Ask senior women in the business world what they want, and many will say they want to serve on a corporate board.
But they can face barriers getting into the boardroom, which explains why women account for only about 20 percent of Fortune 500 board seats.
That’s where Deloitte and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce want to help.
The two organizations recently launched an initiative called New England Board Ready Women, designed to create a steady pipeline of potential female directors for public and private company boards.
The invitation-only program identifies high-performing senior executive women and puts them through a series of training sessions to prepare for a future placement.
Susan Esper, a partner at Deloitte and chair of the chamber’s Women’s Network Advisory Board, said the initiative aims to boost women’s confidence about going after board posts.
“A lot of times women don’t ask. You have to put yourself out there,” she said. “You have to use the network and ask.”
Deloitte and the chamber tapped their networks for names, and the first group of 18 participants includes Wendy Carruthers, a senior vice president at Boston Scientific; Diane Green, chief operating officer of Havens & Co.; Tricia Trebino, chief operations officer at Tufts Health Plan; Ellen Zucker, a partner at Burns & Levinson; and chief people officer Christina Luconi and chief marketing officer Carol Meyers, both of Rapid7.
The women attend workshops on topics such as the changing landscape of corporate governance, shareholder activism, and cybersecurity.
They are also coached on developing their personal brand.
Deloitte, which runs similar programs around the country, plans to work with the chamber on creating a second cohort of future female board members later this year.
So if you’re a senior female executive, ask about it. — SHIRLEY LEUNG
Innovation: ‘so irrelevant’
Bill Aulet isn’t afraid to say it out loud: Innovation, as a concept, means nothing to him.
“My head explodes when I hear it,” he says. “It’s so irrelevant right now.”
This may not be the type of thing that you expect to hear from the guy who runs the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, a hub of activity that supports student-run startups from across the university. But getting beyond buzzwords is part of the big-picture approach to creating companies that Aulet, a serial entrepreneur and professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Mangement, espouses in his new book, the “Disciplined Entrepreneurship Workbook,” which was released this week as a follow-up to his 2014 text “Disciplined Entrepreneurship.”
To Aulet, the current “innovation” industry is lacking in rigor.
“How are we teaching entrepreneurship?” he asks. “The fact is we don’t do a really good job of it. If someone is an entrepreneur, with a data set of one, or zero, we bring them into the classroom and what do they do? They tell stories. It’s anecdotal teaching, and it’s not rigorous.”
The workbook creates a codified, teachable curriculum, and it’s part of a larger goal that Aulet intends to spread beyond MIT’s campus. A network of online courses is the start, and from there, like any startup, he plans to grow.
“When you have entrepreneurship in your life you have hope,” he says. — JANELLE NANOS
New tune for protest songs
Chants are nice and all, but there’s nothing like singing to boost the spirits of people out walking a picket line. That’s the idea behind Boston Voices of Community and Labor, or B VOCAL, a new group that is looking to train hundreds of “rapid response” singers who can lift their pro-union voices at rallies around the city.
Because there are only so many times a person can handle “This Land Is Your Land,” B VOCAL is focused on updating the protest song repertoire with contemporary songs that address modern issues and incorporate multicultural rhythms.
Director Lisa Gallatin, chief of staff for the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, led a rousing rendition of one of those new songs, “I’m Gonna Walk It With You,” at last weekend’s Boston Labor Conference at UMass Boston.
So what makes a good protest song? According to Gallatin: a catchy melody, simple refrains, and the ability to insert lyrics that relate to the struggle of the day.
Fortunately for B VOCAL, there are plenty of words that rhyme with “Trump.” — KATIE JOHNSTON
Lamb was ‘irreplaceable’
Last week’s settlement between Attorney General Maura Healey and Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. over the lender’s providing subprime auto loans to consumers it knew couldn’t pay contained an unusual footnote.
Healey dedicated the resolution of the case to Aaron Lamb, a former assistant attorney general in her office.
If you’ve never heard of Lamb, you’re not alone.
Lamb, 38, was one of the staff members in Healey’s office who worked on the case until his unexpected death of a heart attack in December. He was part of a team that included attorneys, math experts, and investigators who work behind the scenes, poring through documents and building cases against companies.
They’re rarely in the public eye.
But in her press conference announcing the $26 million settlement between Santander and Massachusetts and Delaware, Healey said that Lamb was a “beloved colleague” and that the staff continued to mourn his loss. “He is indeed irreplaceable,” she said.
Lamb had been with the attorney general’s office for about a decade. He joined after graduating from Harvard Law School and spent most of his career in financial services enforcement, working on investigations of subprime mortgages and exchange-traded funds, as well as those into how lenders packaged and sold loans to investors.
Those investigations, many of which occurred after the housing bust and financial crisis, helped the attorney general’s office score hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements for the state and consumers from financial institutions. — DEIRDRE FERNANDES