Women on Boards

What is GBRW?

In the News (November 2023): EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pays tribute to women pioneers who supported the Women on Boards directive

Forté's official database of Global Board Ready Women provides headhunters and company Talent Acquisition leads with a deep bench of 8,000+ talented senior women ready to fill key executive leadership positions and sit on boards of nonprofits, PE and VC portfolio companies, medium-sized businesses valued at $5-250M, and Fortune 100s. Our database of exceptional women is a particularly good fit for portfolio company board talent, and we regularly connect with PE and VC firms looking to add female talent to their lists of potential board candidates.

To get a conversation started with us about how GBRW can help with an upcoming search you’re doing, please reach out to us, and we will schedule time to connect.

If you are a senior woman interested in applying to GBRW or a Talent Acquisition lead interested in learning more about our selection process, please review our acceptance criteria below.


Build Your Board Potential

If you want to begin your journey to be board ready, many business schools offer board member training and certification. Check out these options from Forté partners.

INSEAD Executive Education

The five-day Aspiring Directors Programme from INSEAD Executive Education helps high potential professionals, managers or executives preparing for their first board mandate to acquire the knowledge base that directors are expected to master, and which form the basis of effective board membership. The programme aims to answer the fundamental questions, such as: What are the main institutions, roles and processes in corporate governance?, How best can directors exercise their responsibilities in the boardroom?

University of California – Los Angeles (Anderson School of Management)

This intensive, experiential program is offered on campus or online and delivers a highly applicable toolkit of leadership skills, governance acumen and networking savvy that will prepare senior women executives, professionals and entrepreneurs to overcome the obstacles and seize the opportunities that they face in seeking corporate board service.

University of Washington (Foster School of Business)

The Women Board Directors Development Program at UW Foster School of Business is designed for executive women looking to become more influential board members, move from non-profit to for-profit boards, or serve on the boards of bigger organizations. During this two-day seminar, participants build on the stories and experiences of corporate board members and develop a personal roadmap to find the right boards and serve effectively at the table.

Yale School of Management

Breaking into the boardroom can be challenging for anyone. Yale’s Women on Boards program gives its participants guided preparation for the board search process. The program helps women deepen their understanding of critical skills needed and key trends facing boards today and gain practical insider’s insights into the board director search process. Over the course of the program, participants build a toolkit of resources to launch a successful board seat search with support of peer accountability groups and executive coaching.

Board Ready Resources

Relevant Research and Articles

Advocacy Groups

Search Firms

Quantitative Criteria

All GBRW women have at least five years of 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 nonprofit organizations
  • Institutional investment community senior professional
  • Professional firms senior partner serving boards and their committees as clients
  • Entrepreneur

Successful applicants should be able to demonstrate that they are financially literate. Profit & Loss experience is advantageous, given that some large companies have this as a prerequisite for board roles.

Qualitative Criteria

In addition, we believe that GBRW members 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

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.