In addition to the ethical argument for more diversity in the boardroom, it makes financial sense for companies to increase minority and women representation on their boards as demographics and buying power diversify in the US.
In 2018, 38.6% of Fortune 100 boards were represented by minorities and women -- up from 35.9% in 2016. Fortune 500 companies had 34% minorities and women in their boardrooms in 2018 -- up from 30.8% in 2016, according to a 2018 study by The Alliance for Board Diversity. While progress is being made, women and minorities are still underrepresented in boardrooms.
The scales tipped a little more today in favor of boardroom diversity. Glo Gordon, chief revenue officer for Uptake, a company specializing in industrial IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and predictive analytics, joined the board of directors for Matrixx Software this morning. Matrixx works with service providers on moving away from legacy business practices with its Digital Commerce Platform.
Gordon has over a decade of experience in the Internet of Things (IoT) space, and was previously chief revenue officer at Jasper, an IoT connectivity management software company. She also has a background in the business support systems/operations support systems (BSS/OSS) market, and was previously global vice president of BSS/OSS sales with Oracle.
In this Women in Comms mentor spotlight, Glo Gordon addresses initiatives and legislation that will support more diversity in corporate boardrooms. Also, she shares her advice on how women can step into leadership roles and set a trajectory toward a board position. Read on for more.
Women in Comms: Tell us a little about yourself and why it's important to you to be on Matrixx's board of directors.
Glo Gordon: My background has been primarily building global teams within both public and private companies in order to successfully sell software and SaaS solutions, including BSS/OSS for both telcos and enterprises. Based on my experience working with companies such as Cisco and Oracle, I believe I can bring value to Matrixx and help them navigate the nuances of the IoT world. I've been busy learning about the market landscape for Matrixx as well as current challenges and opportunities in the hopes of helping to build on the company's current growth and success.
WiC: What are some of the biggest roadblocks to increasing the number of women on corporate boards?
GG: Generally, there has been too little awareness of candidates and a lack of qualified diversity in hiring pools. Also, while Corporate America has had a high focus on diversity, there has been little accountability for this in the boardroom. I think boards are now realizing the benefits of diversity, including hiring women in C-level positions and including them on boards of directors. Women bring a unique perspective and studies have shown boards who have women on them see a much greater diversity of ideas and better financial outcomes.
WiC: What programs/initiatives can organizations put in place to support diversity on their boards?
GG: I think California is leading the charge with the recent bill mandating that all publicly-traded companies headquartered in California must have at least one female board member by the end of 2019 and, companies with five directors or more must have two to three female board members. Companies can also start thinking of diversifying early on in the process by reflecting their company values, hiring practices and implementing mentor programs.
WiC: What's your advice to other women in comms to get board positions?
GG: First, if you are thinking about joining a board, that is wonderful news. There are a lot of resources out there such as BoardSource, which focuses on non-profits; the Athena Alliance, which caters to women; or LinkedIn, which has a great Board of Directors feature on its site. Women can also network in circles where this is the topic, and I also recommend they begin to build a developmental action plan with a networked mentor. That's only the beginning however. Women should also develop themselves towards being a strong candidate when the time comes.
WiC: What piece of professional advice has helped you most in your career?
GG: Celebrate the wins but stay humble. This advice has allowed me to continue to focus on the work, and tackle each new challenge with a clear mind. Another great piece of advice is to stay curious. Technology is constantly changing and new technologies are created everyday -- 20 years ago no one had ever heard of IoT and now it plays a role in our day-to-day lives. By staying curious, I am able to keep learning and pushing myself. Who knows what the next 20 years will bring?
— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading