EWMD on board

"EWMD on board": The benefits of training and trusting each other

In 2014, a group of EWMD members initiated the work stream EWMD on board to train and promote women for board positions. Since then a series of working sessions took place in different cities with a growing number of participants. We asked Gudrun Timm, one of the founders of this work stream, what makes the work stream successful.

What was the original purpose initiating the work stream "EWMD on board"?

Building a group of women who want to discuss company direction by leveraging their immense and very relevant knowledge. In a protected environment, not competing with each other for certain roles, we expand our skills and build trust. So we achieve greater depth than in the many forums discussing board work online.

What are the objectives of the work group?

Board work has a lot to do with curiosity and the eagerness to learn. It is special because it makes you work on subjects that you have not necessarily chosen yourself. An example: In my first board role in a private equity fund, I suddenly had to cope with US interests in oil and gas in a M&A situation, under great time-pressure and entirely out of the blue. Some of us explore whether board work is what they really want to do, others improve their chances by widening their horizon.

How do you work together to achieve your objectives?

Most of us, nearly every woman in the group, is willing to share her experience and team up within the group so as to create a day´s programme (and that´s the initiative we want to see). So we discover each other´s calibre in a very practical way topics range from decision biases, executive remuneration, tax issues, to developments in corporate governance just to name a few.

How long does it take to obtain a board seat?

If you consider serving on a board, think of a highly competitive environment where you need to develop your personal strategy. Don´t expect others to step in for you in an altruistic way. You need to identify the company where you want to serve and are able to add value by relevant experience in a certain industry, by a topic of excellence that is needed because the current board is lacking that competency, or through a group of people who might entrust you with this responsibility.

What topic will you address at your next session?

We will address matters of cyber security and figure out what is relevant at board level for prevention and, in case of a cyber attack, restoring data and applications. We will be granted a closer view into the cyber security practices from Bâloise and discuss the issues with some directors of Bâloise, a Swiss insurance firm. We welcome new EWMD women who are curious and want to contribute their thoughts and experience.

For information and registration, please contact Gudrun Timm.

Ihre Ansprechpartnerin für "EWMD on board":

Gudrun Timm