Mentoring to Improve Boardroom Diversity [Human Resources] Friday 06/03/05 10:28 AM |
In the UK, women are a minority in the boardrooms of the largest companies. According to a recent report, there are only 110 female board members in the companies that make up the FTSE 100 index.
A new program aimed at helping top executives cross the hurdle from corporate executive to the boardroom is a cross-company mentoring program. How it works: 20 chairmen from FTSE 100 companies will mentor senior executives from other companies.
The motivation for the program came from a recent meeting of 20 FTSE chairmen. They found that board members all knew each other well because they belonged to the same clubs and networking groups. This makes it hard for outsiders to break into the network. Another finding was that they all wanted more female representation in their boards but had trouble identifying candidates with the right experience.
The external mentoring program will help the top executive mentees by providing an independent view of her professional career choices. It will also provide insight into the role of a director. According to one mentee, she is confident on her ability to handle internal corporate issues, but she has no experience dealing with shareholders and Annual General Meetings (or AGM, annual shareholder meeting), so learning firsthand how these work provides a valuable opportunity.
The chairmen mentors also benefit. Issues faced by their mentees alert them to potential problems in their own organization. It also provides insight into the workings of other organizations.
An internal mentor has the benefit of inside knowledge of the workings of the organization. An external program may provide more independence and impartiality which may lead to a more open mentoring relationship.