GW School of Business and International Women’s Forum Launch On the Board

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On the Board promises to reshape the business landscape by building a pipeline of women prepared to serve on the boards of leading international companies. The goal of the program is to be recognized, by 2020, as a major international initiative for advancing women's executive committee and board leadership.

The George Washington University School of Business (GWSB), in partnership with the International Women’s Forum (IWF), is proud to launch On the Board, the first of its kind, globally focused, comprehensive training and placement program for the world’s top female executives.

The event will introduce to the world On the Board’s inaugural class of 15 fellows, a select group of women executives chosen on the basis of their leadership achievements and potential to serve as effective corporate directors.

Representing a powerful cohort of high-potential 21st-century leadership, On the Board formally announces this history-making program with an event and forum featuring a wide range of speakers and panelists from Fortune 500 corporate boards, global stock exchanges, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“As the leading global association of top women leaders in the world today, the International Women’s Forum is proud to join GWSB in delivering a program for women of top potential and experience from around the world to be further groomed for board service,” said Deedee Corradini, president of the IWF. “We consider this part of the unfinished business of the 21st century.”

During the course of the day, participants representing international finance, leading universities, and government entities will explore the reasons for the limited increase in the number of women serving on corporate boards, On the Board’s role in righting the gender imbalance, and why expanding the participation of women in corporate governance is not only better for business, but also better for society.

“Across the board, companies have made a great deal of progress in advancing women, but the road to the very top echelon of leadership, including board positions, is more difficult for them than it is for men,” said Julie Sweet, Accenture’s general counsel, secretary and chief compliance officer, who will address the inaugural class. “We need to continue to focus on adding diversity to corporate boards and on making it possible for women to get to the very top.”

Drawing from the expertise and deep knowledge available from this untapped pool of leading female executives, the launch event will present perspectives and experts from around the world. Top executives from global stock exchanges and the financial services industry will be on hand to make the business case for why women’s board leadership matters.

"On the Board will provide a strategic advantage to publicly traded companies. Women-owned businesses are the fastest growing and the most creative, and innovative among businesses. These women leaders understand the dynamics of business, managing recurring costs and bearing risks,” said Esther Silver-Parker, president of Silver Parker Group. “More importantly, they know how to manage relationships and engage in communities. Having women business owners on your board, I believe, adds value and voices that are new pathways to profitability and social responsibility."

“For the last 10 years, growth in the percentage of women on corporate boards has stalled,” said Doug Guthrie, dean of GWSB. “Today women hold roughly 16 percent of the Fortune 500 board seats, an increase of just three percent over the last decade. Taking those numbers into account, it immediately becomes clear why society needs programs like this. On the Board is a program whose time has come.”

About On the Board
On the Board is an elite fellowship program designed to prepare and place women leaders on corporate boards. Made possible through a generous gift from Linda Rabbitt, founder and CEO of rand* construction corporation, GW Trustee and IWF member, On the Board promises to reshape the business landscape by building a pipeline of women prepared to serve on the boards of leading international companies. Read more about the program:

About The IWF
The International Women’s Forum advances leadership across careers, cultures and continents by connecting the world’s most preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement. The IWF brings together an unprecedented global membership to exchange ideas, to learn and inspire, and to promote better leadership for a changing world. Founded in 1982 in the United States, the International Women’s Forum has grown across 5 continents into 26 nations. There are more than 5,000 women leaders participating in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. IWF provides one-of–a-kind programming designed by world leaders, for world leaders, both present and future. IWF provides a platform for leaders to meet among their peers in an environment where meaningful partnerships and friendships can grow and form. Visit:
About GWSB
GW’s School of Business is an international leader in education and research, which prides itself on training future leaders to be global problem solvers and socially responsible managers. The school leverages its prime location—in the heart of Washington—by attracting visiting scholars and leaders in the business community to work, teach and engage with students on campus. The depth and variety of its academic and professional programs, including five specialized master’s programs, provide rich opportunities for academic engagement and career development for students in the school’s core Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Business Administration and doctoral programs. Visit:


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