The Corporate Board Initiative


The Credo of the Women’s Forum of New York starts with “we believe the potential for women should be unlimited and opportunities should be as well.” Seats on corporate boards represent a leadership frontier for women. Women hold only 20% of S&P 500/ F1000 board seats despite repeated studies by McKinsey, Credit Suisse and others that confirm what progressive companies already know: gender balance in the boardroom contributes to better decision making and a better bottom line.

In 2011 our Forum founded our Corporate Board Initiative to accelerate the advancement of women on corporate boards across all industry sectors. Our strategy reflects our belief that change happens more quickly when it’s driven from the top. Our initiative focuses on the game-changers: CEOs, Chairman, Nom./Gov. chairs and Directors who can truly accelerate the advancement of women on boards, with the overarching goal of achieving gender balance on corporate Boards by 2025.


Breakfast of Corporate Champions

The flagship program of our Corporate Board Initiative is our biennial salute to companies and leaders who are actively advancing women on corporate boards. The Breakfast of Corporate Champions honors S&P 500/ F1000 companies who measurably exceed the national average of Board Seats held by women with special recognition approaching our goal of parity with at least 40% of board seats, and a singular Muriel F. Siebert Leadership Award presented to a company and CEO that has achieved parity and implemented policies and actions that can inspire others to follow.

The 2019 Breakfast honored over 250 companies and attracted an at capacity audience of over 600 decision makers.

We are proud to commemorate the fifth biennial Breakfast of Corporate Champions with a collection of inspiring testimonials from CEO Champions. These outstanding leaders share their views on why gender parity in the boardroom is a strategic business imperative and how to make it happen. The views captured in What Makes a Champion? are powerful, persuasive and practical. A digital copy is available below.

CEO Sponsored Database of Board Ready Women

Price Waterhouse Coopers studies have shown that 90% of board seats are sourced from the boards’ own networks. That’s why in 2013 the Women’s Forum of New York launched a unique database to bring more women into those networks and increase the pipeline of board ready women. We invited our CEO Champions to sponsor women they believe are board ready for this database, which is available to search firms and nom-gov committees free of charge through the Women’s Forum website. Every candidate in the database is profiled by the criteria most search firms seek in board candidates and is uniquely vetted because she is sponsored by a CEO. In 2018, we enhanced the reach of our database by partnering with Equilar, which will add our database to their Diversity Network and also make it available through BoardEdge.