Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Empowering Women

On 6.6.2012, WEST organized an Executive Women’s Dinner. This was the third one WEST has had this year and the theme was “The Economic Impact of Women on Boards”. Catalyst, a research company, has made various studies that show that companies with 3 or more women on their board have a return on sales of 85% compared with 24% of companies with no women on their board. So WEST held this particular event to congratulate companies in Massachusetts with 20% women on their boards for their economic foresight.

The dinner was organized as a panel discussion and it was held at Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Our panelists included Steve Grossman (Massachusetts State Treasurer), Stephanie Sonnabend (CEO of Sonesta Hotels), Linda Whitlock (Lead Director of Cambridge Trust Fund), Patricia Flynn (Trustee Professor of Economics and Management at Bentley University), and Kim Zeoli (Senior Partner at Deloitte) who was moderating the discussion. Some of the companies that sponsored tables at the event and that did have over 20% women on boards include Hologic, Cubist, and Cambridge Trust among others.

I thought all four panelists were great speakers and they all agreed that women need to promote themselves more. Stephanie Sonnabend actually started a campaign to have 20% of women on boards by the year 2020. See more details here.

Few Pictures from the event:

For more pictures, go to: http://keithspirophoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-slideshow/G0000r5W7jfzNPBI/?start=

Working at WEST continues to give me insight on the reality of the gender gap in the US. It is surprising that we have to congratulate companies with 20% women on their boards. This speaks volumes on how small the number of women on corporate boards actually is. In various countries around the world for instance, in Sweden, it is the law that 50% of women are represented in the parliament. I can’t think of a reason why such a law would be enacted unless it was beneficial to all stakeholders.

Feel free to share your thoughts on my post.