A Step towards Closing the Gender Gap: HKU and Harvey Nash Launch Women’s Directorship Programme

March 3, 20161:32 pm278 views

Despite modest improvements in the numbers of women on corporate boards, closing the boardroom gender gap is still a distant goal, likely to take decades at the current pace of change.

With Asia positioned as the growth engine of the world’s economy, Harvey Nash, the global executive search and leadership consulting firm, and The University of Hong Kong Business School (HKU) have again joined forces to unlock the full potential of female talent in the top tier of the region’s workforce.

Covering two three-day sessions in May and September, this will be the fifth time the Women’s Directorship Programme – which is supported by senior business leaders and a distinguished alumni will be taking place.

Initiatives like the Women’s Directorship Programme can accelerate the process by helping women to demonstrate their readiness for senior roles and ensuring they are visible. For example, thirty percent of the programme’s alumni have since gained their first boardroom position, serving to make a lasting impact on the worldwide business community.

The Women’s Directorship Programme was created in 2013, with the aim of enabling participants to become effective board members and serving to increase the supply of board-ready women executives across geographies and business sectors.

Led by esteemed faculty members of HKU Business School, the Women’s Directorship Programme offers a unique combination of lectures and academic leadership theories, plus real life case studies and practical insights delivered by international business leaders as guest speakers. The involvement of senior business leaders sets the programme apart, providing unprecedented levels of access to their boardroom insights and experiences.

Donald Brydon, Chairman of the London Stock Exchange and Sage Group, guest speaker on the Women’s Directorship Programme, said: “Diversity of thought is an essential component of board governance, yet boardroom evolution continues to move at only a glacial pace. We all need to take responsibility for driving change.”

“The Women’s Directorship Programme is a vital tool in producing a pipeline of exceptional women ready to take on the challenge of a board role, bringing together academia and practitioners to share their wealth of knowledge and experiences. Directors need to be fully prepared for the issues they will face before they step into the boardroom, therefore best practice board governance training is essential.”

Program Highlights

The 2016 Women’s Directorship Programme includes six modules, taught over two three-day sessions (May 26-28 and September 22-24, 2016):

  • Roles and responsibilities of Board and Committee Members
  • Persuasive Communication and Conflict Resolution
  • Strategic Leadership and Networks
  • Securities Market Regulation
  • Ethics and Compliance
  • Board Simulation exercise – led by Donald Brydon, Chairman of the LSE and Sage Group

Albert Ellis, CEO, Harvey Nash Group said: “The Women’s Directorship Programme in partnership with The University of Hong Kong demonstrates Harvey Nash’s commitment to developing the global female talent pipeline. By empowering female leaders to gain the confidence and skills needed to secure board positions, and elevating their visibility to a global level, we can create lasting change across the world.”

Professor Larry Qiu, Director of Executive Education, HKU Business School comments, “The Women’s Directorship Programme serves as the benchmark for best practice board governance standards by offering unique access to the boardroom insights and experiences of world business leaders, thanks to their involvement as guest speakers. The programme enables participants to develop board communication and management skills, and benefit from peer-to-peer learning from high achieving women across different business sectors and cultures.”

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