June 2014

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24 BRAVA MAGAZINE | JUNE 2014 THRIVE DELVE IN ŀˬTmS GOOD FOR ˬNY ECONOMY ˬND Madison deserves a piece of that, busi- ness leaders say. Eddy—who remembers when she was the only woman on any number of the boards on which she served—says things are changing. More women are rising to the executive level in a variety of businesses and industries. But women, who often shy away from self-promotion, often are overlooked by board recruiters, who rely on traditional word-of-mouth networking. "One of the things I've observed with women is that they're not eager to nomi- nate themselves for a leadership position and to move up, but I think that's how you demonstrate to people that you have those leadership skills," says Kristine Euclide, vice president and general coun- sel of Madison Gas and Electric. She also SERVESONTHEBOˬRDOFTHENONPROǠT814 Insurance. ŀEREˬREOTHERCHˬLLENGESTOGETTING women a seat at the table. Mike Victor- son, president and CEO of M3 Insur- ance—which has three women on its ǠVEMEMBEROUTSIDEBOˬRDOFDIRECTORSr says much of the change has to start in the boardroom. Shareholders typically require that board members own com- panies or serve as a CEO or president, he says. And that pool is smaller. Catalyst reports that women hold 4.7 percent of CEO positions in Fortune 1000 compa- nies. (Pat Kampling of Alliant Energy is among them.) "I think businesses are going to have to wrestle with this requirement," Victor- son says. "Are we willing to invite people A WOMAN'S PLACE …IS ON CORPORATE BOARDS. HERE'S HOW— AND WHY—TO GET THERE. BY MARNI MCENTEE ENVISION A TYPICAL corporate board meeting. You probably see a polished conference table around which a handful of older, white men stoke the engines of economies large and small. Maybe throw in a cigar or two. And, perhaps, a token woman. And that would be pretty accurate. A stubborn gender gap remains at the top of the private sector, where the per- centage of women on U.S. corporate boards has been stuck at around 11 to 12 percent over the last decade. Why does it matter? ŀˬT QUESTION IRKS BUSINESSWOMˬN Jan Eddy, a Madison entrepreneur who serves on the First Business Financial Services and Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital boards, among others. "It matters because statistics have prov- ENcTHˬT COMPˬNY PERFORMˬNCE ǠNˬN- cially and even in merger and acquisition decisions, improves when there is a criti- cal mass—or about one-third—of women on boards of directors," Eddy says. "It's just good business sense, because you get better business performance, you're rep- resenting the same constituency as your shareholders and/or your customers. So why wouldn't you?" Indeed, a 2011 study by the American NONPROǠT $ˬTˬLYST FOUND THˬT COMPˬ- nies with the most women board direc- tors outperformed those with the least in terms of returns on sales, invested capital and equity. A Credit Suisse study found that companies with more women board members outperformed male-only boards by 26 percent over six years.

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