WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION FOR SUPPORTING GENDER DIVERSITY ON YOUR BOARD?
Diversity is important but not the goal. The goal is to have a very good board, with diverse backgrounds, gender, experience and contributing attributes.
Diversity on the board is a great step for any company, particularly if you can have people who know the business environment, who are more sensitive or better informed of the political landscape and the climate. It makes a lot of difference, instead of having just professional people, who keep you in line. So I’m all for it.
WHAT DIFFERENCE SPECIFICALLY DOES IT MAKE?
It gives you an opportunity to have more views [other than your own] when assessing the political landscape and the economic climate: looking at the trends a bit further out, and so forth. Those qualities are extremely valuable for a board. But I think if you are going to recruit a female member to the board, it’s not really because of her gender – it’s because of who she is and what she could contribute to the board.
So, to me, proficiency and suitability are far more important than gender. It could be the other way. As far as I’m concerned, it could be all women on a board, if they are more suitable than other people. So, I wouldn’t say I’m gender-blind, but I would say I am not one of those who are very sticky about having so many men and having so many women, and so forth. The number one priority is to have the right skills. Gender is important, but still second priority.
WHAT’S YOUR STRATEGY FOR FINDING CANDIDATES TO BUILD YOUR BOARD?
We rely a great deal on our own network and recommendations. We rely to some extent on search companies, but I’m all for knowing the board member rather than recruiting one through a search firm just for the sake of filling the post.