“Every move of the diversity needle matters for Wisconsin businesses”
In addition to her full-time role as vice president of sales and marketing at Milwaukee-based Badger Meter, Kim Stoll serves as board chair for Milwaukee Women inc. Representing about 130 members, the nonprofit is focused on achieving balanced representation of women on corporate boards of directors and published annual research on the percentage of women serving on boards of the top 50 public companies in Wisconsin. As the organization celebrates its 20th anniversary, Stoll emphasized the value of leadership diversity.
Long before diversity became top-of-mind for business leaders, a group of forward-thinking executive women recognized the value different gender, experiences and backgrounds can bring to businesses. In 2002, they created Milwaukee Women inc, an organization of professional women dedicated to changing the face and quality of leadership in the Wisconsin business community. While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done.
The proof is in the data. MWi’s 2021 annual research report showed that 23.3% of directors on Wisconsin’s top 50 public company boards were women, but only 4.5% of total board members were women of color.
A diverse board of varying backgrounds, skills, expertise and other differentiating personal characteristics promotes inclusiveness, enhances the Board’s deliberations and enables the Board to better represent all of a company’s constituents. Studies have shown that companies that prioritize diversity see improved financial performance, above average growth, positive external and internal reputation and sound corporate governance.
Companies looking to diversify their boards of directors can start with a few simple steps: (1) require a diversified candidate pool for all board positions; (2) embrace meaningful board refreshment approaches and (3) build a pipeline of qualified, diverse candidates for future board roles.
Achieving balanced representation in leadership can not only help companies to be more successful, but it can also help to make Wisconsin the region of choice we know it can be.”
To access the article, view the August 22, 2022 ,BizTimes magazine.