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Thoughts in Charts: My Money and Meaning

I wouldn’t call 2020 the “year of the women” – especially as I worked from a make-shift table, bouncing my toddler, while trying to angle my body to cover up the dirty laundry I forgot to move before I started the zoom call.

But in the midst of that chaos, women hit a pretty incredible milestone.  As of May of 2020, for the first time, there was at least 1 female voice at the table in each of the largest, publicly traded companies in the United States. We did it folks. Every S&P 500 company has a female on their board of directors.

An average board has about 10 to 11 people on the board, so this week’s chart from the 2020 US Spencer Stuart Board Report is really encouraging. Women now actually tend to have 2 to 4 seats on the board. Not only is it a voice, but a voice with a bit of volume accumulating behind it. In fact, from May of 2019 to May of 2020, 47% of new board of director seats went to women. Friends, that’s almost equal weight!

Five years ago, Suzanne co-authored a report on the impact of women in the board room.  I came to work at ThirtyNorth, in large part, because of what that work and the values of ThirtyNorth said about the firm’s dedication to the mission of “Bringing Together Money and Meaning”.

The paper, “The Relative Stock Performance of Gender-Diverse Boards”, sets the empirical reasoning behind our impact strategy, but it’s not my meaning. Don’t get me wrong, I strive for strong performance every single day, but it’s not the reason that I find the firm’s Women Impact Strategy meaningful. My meaning isn’t data based. I think numbers fail to tell the entire story on this one.

I just believe in something – and, in a world where it’s hard to hold on to beliefs, this is a place where I can continue to believe. I believe doing the right thing pays off in the end. I think listening to the voices around me makes me better. I believe that my experiences fail to give me the full picture – that I need to hear from people who are having different experiences. I know that if I only hear my same experience, mirrored back to me, I’ll fail to grow. I just can’t imagine that’s any different for a major corporation.

The companies we hold in this strategy created space for women and these women showed up, with their unique experiences, to add to the strength of the vision.

There is so much more work to be done – so many others whose voices aren’t being heard, but for me, the Women Impact Strategy is a little piece of meaning in a world that is struggling toward better. It’s a space where I can believe..

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