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How to Create an Equal Gender Boardroom

By Josephine Victoria Yam, J.D., LLM.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) 2020 with its #EachForEqual campaign, I am discouraged to realize that not much has changed over the years. Progress on gender equality on boards has been painfully slow. It’s 2020 and yet women are not equal to men in board leadership. This despite the fact that the business case for equality for women on boards has long been made.

Numbers Speak For Themselves

Global nonprofit Catalyst reports that men still overwhelmingly dominate corporate boards. In 2018, it disclosed that women only held 24% of S&P 500 board seats and only 22.5% of Fortune 500 board seats.



Same with nonprofit boards. According to the Nonprofit Quarterly, women only comprise 43% of the board. That number drops down to 33% if the nonprofit has revenues of at least $25 million. The writing on the wall is clear. “The richer the organization, the less gender diversified its leadership”, it observed.

Why are we not moving fast enough on gender equality? The Canadian government’s Women on Board report offers some underlying reasons:
  • Predominantly male leadership networks that choose candidates like themselves
  • Inadequate information about availability of qualified women candidates
  • Lack of focus on presenting talented female candidates by executive search firms
  • Lack of an executive-level commitment to gender diversity
  • Women lack leadership networks which restrict their opportunities for senior decision-making roles, and
  • Women lack role models that inspire them to pursue high-level board positions.

Why Have More Women on Boards Anyway?

Some of you may be asking: Why should we have more women on boards anyway? And that’s a fair question.

Harvard Business Review answers this question pointedly:

“Experts believe that companies with women directors deal more effectively with risk. Not only do they better address the concerns of customers, employees, shareholders, and the local community, but also, they tend to focus on long-term priorities. Women directors are likely to be more in tune with women’s needs than men, which helps develop successful products and services.”

Call to Action: Let’s Build A Gender Equal Boardroom

The IWD 2020 celebration calls us to take urgent action through its #EachforEqual campaign. Action that will move the needle faster on gender equal boardrooms. Action that will support women who take on board roles in the corporate, government and nonprofit sectors.

Some examples of what each of us can do to achieve a gender equal boardroom include:
  • Regularly appoint women to boards
  • Measure and report on gender parity gaps
  • Keep gender on the agenda
  • Call it out when women are excluded
  • Monitor the gender pay gap
  • Call for diverse candidate shortlists, and
  • Embrace inclusive leadership

So let’s all be #EachforEqual as we each take action to create a gender equal boardroom. As the IWD 2020 Campaign so eloquently declared:

"Equality is not a women's issue, it's a business issue."

‹ Go Back

Kind Words from Our Partners

Shell

“I’m excited about this partnership with Skills4Good. In my experience, the most successful teams are built when diverse individuals with unique experiences choose to work together with a single purpose.”

Michael Crothers
President & Country Chair
Shell Canada

Equifax

“Our partnership with Skills4Good is a unique opportunity for us to develop our talented Equifax leaders while making a difference in the communities in which we live and work.”

Lisa Nelson
President
Equifax Canada

Global Impact

“Skills4Good has a unique model for improving corporate employee engagement and Global Impact is excited to be supporting their U.S. expansion.”

Scott Jackson
President & CEO
Global Impact

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“I’m excited about this partnership with Skills4Good. In my experience, the most successful teams are built when diverse individuals with unique experiences choose to work together with a single purpose.”
- - - Michael Crothers, President & Country Chair, Shell Canada

“Skills4Good was recommended to us and so we registered our nonprofit. I like working with them because the process was fast and easy. I highly recommend them to my nonprofit sector colleagues.”
- - - Danny Glenwright, Executive Director, Action Against Hunger Canada

“Our partnership with Skills4Good is a unique opportunity for us to develop our talented Equifax leaders while making a difference in the communities in which we live and work.”
- - - Lisa Nelson, President, Equifax Canada

"I give Skills4Good an excellent rating. Their team was incredibly helpful, responsive and encouraging. They didn't rush the match, ensuring I had explored a variety of options to choose the right nonprofit for me. I would highly recommend working with Skills4Good, and think it's such a great non-financial benefit a company can offer their high valued employees. I strongly recommend them to my colleagues at RBC."
- - - Jodi Wright, Senior Director, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

“Skills4Good’s service was excellent in matching our busy Board with interested candidates. They got the ball rolling, did what they said they were going to do, and provided a great candidate who accepted a position with our Board. I highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues.”
- - - Roland Osske, Board Chair, Immigrant Services Calgary

“The quality of the Board Matching Program services I received from Skills4Good was excellent. I liked their personalized service, their online videos and their prompt response times. I highly recommend them to my colleagues at Enbridge.”
- - - Laszlo Varsanyi, Vice President, Enbridge

"I rate Skills4Good's matching services as excellent. I liked how prompt their team responds to my inquiries. They are very easy to work with."
- - - Heather Evans, Managing Director, Community Living Ontario Foundation

“I appreciated that Skills4Good got to know me well. Their approach was very high touch and greatly helped with my selection of board opportunities. I give them an excellent rating!”
- - - Benjamin Winograd, Managing Director, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

“Skills4Good is an excellent resource to find qualified Board members. They were always professional and supportive. The process was effortless, timely and successful!”
- - - Gregory Caswell, Executive Director, Alberta Emerald Foundation

“Skills4Good’s board matching services were excellent. The program was effective and efficient. Josephine was extremely relatable and supportive throughout the entire process. I highly recommend Skills4Good to my LGM colleagues.”
- - - Eddie McWhirter, EVP-Finance, LGM Financial Services

“Skills4Good was very professional and efficient in matching us with great new board members! Their board matching services are excellent! I highly recommend them to my colleagues in the nonprofit sector.”
- - - Karen MacMillan, Executive Co-Director, Foothills Academy

“I give Skills4Good an excellent rating. They couldn't have made it easier for me to connect with a nonprofit. The online training was fit for purpose and the interviews/questionnaire were instrumental in finding a good fit. I am very happy with my match, which wouldn't have happened without their help. I highly recommend them to my colleagues at Shell.”
- - - Julia Stadnyk, Senior Legal Counsel, Shell Canada

“Skills4Good’s services were excellent. Their communication was outstanding - clear, kind, and very punctual. The process was thorough and laid out clearly, which certainly built trust in not only Skills4Good/B3, but in the candidate that was successfully matched with us. I really enjoyed working with them and am very excited that we're welcoming a new board member!”
- - - Joshua Dalledonne, Board President, Calgary Young People's Theatre Society

“I give Skills4Good’s services an excellent rating. I liked working with their team! They were very professional, warm and really cared that I ended up at a nonprofit that not only aligned with my passions, but that was also going to be a good fit with my personality. I highly recommend them to my colleagues at RBC.”
- - - Stephanie Breitman, Senior Credit Analyst, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

”We registered with Skills4Good to try a new recruitment method. The quality of their services was excellent. They had easy-to-use online tools and were very responsive with their feedback. I highly recommend them to my colleagues in the nonprofit sector.”
- - - Joy Parsons, CEO, Fair Haven Homes Society

“Skills4Good invested a lot of work to ensure a great match. I am grateful to Skills4Good for my board appointment. Given their excellent service, I highly recommend them to my Enbridge colleagues!”
- - - Tanya Mushynski, Vice President, Enbridge

“Skills4Good was intentional about understanding our board needs. They presented excellent candidates and we’re thrilled with the outcome!”
- - - Anne Marie Peirce, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Mississauga

”The absolute professionalism, dedication to personal development and the opportunity to learn directly from the Skills4Good team was excellent. It is evident that they’re respected and connected within the industry. I highly recommend them to my colleagues at Shell.”
- - - Jamie Beyore, Director Global Wholesale, Shell Canada

”We were in need of quality board members and were having a hard time connecting with the right individuals. The Skills4Good team was very professional. The candidate was well suited. Communication was easy and the process was efficient. I am very happy with their services. I highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues."
- - - Bill de Jong, Board Director, Janus Academy Society

"I give Skills4Good an excellent rating. Their program worked perfectly for me. I liked how organized and methodical the matching program was. I also liked their team's individual and personalized approach. I would recommend them to my colleagues at Equifax."
- - - Yosh Ubieda, Senior Finance Analyst, Equifax Canada

”We had been looking for some months to add new members to our Board of Directors. Skills4Good’s services were excellent. We liked working with them because of the quality of applicants we received. I highly recommend them to my colleagues in the nonprofit sector.”
- - - Samantha Fox, Board Chair, London Youth Advisory Council

“I rate Skills4Good’s services as excellent. Everyone was very responsive and helpful. The board volunteer opportunities identified were very much what I was looking for and the Leaders on Board online course was interesting. I highly recommend them to my colleagues at Shell.”
- - - Julianne Osberg, Senior Counsel, Shell Canada

“Skills4Good’s professionalism in finding someone for us was unbelievable and made my workload a lot easier as they did the legwork in finding someone. I give them an excellent rating and highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues.”
- - - Sarah Preston, Gateway Association

“I liked Skills4Good’s great, very user-friendly online portal interface and excellent nonprofit board governance training. They provided access to many nonprofits without the need to search for them myself. I would recommend them to my colleagues at Shell.”
- - - Alex Markos, Production Manager, Shell Canada

“Skills4Good is a professional organization to work with! Thanks so much for helping us find an amazing person to join our board! I highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues.”
- - - Kate Butler, Board Director, Hope 24/7

“I give Skills4Good an excellent rating! They invested a lot of time and effort to determine my interests and objectives to ensure a great match. They were very responsive to my feedback throughout the process. I would recommend them to my colleagues at Enbridge!”
- - - Tanya Mushynski, Vice-President, Enbridge 

“I liked Skills4Good’s personalized connections and excellent support they provided our nonprofit. I highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues. Their services were excellent.”
- - - Rebecca White, CEO, Engineers of Tomorrow

“Skills4Good has the nonprofit connections and methodology in place to first understand what resonated with me professionally and personally. They found the appropriate board contacts to facilitate my placement. I would recommend them to my colleagues at Shell.”
- - - Brody Mainville, Head of Retail, Shell Canada

“We contacted Skills4Good because of their impressive reputation. Their board matching services are excellent! I enjoyed communicating with their team. They made the board matching process very smooth. I have only positive feedback from my experience with Skills4Good!”
- - - Julie Wildgoose, Board Director, Centennial Infant and Child Centre

“Skills4Good’s level of service and professionalism is top-notch. I liked their very high touch service and online board training. They made sure I understood everything and were there for me every step of the way. They really match personal passion to nonprofit. I give them an excellent rating and highly recommend them to my colleagues at LGM.”
- - - Diana Ricketts, VP of Strategic Partnerships, LGM Financial Services

”The communications we received from Skills4Good was terrific. The candidate was a good match to our organization. I highly recommend them to my colleagues in the nonprofit sector.”
- - - Carlene Chrumka, Executive Director, Janus Academy Society

”The Skills4Good team was very knowledgeable about the working of Boards and areas that would not be known by the more general audience. I would recommend them to my colleagues at Enbridge.”
- - - Christine Neff, Vice President, Enbridge

“I give Skills4Good an excellent rating! Their matching process was spot on to connect applicants with the experience and interest to our nonprofit board. This is a great service to match volunteers with the right skill sets for boards. I highly recommend them to my nonprofit colleagues.”
- - - Pam Banks, Executive Director, RIC Centre

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