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Women directors drive business growth

Harvey Nash and The University of Hong Kong deliver board preparedness programme to increase gender balance on boards

Hong Kong, 5 September 2013 - Harvey Nash, the leading Executive Search firm and The University of Hong Kong, Executive Education of the Faculty of Business and Economics, have announced the second installment of The Women's Directorship Programme (WDP) is to be held in Hong Kong in February and March 2014.  The international board preparedness programme is exclusively aimed at women, created in answer to the worldwide business community's call to tackle the existing gender imbalance in boardrooms.

More companies across the globe are starting to recognise the competitive advantage of having a gender balanced board.  A more diverse board serves to better represent the interests of shareholders and stakeholders and is proven to result in greater business success. But with less than 10% of women represented at board level positions internationally, progress is slow.

Harvey Nash and Executive Education of the Faculty of Business and Economics created the certificated Women's Directorship Programme in early 2013 with a view enabling participants to be more effective at managing boards, and serves to increase the supply of board-ready women executives across geographies and business sectors.  

The programme has two core components - world class teaching by international faculty members of Hong Kong University and real life case studies and thought leadership delivered by senior business leaders. This year's guest speakers include Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems; Donald Brydon, Chairman of Sage Group and Royal Mail; Susan Gilchrist, CEO of Brunswick Group;  Ruth Markland, Senior INED of Standard Chartered Bank and Arcadis,  Anne Minto, INED of Shire and Tate & Lyle, John Rice, Vice Chairman of GE and Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman & CEO of Schneider Electric.  

Nick Marsh, Managing Director, Harvey Nash Asia Pacific said: "Board diversity is an essential ingredient for continued growth and business success.  WDP has proved to be a positive catalyst in empowering the next generation of women leaders to gain the confidence and skills needed to secure a board position." 

He added: "We are committed to unlocking the talent pipeline and are enabling more senior business women to reach the boardroom.  We are already starting to see the transformation through the enlarged group of board-ready participants and their impact as agents of change."

Following the conclusion of the inaugural WDP, Harvey Nash will work closely with the participants to partner with the wider executive search community to ensure that the alumni are well positioned to take on board positions. 

Only two months after the completion of the inaugural programme, 30% of participants now hold board positions or have achieved a promotion. 

Ruth Rowan, Marketing Director AMEA of the BT Group, described the course as broadening her experience and perspective and pointed to the opportunity to network with senior business leaders. She added: "I'm certainly delighted that I took the initiative to join this course and would encourage anyone, male or female to think more broadly about how we invest in developing ourselves to the same extent that we consider how we develop our teams and our businesses.  It's only going to be a win-win for everyone." 

Companies often highlight the lack of a skilled talent pool of women - though research consistently demonstrates this is not the case.  Female leaders are simply more hidden and less inclined to put themselves forward as they do not feel empowered or ready to take on a board role.  Many current female leaders highlight a lack of confidence as a key barrier to their progression. WDP is designed specifically support female executives to rise to the boardroom.

Professor Amy H. Lau, Director of Executive Education, Faculty of Business and Economics, said: "The Women's Directorship Programme highlights the keys to success in a woman's career - sponsorship, mentoring, coaching and networking. The programme enables participants to develop board communication and management skills, develop tailored strategies to realise their career ambition, gain access to senior business leaders and benefit from peer-to-peer learning from high achieving women from different business sectors and cultures.  

"We have seen some outstanding results from our 2013 participants and we are very pleased with the increased visibility of the alumni.  We are committed to creating lasting change and developing the top female talent of the future."

The 2014 programme will include five modules, taught over two three-day sessions (February 13-15 and March 20-22, 2014) and will cover the following subjects:  

  • The Real-World Roles of Board and Committee Members 
  • Persuasive Communication and Conflict Resolutions  
  • Public Company and Securities Market Regulation 
  • Board Appointment and Strategic Leadership  
  • Ethics and Compliance

Donald Brydon, Chairman of Sage Group and Royal Mail and guest speaker for the upcoming programme said:  "In this fast paced world we need to ensure the business community evolves to best reflect the interests of consumers - well balanced boardrooms are important in achieving success.  

This programme is most beneficial in terms of enhancing the development of women leaders to provide the next generation of board members.  I am delighted to be able to offer my insights and share my experiences of the boardroom to assist this project."

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About the Women's Directorship Progamme:

Established in 2013, the Women's Directorship Programme (WDP) is a joint venture between Harvey Nash and The University of Hong Kong, Executive Education of the Faculty of Business and Economics.

The programme is designed to equip participants with the skills and knowledge needed to demonstrate they are ready for the responsibilities of the boardroom as a Director or Non-Executive Director.

Fifteen participants from a range of business sectors, including banking and finance, telecoms, insurance, communications and logistics, took part in the inaugural programme in early 2013.

On completion of the six day program and upon successful completion of an examination, a Board Directorship Program certificate with QR Registration number will be given to the participant.  

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About Harvey Nash: 

Established in 1988, Harvey Nash has supported many of the world's leading organisations to recruit, source and manage the highly skilled talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive and technology driven world. 

With 4,000 professionals in 40 offices across the USA, Europe and Asia the Group has the reach and resources of a global organisation, whilst fostering a culture of innovation and agility that empowers its people to respond to constantly changing client needs. We work with clients, both large and small, to deliver a portfolio of services: executive search, professional recruitment and outsourcing. 

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About Executive Education of the Faculty of Business and Economics, The University of Hong Kong:

Established in 1998 under the auspices of the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Hong Kong, Executive Education specialises in providing Executive Programmes to executives of local, regional and international private and public organisations.  With the support of our faculty members' expertise in the broad spectrum of business areas, we recognise the latest development as well as the challenges and opportunities in today's volatile global economy.  We have also partnered with the best universities in the world by offering cutting-edged customised corporate programmes for senior executives and contributing to bring their organisations to new heights and achieve outstanding performance.  

The Faculty of Business and Economics was founded in 2001 through the amalgamation of the School of Business and the School of Economics and Finance. It aims to be a leading institution for business and economics education and research in Asia and offer top quality degree programmes and executive education programmes that serve the needs of the business sector and the community. Its MBA full time programme, offered in partnerships with CBS and LBS has a strong Asia and China focus and was ranked Asia's no. 1 in the World MBA Rankings released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in 2010, 2011 and 2012. It is the only programme in Asia and Australasia that make the world's top 50 three years in a row.  Furthermore, its EMBA-Global Asia is an Asian extension of the top quality programme (EMBA-Global) in the world.

The University of Hong Kong has gained international recognition for its accomplishments as a research-led comprehensive university.  In 2012, it was ranked no. 23 by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings and no. 35 by Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. The Faculty of Business and Economics continues to attract top students from Hong Kong and beyond. It admits the highest proportion of non-local undergraduate students amongst all the 10 Faculties. Three of its undergraduate programmes are ranked among the University's top 10 programmes.  It is fully accredited by the European Quality Improvement Systems (EQUIS). Its accounting and business programmes are also accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). 

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Media Relations contacts:

Linde Wolters
Ogilvy Public Relations
Office: +852 2884 8656 

Angela Kor
Ogilvy Public Relations
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Helen Wong
Faculty of Business and Economics
The University of Hong Kong
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