Women's Leadership Foundation

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Organizational Overview

Women's Leadership Foundation
1350 17th Street, Suite 100
Denver, CO 80202
The Women's Leadership Foundation (WLF) is a 501(c)(3) organization and the foundation for the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce. WLF works to support the CWCC and its members by inspiring and educating professional women to flourish in leadership roles in business and in the community. Our goal is to improve the performance of corporate and non-profit organizations by facilitating awareness and education in pursuit of placing more women on community and corporate boards.

Board Bound Leadership Circles

The Board Bound Leadership Circles are for participants in the Community Board Bound Program and are structured around specific topic areas. They are facilitated by current sitting directors on community boards and they will be scheduled periodically and added to the event calendar throughout the year.

Impact Statement

Board Bound: Changing America's Boardrooms One Woman at a Time was the first program for the Women's Leadership Foundation. Research has shown that when there are women in the boardroom, there are more women in higher ranks in their organizations creating meaningful role models for other women to succeed.

Nationally in 2011, women held a disappointing average of 16% of directorship positions in publicly traded companies but in Colorado, women held less than half, 7%. The numbers improve on non-profit boards but are not much better in privately held companies. The Board Bound Program will serve women who want to serve on either corporate or community-based boards.

At a time when organizational performance is most scrutinized due to economic cycles and globalization, the presence of more women in the boardroom could have a significant, positive impact on both corporations and non‐profit organizations. According to the National Association of Corporate Directors, companies having women on their boards bring increased value to their corporations by broadening market vision, enhancing board dynamics, inspiring female stockholders, and improving corporate reputation. BoardSource, a research organization dedicated to trends in non‐profit organizations, says, "As our society becomes more diverse, boards are recognizing the need to follow suit in order to reflect their communities and to ensure that a multiplicity of voices contribute to their organization. Organizational peak performance results from a diversity of thought, and women leaders are key influencers to promoting that diversity.

Economically, in the United States, women now control over 80% of all household purchases. In addition, in 2010, women controlled 27% of the world's wealth, or about $20.2 trillion, and this number grew an astounding 16% since 2009. Women in the United States now control 60% of the spending and investments world‐wide, making them the largest economic force in the world, according to the Federal Reserve Board. In addition, women own 10 million businesses in the United States and employ 27 million people (more than the Fortune 500), and those numbers to grow every year, according to the Center for Women's Business Research. The Economic Journal reports that women donate twice as much to charity as men, and increasingly are the target of philanthropic organizations.

With the growing economic impact of women comes more attention to the positive results they generate for corporations and non‐profit organizations. A research report published in Corporate Governance: An International Review cites several positive results achieved for organizations when women directors serve, including:

• Improved financial performance
• Improved governance
• Higher level of board independence from management
• Stronger commitment to social responsibility and an
• Increased number of women role models in society

The Corporate Board Bound goal is to increase the number of women on corporate boards by creating mentoring relationships with current corporate sitting directors. This program is for C-level women seeking a corporate board appointment.

The Community Board Bound goal is to increase the number of trained women on non-profits, hospitals, universities, foundations, state boards and commissions and privately held firms. Assessment, training, mentoring, panel discussions and networking are included in both Board Bound programs while the focus of the training is for Community Board Bound participants.

Diversity in the boardroom is a performance issue for all organizations, both corporate and non-profit. In our first year, we have had over 400 women participate in our programs and we have placed two women on corporate boards, which given the percentages in Colorado is quite the accomplishment, and we have placed numerous qualified women on community boards.

We offered an extensive workshop curriculum. Our 23 workshops included the following important topics: The Board's Role in Strategic Planning; Leadership Skills and Styles; Board Service Overview; Interviewing for a Corporate Board; Fiduciary Responsibility and Financial Statements; The Board's Role in CEO Evaluation; Fundraising for NPO's; Governance; Boardroom Comportment; Succession Planning; Governance and Ethics; Creating and Managing your own Brand; Conflict Resolution and Conflict Management; Overview of Corporate Board Requirements; Interviewing for a Board Position; Finding the Right Network and Making Connections; Marketing; Talk with the Experts; Crisis Communication; Chairing Committee and Team Building; Self-awareness; Resources and Connections with Partner Organizations; and The Board's Role in Program Evaluation.

In addition, we provide many opportunities to network. We have 4 -5 receptions/year to guide and advise participants as they progress through the workshops and towards their goal of being placed on a board - corporate or community.

Our 2017 Goals include:

• Offering a variety of workshops toward education and support for women by covering topics such as thought leadership, career benefits of serving on a community board, women leading change, gender equality, reading and understanding financial statements, preparation for board interview questions, self awareness and board service, board governance and ethics. We also plan to:
• Hold other Education/Information Receptions
• Increase participation in events and workshops
• Increase the number of women placed on community based boards by 30%
• Increase the number of women placed on corporate boards by 20%
• Raise $100,000 to grow the Board Bound program

Needs Statement

The Women's Leadership Foundation needs donations so we may continue to identify and provide guidance plus education for future women board of directors. We not only have workshops and networking opportunities, but also mentors with assigned mentees.

WLF works to support and educate professional women to flourish in leadership roles in business and in the community.

· Women on Boards: Where are They?
Nationwide, women hold an average of 16% of board positions of publicly traded companies
In Colorado, only 7% of board seats of publicly traded companies are held by women (less than half the national average)
Only 12% of non-profits have trained their boards on diversity

·Board Bound: Changing America's Boardrooms One Woman at a Time
Diversity in the boardroom is a performance issue for all organizations, both corporate and non-profit.

· Here's How You Can Help?
Your contribution to the Women's Leadership Foundation increases our ability to help women to have an essential voice in leadership positions on boards.

Background Statement

In 2008 the CWCC Women's Leadership Foundation was formed. The Women's Leadership Foundation (WLF) is a 501(c)(3) organization and the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce Foundation. WLF's mission is to inspire and educate professional women to flourish in leadership roles in business and in the community.

We have six Guiding Principles:
1. Leadership - we believe organizations should utilize the best skills of women leaders
2. Collaboration - we believe in working side by side rather than competitively to accomplish organizational objectives
3. Inclusiveness - we believe in including women and persons of color in leadership roles
4. Diversity - we believe diversity increases performance and effectiveness in organizations
5. Integrity - we believe in acting ethically and honestly in all decisions and activities
6. Excellence - we believe in setting high standards for our organizations and ourselves

Women on Boards = Increased Performance for Organizations
When women serve on boards, organizations experience:
* Improved financial performance
* Improved governance
* Higher level of board independence from management
* Stronger commitment to social responsibility
* Increased number of women role models in society

Executive Director Statement

"In 2011 women held an average of 16 percent of directorship positions in publically traded companies, but in Colorado, women held less than half, 7 percent. The purpose of the Women's Leadership Foundation's Board Bound program is to increase those percentages.The overarching goal of Board Bound is to improve the performance of non-profit and corporate organizations by placing more women in director roles. This program is critical for women and the Colorado business community because we know that more women on boards results in improved financial performance, improved governance, increased independence , greater social responsibility and more role models.

Board Chair/President Statement

The WLF's has experienced significant successes in the first year. They include:

• Presenting the need for women leaders on boards to the women of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the Colorado Technology Association, Women in Energy, Wheeler Trigg and Commercial Real Estate Women and 7 other receptions
• Offering 23 community board bound workshops and placing numerous women on boards
• Holding 4 Mentoring Circles
• Pairing 10 Corporate Directors with mentees striving to serve on a corporate board, placing 2 women on corporate boards
• Building the WLF Board to 15 talented board members
• Raising over $100,000
• Connecting to over 400 women who participated in our programs

Our continued challenges include:

• Raising the needed funds to sustain and grow the programs
• Recruiting interested current sitting corporate directors interested in mentoring a C-level women who wants to serve on a board
• Educating corporate boards on the benefits of adding women to their boards
• Filling the needs of community boards for qualified women directors
• Getting the word out about the necessity of this program and ways that we can help organizations become more successful

The board is working on each of these issues by serving on specific committee to address them. Each committee has very specific goals for achievement and we discuss progress regularly at our monthly meetings.

I see Board Bound as a crucial resource to help women get the training, exposure and encouragement they need to give them access to more board roles. This, in turn, will allow these new directors to mentor other women who wish to follow in their footsteps. I am proud to be a Charter Member of Board Bound to help launch this effort in Colorado.

Susan Spero
Spero & Company Consultants, LLC

As I was driving home last night, the word "empowered" kept popping into mind over and over again. Empowered is not a word I frequently use, but it sums up my Board Bound experience last evening. I have always wanted to serve on a board but did not know how to start the process. Last night, I was fortunate to meet and have substantive discussions with women from many different industries and different stages of their careers. I left the event last night knowing that the resources for board service are within reach.

Cristin Mack
Hall & Evans LLC

Hats off to Donna Evans with our women's chamber - she has opened our eyes to the lack of female representation on our company boards of directors. As was pointed out last night at in the exquisite lobby of the Museum of Nature and Science, the heart and soul of strong ladies present an entirely new prospective to our businesses - a prospective that, in many cases, is currently lacking. Kudos to CWCC!

Trisha Jorgensen
Denver Business Journal

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.

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