On May 6th, we had the kick-off of Yale School of Management Women on Boards program. This is the second class of this program and I am proud to be accompanied by a galaxy of female talent.
The program started with a very informative and entertaining class from Jeff Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean of Yale School of Management and founder of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute. His reach is impressive, as was demonstrated by the fact that he surprised us with the participation via phone of Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, and a good example of what should be a CEO’s involvement in corporate governance matters.
His presentation was followed by other wonderful sessions with stellar Yale professors. In the afternoon we had an excellent Corporate Board Panel, with four female Board members (Martha Clark Goss, Leslie Campbell, Kathleen Corbet and Faye Wattleton; see picture), who shared with us each of their journeys getting their first board appointment, as well as useful recommendations to excel expectations once you are at the Board.
Important takeaways from this day’s sessions were:
- Getting a seat in the board is a process and it does not end once you get the invitation to join
- Good judgment and an integrated knowledge at a big spectrum are key; it is not enough to know how to interpret financial statements
- Do not hesitate to go on a board of a company with problems; it is tempting to get on that board and help fix them
- Critical female mass is not there yet, so most likely we will be the only ones in the table, similar to what happens in the executive world.