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May/June 2018 — Vol. XXXIX      No. 230

BRINGING #MeToo INTO THE BOARDROOM by Jennifer Kennedy Park and Kimberly R. Spoerri
The past year has seen sexual harassment explode as a business issue. How do boards respond?

The past year has seen a massive shift in perceptions of sexual harassment in the workplace. Hollywood, the U.S. Congress, and corporate America all face fast-changing standards on harassment and business misconduct. With a global “#MeToo” movement bringing sharp attention to these workplace issues, boards of directors must now take a stand.

Information security staff and the board must learn to speak the same language.

Often, board members and company chief information security officers seem to speak different languages. Directors ask about the latest data hack in the news, while CISOs discuss eye-glazing tech terms and large budget expenditures. Given the growing legal and financial dangers companies face from a digital breach, both sides of the table urgently need to improve their communications.

DO CEOs NEED A “CHIEF OF STAFF”? by Madeleine Niebauer
Political leaders depend on a chief of staff to be effective. Now, smart CEOs are too.

In the White House, the most quietly influential job is to serve as the President’s chief of staff. Gatekeep, counselor, alter ego, sometimes “bad cop”—the chief of staff plays a crucial role in success. Corporate chief executives are now also discovering the value of a chief of staff, both in making the huge job of CEO more manageable, and in serving as liaison with the board.

If company reputation is a vital asset, why do boards spend little time on it?

A positive corporate reputation takes years to build, but can be destroyed in an instant. However, most of the reputational damage a crisis brings can be prevented. Making company reputation a board-level oversight matter, with ongoing positive outreach, regular assessment, and strong management tools can halt crises before they strike.

THE PROFESSIONAL DIRECTOR PHENOMENON by Eugene H. Fram and Robbie Kellman Baxter
Long frowned upon, the full-time “professional” director is making a comeback.

The concept of a “professional” director—one whose exclusive profession is serving on boards—has gone in and out of favor over the years. However, with growing board time and skill demands, the idea of a retired executive who makes governance a profession has gained renewed respect. Who are these professional directors, and what talents are needed to excel as one?

CONVERSATIONS: DEBORAH GILLIS Catalyst as the women’s boardroom trailblazer.

Before there was any #MeToo movement, and before any business diversity movements, there was Catalyst. Founded in 1962, Catalyst was America’s first nonprofit advocate for improving the status of women in the workplace. Supported by over 800 businesses and organizations, Catalyst has an impressive record as an advocate for women’s workplace issues, research, training, mentoring, and recognition of women leaders and businesses that support them.
   In 2013, the group acquired the Canada-based Women on Board program. This mentoring organization paired board-ready female candidates with CEOs and board chairs to help build the board talent pipeline for women. The program was expanded into the U.S. and, to date, has led to more than 145 board placements.
   Deborah Gillis is CEO and president of Catalyst.

IN REVIEW  Index to actions, regulations and surveys.

SPOKEN & WRITTEN  Excerpts of articles and speeches.

DIRECTORS' REGISTER  Recent board elections.

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