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Mission and Vision

What is DirectWomen?

The mission of DirectWomen is to increase the representation of women on corporate boards. DirectWomen identifies leading women lawyers from around the country who are able to provide the experience, independence, business judgment and diversity required for board effectiveness and good corporate governance. It serves as a resource for companies seeking qualified women-attorney board candidates who will improve corporate governance and increase shareholder value.

Why Women on Boards?

Research by Catalyst and many other organizations, including McKinsey and Credit Suisse, shows that companies with the most women board members, especially those with three or more women board members, financially outperform, on average, those with the fewest women board members. Other research shows a positive correlation between gender-diverse teams and problem-solving, group performance and innovation. It is therefore clear that, as a matter of corporate governance, gender-diverse boards are good for business performance. There is also a correlation between higher percentages of female directors and increased gender diversity throughout the corporation. A recent empirical study also confirms that inclusion of a lawyer-director on a corporate board contributes to increased firm value and a better informed perspective on litigation and regulation risks. To learn about the DirectWomen Board Institute, click here

Why is DirectWomen Needed?

The percentage of women on S&P 500 boards is less than 20%. On the boards of all publicly traded companies, women only hold 12% of board seats. And in all sectors, 36% of boards have no women at all. Most board appointments are based on recommendations from existing board members or the CEO, who are usually men. They frequently consider other men in their social circle/peer group for board service and women are often overlooked as candidates. That’s why we need an organization that focuses on identifying qualified women board candidates and providing them with a platform for getting their names and qualifications out. DirectWomen is that organization.

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