Archive for September, 2008

Voting Should Be About Issues, Not Gender

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

I don’t think of my blog as a place to discuss politics, but I have been amazed at how many people have assumed that women will vote for Sarah Palin, not on her merit, but because she is a woman. I am obviously in favor of encouraging and helping women to achieve their full potential, including breaking the ultimate glass ceiling. Whether it is in business or the political arena, they should be qualified for the job. I don’t think promoting a woman, just because she is a woman, is either a good business decision or helps women.

     Likewise, when voting for a political candidate, how their views on the issues align with yours should be paramount. I plan to vote for the team that I believe will move the country in the right direction over the next four years. I’ll cast my ballot for the one I hope will provide a safer, better America for my children and grandchildren.

     Of course like many others, I would love to see a woman in the White House. But I won’t be voting for or against Sarah Palin on the fact she is a woman, just as I won’t be voting for or against Obama because he is African American. I hope everyone reading this blog exercises their privilege to vote, and votes for the team that they feel is best for America based on whatever criteria they deem most important, which shouldn’t be gender or race. 

 

 

 

 

NFL Games, Fantasy Football and Women

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Now that football season is in full swing, what will women do on Sundays, Monday nights and Thursday nights while their husbands watch football? Millions of women will be watching as well, not just as a couple’s bonding experience, but as faithful fans themselves. Many have been football enthusiasts for years. Others have taken advantage of Football 101 classes offered by NFL teams and now are loyal followers. Recently, I discovered a new dimension of the game.

I read an article on women who had formed a Girls Fantasy Football League. Now this intrigued me. 

According to a 2006 poll by the Fantasy Sports  Trade Association, there are nearly 1 million female fantasy players. While female participation in the game is growing, the report states that men still make up 92 percent of fantasy team owners.

The article featured the Incline Village’s all-female Fantasy Football League. This is the sixth year for this league. In case you don’t know how Fantasy Football works, which I didn’t, there is a league, team owners and a draft of real NFL players. It costs to buy a team to be in the league. They keep score according to actual game performance of their drafted team members. For instance, if Terrell Owens gets two touchdowns in a game, that team is credited with 14 points. These women are dedicated football fans and can quote stats about players better than your average population, male or female.

Two devoted players, Darolyn Skelton and Shelley Robins, were instrumental in the formation of the league and have started www.girlsfantasyfootball.com.

The web site is complete with how to start a league and play, up-to-the-minute stats, merchandise and much more. Skelton and Robins are optimistic that their web site will interest more women in playing. So if you have always dreamed of starting a Fantasy Football League for women, now you know where to go to learn how!

Winning the Gold–Business Lessons from Athletes

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed watching the grace and incredible skill of Natsia Luikin and Shawn Johnson as they captured gold and silver medals. Darra Torres, the 41-year old swimmer, was an inspiration to us all. Michael Phelps’s unprecedented eight gold medals and the number of world records he broke were extraordinary feats.

Everyone watching realized that winning the gold in Bejing signified years of dedication, discipline and the fulfillment of lifelong dreams. While individual determination and skills were necessary to win some medals, others depended on team efforts. This is also true in business. While we are responsible for our own actions, no one can make it to the top by working by themselves. We need mentors, coaches and colleagues to be there for us, to teach us and to inspire us to greatness.

 

In each of our business lives, we make choices about how we reach for our gold, our dreams. We learn lessons about patience and perseverance as we realize that being a winner, getting the gold, takes time and effort. Like athletes, we need the support of coaches, family and friends. We must work hard and expand our talents. Having a “can-do” attitude and confidence in our abilities and what we can accomplish is paramount to success. Winning athletes aren’t afraid to stretch, to try new things, to risk and to fail. We must not be afraid either. Winning the gold in is about much more than the moment of victory. It is the history that got us there that is important.

Women on Corporate Boards

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Women are poorly represented on corporate boards, even though research indicates that Fortune 500 firms with more female board members outperform those with fewer women in a number of important categories. Women comprise less than 15 percent of board positions of large, publically-traded companies, although they comprise more than half of all US managerial positions.

 

In a release from Simmons School of Management in Boston, on March 31, 2008, organizations who want more women board members need to change their traditional search procedures and women who aspire to board membership need to develop a solid plan to get there.

 

Many organizations, including OnBoard Bootcamp, Boardroom Bound and a program offered by The University of Texas at Dallas offer training and contacts to women interested in pursuing a board position and who are willing to devote the time and money needed to get there.  These packed-full sessions coach women interested in board membership on everything from creating a search strategy to financial issues to understanding corporate governance.

 

Candidates should research various training programs to make sure they offer practical advices as well as policy and procedure information. They should find out what percentage of their graduates is invited to serve on corporate boards. They also need to research corporations they are interested in; find out if they have director insurance, what their values and philosophies are and numerous other items as part of their readiness program. Additionally, there are books, search firms, organizations and other avenues available to women.

 

In addition to a resume with the right skills and experiences, potential board members usually have nonprofit, trade associations and advisory board experience, which is much easy to obtain. They also need to be visible leaders in their community and industry. Most women need to realize that they will probably be asked to serve on moderate size company boards prior to a Fortune 500 corporation invitation.

 

According to Catalyst, from 1995 to 2005, the average rate of increase in women’s representation on Fortune 500 corporate boards was, on average, one-half of one percentage point per year. At that rate of growth, it could take another 70 years for women to reach parity with men. This is definitely an evolving issue and won’t be solved overnight.

Women are poorly represented on corporate boards, even though research indicates that Fortune 500 firms with more female board members outperform those with fewer women in a number of important categories. Women comprise less than 15 percent of board positions of large, publically-traded companies, although they comprise more than half of all US managerial positions.

 

In a release from Simmons School of Management in Boston, on March 31, 2008, organizations who want more women board members need to change their traditional search procedures and women who aspire to board membership need to develop a solid plan to get there.

 

Many organizations, including OnBoard Bootcamp, Boardroom Bound and a program offered by The University of Texas at Dallas offer training and contacts to women interested in pursuing a board position and who are willing to devote the time and money needed to get there.  These packed-full sessions coach women interested in board membership on everything from creating a search strategy to financial issues to understanding corporate governance.

Candidates should research various training programs to make sure they offer practical advices as well as policy and procedure information. They should find out what percentage of their graduates is invited to serve on corporate boards. They also need to research corporations they are interested in; find out if they have director insurance, what their values and philosophies are and numerous other items as part of their readiness program. Additionally, there are books, search firms, organizations and other avenues available to women.

 

In addition to a resume with the right skills and experiences, potential board members usually have nonprofit, trade associations and advisory board experience, which is much easy to obtain. They also need to be visible leaders in their community and industry. Most women need to realize that they will probably be asked to serve on moderate size company boards prior to a Fortune 500 corporation invitation.

 

According to Catalyst, from 1995 to 2005, the average rate of increase in women’s representation on Fortune 500 corporate boards was, on average, one-half of one percentage point per year. At that rate of growth, it could take another 70 years for women to reach parity with men. This is definitely an evolving issue and won’t be solved overnight.