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Meraki Executive Search & Consulting to run sixth Women's Directorship Programme

To mark International Women’s Day 2018, and as the gender diversity movement gathers momentum around the world, the myth surrounding a lack of senior female talent is being challenged by Meraki Executive Search & Consulting and The University of Hong Kong, HKU Business School who lead the Women’s Directorship Programme. 

2018 is the seventh instalment of the world-leading board governance programme exclusively for board-level female executives, designed to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to demonstrate they are ready for the responsibilities of the boardroom.

Meraki says that 2018 will be the year one of the oldest and long-standing arguments about why there aren't more women on boards is completely eradicated – there are huge numbers of talented, executive women internationally, but many are still being held back from reaching their full potential.  Barriers present themselves either in the form of ‘mirror-image’ bias, where men (who hold the majority of the positions of power) choose to hire in their own image, or women themselves doubt their abilities because of societal expectations therefore self-select out of opportunities. Covering two three-day sessions in May and September 2018, the Women’s Directorship Programme is designed to unlock the full potential of the international female executive talent pipeline and equip participants with the knowledge and insights needed to add the most value to a board. 

Kirti Lad, executive director at Meraki Executive Search & Consulting, said, "2018 is shaping up to be a big year for the advancement of women. The representation of women at the board and senior leadership levels is one of the greatest indicators of positive change and we are committed to driving that change forward. After five years of hosting the Women's Directorship Programme we have seen the true extent of the exceptional female talent available - there are no excuses, every board should include female representation so that half of the world’s talent isn't overlooked. By empowering female leaders to gain the confidence and skills needed to secure board positions, and by opening up access to board level networks, the Women's Directorship Programme demonstrates our commitment to altering the representation of women in leadership roles across the world."

Now in its sixth year, the Women's Directorship Programme has already demonstrated a lasting impact, with more than 40% of the programme's alumni having since gained their first boardroom position or seat on the ex-com of their existing firms, serving to make a positive contribution to the worldwide business community. The programme is supported by senior business leaders, including Donald Brydon, chairman of the London Stock Exchange, Rick Haythornthwaite, chairman of Centrica and MasterCard and Raymond Ch'ien, chairman of Hang Seng Bank, and a distinguished alumni network.

Brydon added,  "Whilst we still have a long way to go in achieving boardroom equality, women are increasingly stepping into roles of power and influence. The Women's Directorship Programme is a catalyst for this change, bringing together academia and practitioners to share their wealth of knowledge and experiences, so that female leaders can excel."

The 2018 Women's Directorship Programme includes six modules, taught over two three-day sessions (May 24th-26th and September 13th-15th, 2018): 

  • Role and responsibilities of the board, audit and remuneration essentials
  • Strategic leadership and networks
  • Persuasive communication and conflict resolution 
  • Stock exchange rules and market regulations
  • Ethics and compliance 
  • Board simulation - led by Brydon 

Professor Haipeng Shen, associate dean (Knowledge Exchange) at HKU Business School, stated, "The Women's Directorship Programme enables female executives from different business sectors and cultures to develop the communication and management skills required to face the challenges of the boardroom. By giving the participants access to boardroom insights and experiences of world business leaders, the programme ensures female leaders have ready access to the exclusive board network, and empowers them to bring positive impact to their organizations." 

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