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"She’ll raise her hand and say, ‘Be sensitive to this,’ " Bonham said. "She’ll say, ‘There’s a constituency you need to pay attention to.’ I don’t think of her so much a feminist as a good director."
And some research concludes that kind of input helps a company’s bottom line. A report by Credit Suisse Research Institute showed that over a six-year period, companies with at least one woman on their board saw a boost in their share prices.
How can women prepare for board service? » UVU management professor Madsen says educating companies that there are competent women willing and ready to serve is the first step to boosting female representation as company directors.
"You’ve got to make people aware," she said.
Feeling confident in a core area of expertise and networking in professional organizations can open doors, adds Beckerle with the Huntsman Cancer Institute. And Overstock’s Simon says women can’t just wait for the invitation; they need to let people know they’re interested and ready for board service.
"It’s somewhat up to them, too," Simon said.
However they do it, companies need to realize that women are a key component to their business’s success, says SLCC provost Gunn.
"Without the added element of diversity at policymaking decision points, it will be very difficult for a company to adapt and compete in today’s global environment," Gunn said.
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