On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution went into effect, giving women the right to vote. Since then, much has been done to ensure gender equality, but the Executive Next Practices (ENP) Institute’s fifth annual Women’s Summit focused on a very recent development in furthering gender equality in the workplace.
Hosted at the Cove @ UCI Applied Innovation, ENP’s “Boardroom Evolution: Women Driving Performance, Perspective & Results” explored Senate Bill No. 826 (SB 826). The new law – whose name comes from the day the 19th Amendment went into effect – stipulates that publicly held companies in California must have at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of the 2019 calendar year.
The event kicked off with a pre-recorded welcome message and interview with ENP Institute CEO Scott Hamilton and Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, CEO of Berkhemer Clayton, Inc., an employment agency based in Los Angeles. Berkhemer-Credaire also helped champion the movement toward SB 826.
Event speakers discussed their career hurdles, which were often based around inequality, as well as stories of triumphs and tactics that businesswomen can use to prepare themselves for board roles.
“There is no recipe,” said Aimee Weisner, corporate vice president at Edwards Lifesciences, a medical equipment company. “But what I come back to is this: Build a career fit for board service.”
Weisner’s advice to women on building their careers included being the best at what they do, investing in the relationships in their careers and networking in their communities.
Attendees also participated in a collaborative workshop related to SB 826 as well as a Q&A discussion on ways to be a better advocate for women in the workplace.
“Be a mentor,” said Julie Hill, member of the board at Anthem, Inc., one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies. “No matter where you are, there are always people who are looking for advice.”
The full scope of SB 826 will not be realized until the close of the 2021 calendar year when corporations must meet the law’s additional requirements.
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