California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the California Partners Project, and Stanford Release Board Culture Playbook to Increase Representation of Women on Corporate Boards

PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and the California Partners Project released the Board Culture Playbook, designed to help companies increase and retain the number of women – particularly women of color – on their boards of directors. The unique and free resource is the second in a series of Playbooks that began with last year’s Board Diversity Playbook. The Playbooks were co-created with Stanford’s VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab, with additional support from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The new Board Culture Playbook is available here. Photos from the event are here.

“It is not enough to call for more women in leadership – we must actively increase diverse women’s representation at the tables of power where decisions are made. I’m immensely proud that California is leading the nation on this issue that’s not just vital to our economy and corporate culture, but also to the well-being of women and families,” said First Partner Siebel Newsom and Co-Founder of the California Partners Project. “The latest Board Culture Playbook is a fantastic tool to help retain and incorporate diverse voices, and I encourage boards of all kinds to take advantage of this free resource available to all.”

Increased board gender diversity also increases corporate revenue and improves board performance. According to California Partners Project’s “The Big Picture report,” companies with 30% or more women directors on their board correlated with higher revenue than companies with less than 30%. A 2023 directors’ survey found 82% of directors believe diversity enhances board performance. A 2017 study also found U.S. companies with three or more female directors reported earnings 45% higher per share than companies with no female directors.

While the topic of diversity and representation has been at the forefront for years, the topic of inclusion and how it can be effectively realized is more novel. The Board Diversity Playbook focuses on recruitment: how to attract, recruit, and onboard talented women board members. The Board Culture Playbook offers action-oriented strategies to harness and utilize diverse voices in the boardroom. The Board Culture Playbook is based on focus groups of board directors, leaders from Fortune 100 companies, and relevant research.

“As modern boards encounter and navigate complex, multidimensional issues, building an inclusive culture that strengthens board effectiveness is more necessary than ever before,” said Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, co-founder of the Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab. “What we’ve learned in speaking with dozens of board directors is that the decision-making context—or culture—can enhance or inhibit good decision making, and decades of research backs that up.”

Senate Bill 826, which was signed into law in 2018, required all public companies in California to have one to three women on their board of directors—dependent on board size—by the end of 2021. When the law took effect, the percentage of board seats held by women increased significantly—more than doubling the 15.5% of seats held by women in California in 2018 and nearly 4% above the national average. Despite significant momentum from SB 826, since the start of a legal challenge, the percentage of California public company board seats held by women slightly stagnated in 2023 – from 33.3% to 32.73%.

Through California for ALL Women, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom has made it a priority to center the needs of women as she makes strides to build economic equity, equal representation, and advance a family-first agenda. Through California for ALL Kids, the First Partner is championing initiatives and policies that support children’s mental and physical health and working to provide families with the tools they need to ensure their children get the best start in life.

About the California Partners Project: Co-founded by California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Olivia Morgan in partnership with the people of California, the California Partners Project is dedicated to championing gender equity across the state and promoting the mental, behavioral, and physical well-being of California’s children. For more information about the non-profit organization, visit Connect with the California Partners Project on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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SOURCE California Partners Project

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