Six hundred women registered for August webinar on what it takes to get a corporate board seat in California

Next Webinar on Sept. 29 Explores Adding Diversity to Corporate Boards

SACRAMENTO – If there was any question about the interest women have in learning how to land a seat on traditionally male-dominated boards that govern public companies headquartered in California, the August 13 webinar cohosted by California Treasurer Fiona Ma answered it.

More than six-hundred women registered for the nearly two-hour long Zoom webinar.
“The success of this webinar is part of the larger narrative of social change sweeping through our lives and our culture,” Treasurer Ma said. “The day has come for this push forward for women and people of color. We need training like this to ensure that those who want to be on a board have the benefit of being fully informed about how it is done.”

The webinar, the first of a series, grew out of Treasurer Ma’s interest in ensuring the success of a 2018 California bill (SB 826) that mandates publicly held companies headquartered in the state increase the number of women on their boards by a certain date.

The legislation, authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (Dist. 19) and signed into law by Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr., required corporations with their principal executive offices in California to include one female on their board of directors by the end of 2019.

By the close of 2021 it requires them to include at least two female directors if a board has five members, and three female directors if a board has six or more members. The law also requires the Secretary of State to document which corporations are in compliance and to fine those in violation.

The webinar presentation was cohosted by Treasurer Ma, the Thirty Percent Coalition, California Women Lead, NAWBO-California, NAWBO-Sacramento, Women in Public Finance-LA, Women in Public Finance-Northern California, Women in Public Finance-San Diego, and 2020 Women on Boards.

Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane, executive director and cofounder of the Thirty Percent Coalition, a national organization that brings together corporate leaders and institutional investors to address the lack of gender, racial and ethnic diversity in corporate boardrooms, served as moderator. Other participants included:

• Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO of 2020 Women on Boards, author of the books “The Board Game” and “Winning the Board Game, a board member of the National Association of Women Business Owners-California (NAWBO-CA), and the co-founder of Berkhemer Clayton Inc, a retained executive search firm. Betsy is credited with originating the concept of SB 826 and being a prime mover behind its passage.

• Katie Koster, Managing Director for Public Finance at Piper Sandler & Company. Katies shared her experience and the practical steps she took to gain a seat on a board. She has 24 years of experience assisting municipalities access capital markets to fund critical infrastructure and spearheaded major cultural change at Piper Sandler, transforming attitudes through diversity and inclusion initiatives.

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