Who are we?
The Women on Boards Network is an initiative aimed at promoting and encouraging women into Board leadership. The Network provides a platform that will bring together women from diverse fields and ranks; facilitate those already sitting on Boards to effectively carry out their roles and responsibilities, and up skill and prepare for the boardroom those women who are already in senior leadership roles, but are not yet sitting on any boards.
The initiative will therefore bring together women currently serving on Boards, those newly appointed and those aspiring to take up Board positions. This way, we will have provided a networking platform for the women to share experiences, mentor aspiring women and to support each other to effectively perform their roles as Board members.
One of the reasons identified as resulting in the low number of women on Boards is lack of role models. We are therefore taking up this role, to mentor women through other women.
What we do?
Women on Boards Network is all about ensuring that the next generation of board members is more diverse and better balanced from a gender perspective. We aim at putting the talents of women to work to improve the effectiveness of corporate boards now and in the future.
Boards without female members have traditionally argued there is a shortage of qualified senior women to fill director positions when they come up. Our mission therefore is to provide women with tools to equip them with necessary skills and competencies so as to be effective board members; as well as prepare the next generation to take up Board positions.
Why we do it?
This is in recognition that the number of women sitting on Boards is still very low, not just in Kenya but across the world. The initiative therefore aims at encouraging and accelerating diversity on Boards by ensuring that there is a pool of Board ready women, and that those women already sitting on boards have an avenue for networking and sharing experiences with a view to becoming better directors.
We also appreciate the fact that Continuous improvement is a fundamental ingredient for success in any business, and that applies to Board rooms as well. For any board to take its own continuous improvement seriously it must embrace the need to constantly increase the depth and breadth of perspective among its members. This can only be achieved with a commitment to increase in diversity
Who are we targeting?
The Network aims at inspiring and nurturing skills in women mostly in the following categories
- Women at the management level whose next natural step is to be a Board Member – Mentoring and training.
- Women currently serving as Board Members – Development and sharpening of their skills as well as help them better appreciate Corporate Governance, to mentor the next generation women leaders.
- Women newly appointed as Board Members – Training and preparing them for the task ahead, and for them to understand and appreciate their personal attributes and biases, which may hinder them from becoming effective Board members.
- Women whose terms on boards have expired – To keep abreast with developments in Corporate Governance so as to remain Board ready, to mentor and encourage the next generation of corporate women leaders
How will we deliver?
This will be achieved through training, mentoring, coaching, advising and providing a networking platform for the women. Once women go through our program, they will stand to gain from appointments in Government, Public and Private sector in their respective fields of expertise.
“……… companies that have women on their boards do better. I am a strong believer that diversity enhances boards, but all-too-often we hear the complaint that qualified women are difficult to find. We know that that isn’t so, but sometimes women who are fully qualified do not know of their real strengths, nor do they succeed in projecting their aptitudes. Mentoring can often be of help. It can build up confidence in candidates, it can teach them about corporate boards, and it can set them on a course for success.”
Donna Soble Kaufman
Chair, Institute of Corporate Directors UK