Preparing women for the board – Harvey Nash and The University of Hong Kong announce third instalment of successful board preparedness programme

June 2, 2014

Hong Kong, 2 July 2014 – Harvey Nash, the leading executive search and leadership consulting firm and The University of Hong Kong, HKU Business School have announced the third instalment of the Women’s Directorship Programme (WDP) to be held in Hong Kong in October and November 2014. The international board preparedness programme, exclusively for women, was created in answer to the worldwide business community’s call to tackle the existing gender imbalance in boardrooms.

With less than 10% of women represented at board level positions internationally, despite comprising over 45% of the global workforce, gender balance progress is stalling.  Barriers to change include the existing entrenched male networks and the perceived lack of visible female talent. 
The answer lies in enhancing the confidence of female leaders and working to raise their visibility on a global scale.  
As a result, Harvey Nash and The University of Hong Kong created the certificated Women’s Directorship Programme in early 2013, with a view of enabling participants to be a more effective board member and to increase the supply of board-ready women executives across geographies and business sectors.  
The programme is led by international faculty members of The University of Hong Kong and consists of real life case studies and thought leadership delivered by guest speakers. The involvement of senior business leaders really sets the programme apart, providing unprecedented levels of access to their boardroom insights and experiences. Confirmed guest speakers include: 
Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems
Anne Minto, INED of Shire and Tate & Lyle 
Donald Brydon, Chairman of Sage Group and Royal Mail
Dr. Raymond Ch’ien, Chairman of Hang Seng Bank and MTR 
Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman & CEO of Schneider Electric
John Rice, Vice Chairman of GE and President & CEO of GE, Global Growth and Operations
Rick Haythornthwaite, Chairman of Centrica and MasterCard
Kirti Lad, Director of the Board Practice, Harvey Nash Executive Search Asia Pacific said: 
“Diversity of thought is an essential part of board governance, and balanced boards are proven to result in greater business success.  Through the Women’s Directorship Programme we are committed to unlocking the talent pipeline and empowering female leaders to gain the confidence and skills needed to secure board positions.” 
Through the distinguished alumni programme the participants have access to on-going support, and benefit from a global network of peers and senior business leaders. 
Professor Larry Qiu, Director of Executive Education, Faculty of Business and Economics, said: 
“The Women’s Directorship Programme enables participants to develop board communication and management skills, develop tailored career strategies, gain access to senior business leaders and benefit from peer-to-peer learning from high achieving women across different business sectors and cultures.  
“We have seen some outstanding results from the participants to date through the increased visibility of the alumni.  Our partnership with Harvey Nash demonstrates our commitment to creating lasting change and developing the top female talent of the future.”
The 2014 programme includes six modules, taught over two three-day sessions (October 9-11 and November 13-15, 2014):  
The Real-World Roles of Board and Committee Members 
Collaborative Leadership (new module – how to develop collaborative networks)
Persuasive Communication and Conflict Resolutions  
Public Company and Securities Market Regulation 
Board Appointment and Strategic Leadership  
Ethics and Compliance
Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems, WDP guest speaker said:
“Having a mixed gender board is absolutely in the best interests of business. By raising awareness of the importance of women on boards, it serves to increase the engagement of companies to make a change, and to encourage women themselves to join in the process, put themselves forward, and ultimately make boardrooms better.” 
Donald Brydon, Chairman of Sage Group and Royal Mail, WDP guest speaker:
“In order to produce a pipeline of exceptional women for boards, we need to have more initiatives like the Women’s Directorship Programme, bringing together academia and practitioners to share their experiences and explain how behaviour in the boardroom is different to behaviour in the rest of your corporate life.”
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About the Women’s Directorship Programme:
Established in 2013, the Women’s Directorship Programme (WDP) is a joint venture between Harvey Nash and The University of Hong Kong, HKU Business School.
The certificated 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.  Participants from broad ranging markets and business sectors, including banking and finance, telecoms, insurance, communications and logistics, have taken part in the programme to date.
For more information, please visit

Feedback from past participants:
Ann Coughlan, Managing Director, Bupa (Asia) Ltd. said: “The Women’s Directorship Programme offers a fantastic setting to gain new insights and understand the different dynamics that impact on the outcome of a board’s decision.  The programme provides the opportunity to interact with industry leaders from different sectors around the globe.”
Rashmi Joshi, Finance Director, Castrol India Limited, said: “The Women’s Directorship Programme provides senior women professionals with a view of what it means to be a Non-Executive Director, and more importantly a network that will support them in their progress.”

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 7,000 professionals in 43 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 HKU Business School, The University of Hong Kong:
Established in 1998 under the auspices of the HKU Business School 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.  
HKU Business School 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, 2012 and 2013. It is the only programme in Asia and Australasia that make the world’s top 50 four 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 2013, it was ranked no. 26 by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings and no. 43 by Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. HKU Business School 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:
Sophie Gray
Director of Marketing and Communications, APAC
Harvey Nash
Office: +852 3199 6942 / Mobile: +852 6696 1141
Helen Wong
Faculty of Business and Economics
The University of Hong Kong
Office: +852 3917 4311 / Mobile: +852 6199 6988