It is a surprising statistic, but currently only 22.5% of Fortune 500 board members are women. Inspired to address this inequity and its impact on the business landscape, Forté partners with sponsoring business schools and companies across the globe to identify women who are interested in advancing their careers in business and ultimately becoming eligible to serve on a corporate board. To support this effort, Forté member schools collectively are identifying and recommending their alumnae for this board-ready initiative.

Forté’s official database and list of Global Board Ready Women, offers headhunters, Chairs and boards a central place to locate women who are qualified to sit on a board when they are looking for new board members.

The following criteria are used to determine Board Readiness:

Quantitative criteria

All women on the list should have at least five years’ experience in one or a combination of the following roles:

  • Chair and/or non-executive director of listed or private corporations
  • Chief Executive Officer, COO, CFO and other C-suite executive or director level appointments in listed or private corporations
  • Family member and controlling shareholder of boards of large family companies
  • Director of government agencies
  • Director of non-profit organizations
  • Institutional investment community senior professional
  • Professional firms senior partner serving boards and their committees as clients
  • Entrepreneur

The women on the list should be able to demonstrate that they are financially literate. Profit & Loss experience is advantageous, given that some large companies have this as a pre-requisite for board roles.

Qualitative Criteria

In addition, the Task Force believes that candidates on the list should be practitioners of excellence in corporate governance. This suggests the following qualities:

  • Articulate communicator and good listener
  • High level of emotional Intelligence ability to understand the dynamics of the boardroom, how to deal with conflict when it arises
  • Ability to self-assess
  • Can enhance contribution through feedback
  • Can lead when appropriate, but aware of collective responsibility and engagement
  • Can challenge constructively and be supportive when necessary
  • Sharp mind and good judgement
  • Self-confident without being dogmatic
  • Understand the importance of independence
  • Courage to stand up for that which is in the best interests of the company
  • Understand how to add value to a board
  • Team player

Women on the list will also be expected to have made a conscious commitment to assume the role and responsibility of corporate governance in a publicly quoted company.

How to Apply

After reviewing the above quantitative and qualitative criteria, and finding that your background matches the requested criteria, you may be formally considered for the Global Board Ready Women List. Simply send an email with your LinkedIn profile URL and a resume or CV attached as a PDF or Word file. The nominating committee will review your submission and contact you with next steps.

All board ready women are welcome.

Build Your Board Potential

If you want to begin your journey to be Board Ready, many business schools offer board member training and certification, like this annual program at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health is offering a program for women interested in health care and related industry boards.

For women in Europe, the European Professional Women’s Network offers helpful tips on readying yourself for a board position, from a European perspective.

Yale SOM Executive Education offers a 3-module program to launch your search for a seat on a board.

Board Ready Resources

Relevant Research and Articles

Advocacy Groups

Search Firms