Placing female candidates on boards of public and private companies is Beth A. Stewart’s mission as CEO of Trewstar. The search firm addresses the inequity of board representation—only 16 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a woman director. Trewstar placed 14 women on corporate boards from January 2013 through March 2014, with more appointments expected in the coming year.
“I saw how difficult it was for a woman to become a director: there was a gap in the market for this service,” says Stewart, herself a 20-year veteran of Fortune 500 boards. When asked what women need to do to serve on a board, Stewart replies: “If they’re excellent at what they do, we will find them. Our network of liked-minded men and women is extensive.”
Trewstar has broken the mold on traditional board-member criteria, which often precludes many qualified women from board positions. Of the women they have placed, none were CEOs; all had expertise that exactly matched the client’s specifications: only three reported to a CEO, two had previous corporate board experience, one was known to someone on the board, two are rocket scientists, and one is a retired general.
(Published April 2014)
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