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GW School of Business and International Women’s Forum Announce On the Board Fellows

WASHINGTON – The George Washington University School of Business (GWSB) and the International Women’s Forum (IWF) today announced the selection of the inaugural class of fellows for On the Board: Advancing Women’s Corporate Board Leadership.

On the Board, an initiative of the George Washington University School of Business and the International Women’s Forum, is designed to prepare women leaders to become successful candidates for, and directors on, corporate boards. The program will feature the faculty of GWSB and other elite U.S. and international universities as well as leading practitioners, including sitting corporate directors. The power of the IWF network will bring important voices and experiences to the program that are unmatched.

It has been nearly 100 years since Marjorie Merriweather Post, became the first woman on a corporate board when she inherited the Post Cereal Company after her father’s death. Twenty years later, in 1934, Letitia Whitehead became the first woman appointed to the board of a major U.S. company (Coca-Cola). Since then, the number of women added to corporate boards averages 16 per year. And for the last decade, the percentage of women on corporate boards hasn’t budged, hovering around 16% for Fortune 500 companies, and 17.5% for Fortune 1000 companies.

“Taking those numbers into account, it immediately becomes clear why On the Board will be truly revolutionary,” said Deedee Corradini, IWF President. “When we place all 15 Fellows on corporate boards, we will nearly double the advances made yearly for the last 81 years. This is monumental progress.”

Hand in hand with placing women on corporate boards, On the Board exists to hold corporations accountable, through research and measurement, for the grossly uneven board representation of one gender. Today, women comprise more than half of the global economy, 40% of the global workforce, and more than $20 trillion in financial spending worldwide. The question is not whether women will contribute to the future global economy, but by how much—and where. This is the very reason On the Board exists. Through an entirely action-oriented program, this program will prepare, promote, and place women on corporate boards.

“On the Board will most certainly change business by having an almost immediate impact on the gender balance of corporate boards,” said Doug Guthrie, dean of GWSB. “And by changing business at the very top level, and pulling it into the 21st century, we will also affect change in the larger business environment and society overall.”

“American business has stagnated in making progress in broadening their corporate boards, and they run the risk of falling seriously behind the revolution,” said Linda Rabbitt, founder and CEO of Rand Construction Corporation, GW Trustee and member of the IWF. “To remain competitive in a global marketplace, it is absolutely necessary for businesses to diversify their board memberships.” Rabbitt also provided a generous gift to establish and support the On the Board program.

The program received an overwhelming number of submissions from a diverse and impressive pool of applicants. Out of this highly qualified group, the International Selection Committee selected the following women on the basis of their leadership achievements and potential to serve as effective board directors:


Caryl Athanasiu
Executive Vice President, Chief Operational Risk Officer, Wells Fargo & Company

Shelley Bird
Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Cardinal Health

Barbara Byrne
Vice Chairman, Investment Banking Division, Barclays

Lauri Fitz-Pegado
Partner, the Livingston Group

Laura Hwang
President, Singapore Council of Women’s Organizations

Deborah Lentz
Senior Vice President, Customer Service & Logistics, Kraft Foods

Isabel Linares
Senior Counselor, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC Spain)

Penny McIntyre
President, Newell Consumer Group

Gail McKee
Chief Human Resources Officer, Towers Watson

Nancy Philippart
Executive in Residence, Engineering Ventures Program, Wayne State University

Shoba Purushothaman
Founder, Training Ventures

Sandra Sanchez y Oldenhage
President and CEO, Amgen Mexico

Anita M. Sands
Group Managing Director and Head of Change Leadership,
UBS Wealth Management Americas

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz
President, Charles Schwab Foundation
Senior Vice President, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

Sandra M. Stash
Global Senior Vice President for Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Operational Assurance, Talisman Energy


On the Board Fellows will receive advanced training in board-level leadership knowledge and practice, including corporate strategy, crisis management, ethical and responsible decision-making, corporate finance and value creation, risk assessment, leadership communications and regulatory compliance. As part of the program, On the Board Fellows will receive advanced financial management training, increasing their competitiveness and skills for service on board-level audit and compensation committees.

The Fellowship Program is organized around residencies in Washington, DC, to be held three times during 2013: February 21-24, July 19-21, and November 15-17. During these days and evenings, On the Board Fellows will participate in training, development and coaching sessions as well as social and networking events.  The program launch on Thursday, February 21 will also include a series of public sessions introducing the inaugural Fellows and exploring issues, ideas, and research related to advancing women’s corporate board leadership.

For more information, please visit: business.gwu.edu/ontheboard


About The IWF
The International Women’s Forum advances leadership across careers, cultures and continents by connecting the world’s most preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement. The IWF brings together an unprecedented global membership to exchange ideas, to learn and inspire, and to promote better leadership for a changing world. Founded in 1982 in the United States, the International Women’s Forum has grown across 5 continents into 26 nations. There are more than 5,000 women leaders participating in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. IWF provides one-of–a-kind programming designed by world leaders, for world leaders, both present and future. IWF provides a platform for leaders to meet among their peers in an environment where meaningful partnerships and friendships can grow and form. Visit: www.iwforum.org


About GWSB
GW’s School of Business is an international leader in education and research, which prides itself on training future leaders to be global problem solvers and socially responsible managers. The school leverages its prime location—in the heart of Washington—by attracting visiting scholars and leaders in the business community to work, teach and engage with students on campus.  The depth and variety of its academic and professional programs, including five specialized master’s programs, provide rich opportunities for academic engagement and career development for students in the school’s core Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Business Administration and doctoral programs.
Visit: business.gwu.edu

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