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Boston Globe: For women, this new pipeline could lead to the boardrooms

April 04, 2017

For women, this new pipeline could lead to the boardrooms

Ask senior women in the business world what they want, and many will say they want to serve on a corporate board.

But they can face barriers getting into the boardroom, which explains why women account for only about 20 percent of Fortune 500 board seats.

That’s where Deloitte and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce want to help.

The two organizations recently launched an initiative called New England Board Ready Women, designed to create a steady pipeline of potential female directors for public and private company boards.

The invitation-only program identifies high-performing senior executive women and puts them through a series of training sessions to prepare for a future placement.

Susan Esper, a partner at Deloitte and chair of the chamber’s Women’s Network Advisory Board, said the initiative aims to boost women’s confidence about going after board posts.

“A lot of times women don’t ask. You have to put yourself out there,” she said. “You have to use the network and ask.”

Deloitte and the chamber tapped their networks for names, and the first group of 18 participants includes Wendy Carruthers, a senior vice president at Boston ScientificDiane Green, chief operating officer of Havens & Co.Tricia Trebino, chief operations officer at Tufts Health PlanEllen Zucker, a partner at Burns & Levinson; and chief people officer Christina Luconi and chief marketing officer Carol Meyers, both of Rapid7.

The women attend workshops on topics such as the changing landscape of corporate governance, shareholder activism, and cybersecurity.

They are also coached on developing their personal brand.

Deloitte, which runs similar programs around the country, plans to work with the chamber on creating a second cohort of future female board members later this year.

So if you’re a senior female executive, ask about it.

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