Female leaders get ready

Hong Kong, 3 March 2015 - Harvey Nash and The University of Hong Kong Business School announce the 2015 instalment of board preparedness programme, to increase gender balance on boards.

Harvey Nash, the global executive search and leadership consulting firm and The University of Hong Kong Business School have announced the 2015 instalment of the Women's Directorship Programme (WDP) to be held in Hong Kong in May and September. The international board preparedness programme, exclusively for women, was created in answer to the worldwide business community's call to tackle the existing gender imbalance in boardrooms.

The importance of gender-balanced boardrooms is a much-debated issue - but with women representing less than 10% of board level positions internationally, progress has clearly stalled. The answer to encouraging gender balance lies in supporting women to demonstrate their readiness for senior roles, enhancing their visibility on a global scale and engaging influential male business leaders in the agenda.

Harvey Nash and HKU Business School created the certificated Women's Directorship Programme in 2013, with the aim of enabling participants to become effective board members and serving to increase the supply of board-ready women executives across geographies and business sectors.

Led by esteemed faculty members of HKU Business School, the Women’s Directorship Programme offers a unique combination of lectures and academic leadership theories, plus practical insights and real life case studies to bring the subjects to life, delivered by international business leaders as guest speakers. The involvement of senior business leaders sets the programme apart, providing unprecedented levels of access to their boardroom insights and experiences. Guest speakers on the Women’s Directorship Programme include:

  • Anne Minto, INED of Shire and Tate & Lyle
  • Donald Brydon, Chairman of Sage Group and Royal Mail
  • Dr. Raymond Ch’ien, Chairman of Hang Seng Bank and MTR
  • Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman & CEO of Schneider Electric
  • Rick Haythornthwaite, Chairman of Centrica and MasterCard

Donald Brydon, Chairman of Sage Group and Royal Mail, guest speaker on the Women’s Directorship Programme, said: “In order to produce a pipeline of exceptional women for boards, we need to have more initiatives like the Women’s Directorship Programme, bringing together academia and practitioners to share their experiences and explain how behaviour in the boardroom is different to behaviour in the rest of your corporate life.”

Through the distinguished alumni programme the participants have access to on-going support, and benefit from a global network of peers and senior business leaders.

Kirti Lad, Director, Harvey Nash Executive Search Asia Pacific said: "Through the Women’s Directorship Programme and our partnership with the University of Hong Kong we are committed to creating lasting change across the world, unlocking the talent pipeline and empowering female leaders to gain the confidence and skills needed to secure board positions.”

The 2015 programme includes six modules, taught over two three-day sessions (May 28-30 and September 10-12, 2015):

  • Roles of Board and Committee Members
  • Persuasive Communication and Conflict Resolution
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Securities Market Regulation
  • Full Board Simulation exercise - led by Donald Brydon, Chairman of the Royal Mail & Sage Group
  • Ethics and Compliance

Professor Larry Qiu, Director of Executive Education, HKU Business School, said: "The Women's Directorship Programme enables participants to develop board communication and management skills, gain access to senior business leaders and benefit from peer-to-peer learning from high achieving women across different business sectors and cultures. To date, we have seen some outstanding results from the participants through the increased visibility of the alumni.”