Gitte Maya Elsing, spokeswoman and chair of KIB/WGC, country manager of RS Components Scandinaviania.
Tine Antvorskov, Country Manager of AIG
Esther Dora Rado, CEO and founder of Corporate Communications.
A new hands-on women-on-boards concept, Women Grow Companies, may change the attitude towards quota thinking in the EU, outdating the need for legislation on this specific area – as seen in Norway, where a 40% quota for female directors of listed companies was introduced in 2006, to come into force in 2008. The concept is the brainchild of Management Consultant Peter Horn and Major and Vice Dean Nina Uller.
The association Kvinder I Bestyrelser / Women Grow Companies (KIB/WGC) – The first Danish for “Women On Boards” – was established with a secretariat in February 2015 after two years of preparation. The first results are at hand. The association is backed by a board of six and an advisory board of 30 business leaders, non-executive directors and female business owners. The association is member based.
The association’s spokeswoman, Gitte Maya Elsing, Country Manager of RS Components Scandinavia, a brand of UK based Electrocomponents plc, says:
“In Denmark there is a lot of potential to increase participation by “the underrepresented gender”. Thus we match female executives with corporate experience with board positions in small and medium-sized enterprises that are primary owned by women. In Denmark there are 140,000 board positions. Around 30,000 are occupied by women. We believe that this number should double, taking into account the considerable pool of expertise and competencies of our female business leaders. Women own 57,000 businesses in Denmark. On average they make £ 60,000 less than male owned companies after five years in operation. We estimate that 5,000 of these female owned companies have growth potential and could increase revenues with more than £ 300 m, creating around 5,000 jobs, if this potential is turned into a reality.
Half joined a board in the first month
One of the first companies to join Women Grow Companies is the Danish subsidiary of insurance giant American International Group, AIG, with customers in more than 130 countries. General Manager Tine Antvorskov of AIG in Denmark states that the opportunity to offer female executives a board position as part of their strategic career development is a vital tool in the competition to attract and retain critical talent.
“Female leaders from AIG Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland are now board candidate members of Women Grow Companies. In the first month half obtained their first board position, one as chair. The programme included workshops and already after the first workshop most of our participating leaders were inspired and encouraged to set new goals for their careers. We consider Women Grow Companies an important contribution to diversity in our top management as well as a strengthening of our pipeline of female leadership talents,” Tine Antvorskov states.
Proprietor: An eye opener
Corporate Communications is among the entrepreneur businesses with a brand new advisory board. “This exercise has been a serious eye opener,” CEO Esther Dora Rado says.
“At the first strategy meeting my advisory board “cut all the losses” and focused on future core business, PR and brand advisory of top management at large companies. Now we follow a strategic business plan with strict budgets and a healthy bottom line. My plan is to build up the business to make an exit within the next five to seven years. The value of my membership of Women Grow Companies is inestimable. This association really makes a difference.”
About Women Grow Companies
Women Grow Companies is a result driven network of female board members and business owners.
The association’s mission is to provide women executives in larger companies with a chance to gain board membership experience, thus expanding their overall career possibilities. The candidates will join advisory boards or serve as non-executive directors at primarily women-owned companies, around 5,000 in Denmark.
The female business leaders thus have the opportunity to enhance their full career potential.
The association will accept 384 board candidates and 128 member companies this year. Figures for 2016 are 999 board candidates and 333 member companies. The participants can join the program for five years. At the end of the program, some might reach boards positions in the Danish Top 1,000 companies. “We aim for a steady, organic growth,” the founders say.
Peter Horn’s company established and operated Executive Business Networking with major Danish and international companies to promote women as leaders and non-executive directors from 1999 to 2005. He was involved with the Norwegian NHO’s Female Future and the EU project “Women to the Top” and has written several business books. Nina Uller has been involved in activities to promote more women to top ranks at the Defence Command Denmark. Together, they have designed a new concept “Power and Leadership” – to be published as a business thriller later this year. This concept is one of the pillars of the Women Grow Companies’ association.
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