women on Boards. The group wants women to hold at least 20 percent of all board seats at U.S. companies by 2020, up from 17.9 percent now. Almost 90 percent of businesses led by women already meet that goal. Read more about the study at

  • Editorial: Women on Boards Make a Difference

    The Daily Astorian June 16, 2016

    Having a better representation of women isn’t a panacea that alleviates every kind of corporate high jinx. Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times researched a piece demonstrating that more women on corporate boards has not reined in excessive CEO pay.
    How do Oregon’s biggest companies stack up? In a useful new report (, the group 2020Women on Boards — which strives for 20 percent female representation on company boards by 2020 — looked at the state’s nine biggest companies and found most already exceed the 20 percent threshold.
    Portland-based financial services company StanCorp Financial Group, Inc., approaches parity, with five of its 11 board members being women. Precision Castparts Corp. is in last place, with only one woman on its 11-member board. NIKE is at 20 percent, with three out 15; Columbia Sportswear is at 27 percent, with 3 of 11 board members being women. California-based Intel, which is the state’s largest employer, is at 18 percent, with 2 out of 11.

  • OPINION: The Food Service Industry’s Disconcerting Glass Ceiling

    The Chronicle Herald June 15, 2016

    Gender equality and diversity on boards and management is the right thing to do and makes strategic sense. Proper governance in food is about understanding markets and contemplating interesting opportunities for the future. Appropriate market representation in the upper decision-making ethos of an organization is key.
    A Boston-based group suggested recently that woman-led company stocks within the Fortune 1000 are likely to outperform others. The way women assess market gaps and manage risks is complementary to men.
    Generational differences will eventually help women. Most men under 50 do not adhere to the mindset of older peers. Gender equality is expected and should be proactively sought. The gender-balanced Trudeau cabinet was no surprise for younger men, who saw it as normal.

  • Another Study Shows Little Progress Getting Women on Boards

    The Wall Street Journal June 14, 2016

    Some companies truly are committed to diversifying their directors, but others just “give it a good lip service,” she added.
    The state of women in corporate management isn’t much better than in the boardroom. Catalyst found that women held 4.2% of CEO jobs last year and represented just more than a quarter of executives and senior managers, barely up from a year earlier.
    Having a female CEO usually means more women directors, too. A recent report from advocacy group 2020 Women on Boards analyzing 2015 Fortune 1000 companies found that 88% of companies with a female CEO have boards with at least 20% women directors. Some 42% of the total pool of firms in that analysis have reached that level of representation.

  • Why Corporate Boards Need More Women

    Crosscut June 9, 2016

    Seattle has a long way to go when it comes to gender diversity on corporate boards. With just 15 percent of local corporate board directors being women, the city lags the national average of 17.9 percent, according to data from nonprofit 2020 Women on Boards.
    The low numbers are particularly surprising given our region’s affinity for fast-growth tech companies. There’s ample evidence to show how valuable having more diversity – racial and gender – can be to innovation and growth. A Credit Suisse report reveals that small and mid-size companies with at least one female board member report an average 17 percent better stock price performance than comparable ones without women. At larger companies, this number goes up to 26 percent.
    And it’s not just one woman. Catalyst research shows that having three or more women directors yields significantly higher returns for a company.

  • Board Gender Diversity? Hedge Fund Activists Fail Miserably But Women-Led Businesses Fare Better

    JDSupra Business Advisor June 9, 2016

    Similarly, the 2016 Global Board of Directors Survey of more than 4,000 directors of both public and large, privately held companies from 60 countries conducted by Spencer Stuart, the WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) Foundation and several academics also found that women attributed the reasons for the consistently low numbers of women on boards to different causes than did men. For example, 69% of female directors in the 55-to-60 age group attributed the low numbers to the failure to rank diversity as a top priority in board recruiting, while only 19% of men in that age group identified that as the main reason. In that same age cohort, 39% of male directors said the “lack of qualified female candidates” was the primary reason for the low numbers of female directors, while only 8% of female directors cited that as the main reason. However, there may be a generational shift in attitudes: in the over-65 cohort, only 15% of men attributed the low numbers of female directors primarily to the domination by men of traditional networks, while 43% of women directors in that group identified that as the primary reason. 
    By comparison, 29% of younger male directors (age 55 and under) said that the main reason was that traditional networks tend to be male-dominated, and 40% of women directors in that same cohort agreed.  One of the study authors commented that “‘[i]t’s often hard to see an informal ‘network’ if you are in the middle of it, but you can see it very clearly when you’re on the outside.’” (See this PubCo post.) But having women as part of a network helps. The founder of the 2020 advocacy group observed that “‘[w]hen you have a woman on the board, they are going to be able to help find more women.’”
    The goal of the advocacy group is to ensure that women hold at least 20% of all board seats at U.S. companies by 2020.  Currently, women hold 17.9% of those seats. The article reports that almost 90% of women-led businesses already meet that goal.  According to the article, “the advocacy group said it sees signs of progress. It runs a campaign about once a month to target a company without female directors, but it’s getting harder to find a scapegoat that would be recognized by the general public….[The founder said that there] ‘are very few companies that hold the position ‘no women, no way,’ ….It’s more that they really, honestly say that they don’t know where to find them, or they just don’t want to take the time, or the search is too expensive.’”

  • Women in Startups Face Long (But Improving) Odds

    Christian Science Monitor June 8, 2016

    As the numbers from Greentown Labs demonstrate, being the only woman in the room is a matter of routine in the startup world. Between 2011 and 2013, only 2.7 percent of US companies that received venture capital funding had a female chief executive officer, according to research completed in September 2014 by the Diana Project at Babson College. In 2016, only 5 percent of the companies on Fortune’s Unicorn List, which includes private companies worth $1 billion or more, have a female CEO, making them perhaps even more elusive than the mythical creatures themselves.
    But there are signs that women like Homeier are becoming a more common sight in entrepreneurial circles, and leaders at spaces like Greentown Labs are working to facilitate change.
    “The layer of where we are right now is awareness,” says Emily Reichert, Greentown Labs’ chief executive officer. In Massachusetts, she points out, women occupy just 12 percent of positions on company boards. Research from 2020 Women on Boards, an analysis and advocacy group, shows that women held 17.9 percent of board seats on companies included in the 2015 Fortune 1000.
    “We’ve not figured out [as a community] how to crack the code on the solving the problem. I think that there are a lot of different ways that we could be approaching that.”