Skip to content »

History and Accomplishments

Alumna Christine Spadafor speaks during a 2013 Alumnae Conference panel

Founded in 2007 as a project of the American Bar Association, DirectWomen maintains its 501(c)(3) status through the Tides Center, an umbrella organization for non-profits. Catalyst and the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession continue to be important strategic partners for DirectWomen. With the assistance of Catalyst, DirectWomen’s network has grown to include over 150 Board Institute alumnae, 35 Sandra Day O’Connor Board Excellence Award honorees, and a vibrant group of volunteers, including CEOs, directors of large public companies, executive search firm principals and other leaders of the business community.


Twenty-two percent (22%) of the alumnae of our first seven Board Institutes serve on at least one large corporate board. DirectWomen alumnae who currently serve on large corporate boards include:


Success Stories

Ann Harlan

Ann joined the board of the Gorman-Rupp Company in 2009. Learn more

Deborah Golden

Deborah Golden joined the board of Midland States Bancorp, Inc. in 2015. Learn more

Kimberly Ellwanger

Kimberly joined the board of Heritage Financial Corporation and Heritage Bank in 2006. Learn more