Get Savage news, trends and information.

Sign Up Now

 

 

Board diversity provides important perspectives

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

Diversity among board members is important for companies, but prospective board members need to have a background and expertise to provide good insights. Janet Gurwitch, operating partner of Castanea Partners and board member of La-Z-Boy Inc. talks to Brandonomics about what she brings to the boardroom.


Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I am Robin Tooms, Vice President of Strategy at Savage, and I’m here today with Janet Gurwitch, Founder and Former CEO of Laura Mercier Cosmetics. So, Janet, welcome back.

Janet: Thank you, Robin.

Robin: Well, I want to talk today more about your work on the board of directors for Laz-E-Boy. Why is it important for companies like theirs to consider women such as yourself on their boards?

Janet: I think diversity in boards is key for whatever brand you have. And at Laz-E-Boy they had an all-male board, and they actually added two women when I got on their board, which was in 2009. They wanted someone who had been in the C-suite, and I had been CEO of Laura Mercier. They wanted someone who was from a different region. Laz-E-Boy is based in Detroit, and they wanted someone – I was from Texas obviously. And they wanted someone who had been with a high-end retailer, and I had been with Neiman Marcus.

Robin: So a perfect combination there.

Janet: A good combination.

Robin: Well, for those trying to consider that leadership path, what advice would you give, just to get started?

Janet: If you wanted to serve on a public board, I would say first you need the same background that a man would have. You need to have been in the C-suite or be an attorney. Oftentimes they want someone who has been in that industry, so, you know, they wouldn’t put me on an oil company board, but I was in consumer products. I had a headhunter; I used Russell Reynolds, Steve Newton in Houston, who found this job for me. Also NACD, National Association of Corporate Directors, is a great networking group, and in Houston it’s a very strong chapter and it’s a great way to learn how to get on a board.

Robin: Okay, thank you. That is great advice to get started with. I appreciate you sharing.

Janet: Thank you.

Robin: Well this has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.

 

 

Castanea Partners is a middle market private equity firm focused on investing in dynamic consumer brands, multi-channel retail and marketing services companies. The firm draws on the leadership, advisory and investing experience of its partners and professionals. http://www.castaneapartners.com/

Icon Purpose Red

If you’re interested in knowing more about how purposeful companies attract the best employees, build loyal relationships with customers, and differentiate themselves from the competition, then let’s start a conversation.