Don Beyer, U.S. Representative for Virginia's 8th District
David Chun, Founder and CEO of Equilar
Peter Grauer, Chairman of Bloomberg LP
Davida Herzl, CEO of Aclima
Edward Knight, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Nasdaq
Monica Kowal, Vice Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission
William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman of Estée Lauder Companies
James McIntire, Washington State Treasurer
Susan Ness, Conference Chair and Senior Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations
Brande Stellings, Vice President of Corporate Board Services of Catalyst
Tiger Tyagarajan, President and CEO of Genpact
James White, Former (retired) Chairman and CEO of Jamba Juice
September 7, 2016
Johns Hopkins SAIS and the Center for Transatlantic Relations held the SAIS Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom in Washington, DC with the theme based on a simple question: Do we need a national campaign for boardroom diversity? The day began with welcoming remarks by Dean Vali Nasr and Conference Chair Susan Ness, followed by a series of panel discussions.
David Chun of Equilar argued his case for a national campaign noting that research shows boards with members bringing different backgrounds and perspectives result in better work and a better product. Brande Stellings of Catalyst cited her firm's research showing that although the benefits of diversity have been well established for over a decade, there has been very little advancement in boardroom diversity over the same period. She supported the call for a national campaign to promote change in corporate leadership.
U.S. Representative Don Beyer shared remarks on legislation he introduced in Congress to improve boardroom diversity. Beyer said he believes strongly that economic empowerment of women is integral to realizing society’s full economic potential.
Bloomberg Chairman Peter Grauer gave insights from his experiences in corporate America, including his advocacy for and leadership of the US Chapter of the 30 Percent Club, which proposes that once there are 30 percent or more female directors on a company's board, it will see significantly better performance. Given the highly competitive climate in today’s business world and the so called “global war for talent,” Grauer said it is extremely important for leading companies to seek out the best people to maximize output and profits.
The conference continued with the perspectives and acumen of leaders in the initiative for women in the boardroom, including Davida Herzi of Aclima, Monica Kowall of the Ontario Securities Commission, William Lauder of Estee Lauder Companies, Tiger Tyagarajan of Genpact, and James White of Jamba Juice. Many common themes arose, including transparency, forward-looking goals, and the use of peer pressure to create change. Participants called for a more productive trajectory towards gender parity and ethnic and racial parity in the boardroom.
Panel 1: Do We Need a National Campaign for Boardroom Diversity?
U.S. Congressman Don Beyer
Corporate Keynote: Peter Grauer
Panel 2: Where Change Starts – the Role of Venture Capital in Influencing the Public Companies of Tomorrow
Panel 3: Advice From the Campaign Trail