A Critical Mass
Fourteen forward-looking companies ensure that women have opportunities to lead.
Honor Roll and Special Distinction companies provide successful models of how to attract and retain highly qualified women leaders. They provide the support necessary to encourage both women and men to “lean in” to their careers.
The stakes are high. To compete globally, we must engage the full array of talented Minnesota women and men as our corporate leaders. A cultural revolution requires full participation. Women leaders themselves, their male colleagues and the companies where they work hold joint responsibility for addressing the barriers that hold women back from attaining a critical mass of top corporate leadership positions — both the internal barriers that may keep women from stepping forward and the external, structural barriers identified by research.
Honor Roll criteria
The Minnesota Census Honor Roll recognizes companies with both 20 percent or more women corporate directors and 20 percent or more women executive officers. Special Distinction is awarded to companies with 30 percent or more women directors and 30 percent or more women executive officers.
Minnesota Census companies have boards ranging from two to 15 seats in 2013 and list from one to 16 Section 16b executive officers. Therefore, Honor Roll criteria focus on percentages of women corporate directors and women executive officers.
The Honor Roll companies listed at right include the names of CEOs, those in the best position to serve as catalysts for change. Special Distinction companies are highlighted. In 2013, four Minnesota companies attained this critical mass of 30 percent or more women on both their boards and in their executive offices.
"Special Distinction companies all have 30 percent
or more women directors and 30 percent or more women
Six Minnesota companies have retained Honor Roll status over the past six years:
MTS Systems has held Special Distinction company status all six years. CyberOptics has held Special Distinction status for five years.
All six companies maintain a diverse corporate leadership team despite director and executive officer turnover. Research documents the positive impact of at least three women on the board or on the executive leadership team (Torchia et al., 2011).
Departures and Additions
In many cases, the movement of one woman on or off the board or into or out of the executive offices dictated Honor Roll membership, revealing the tenuous nature of the progress Minnesota companies continue to make toward changing the face of their corporate leadership teams.
- UnitedHealth Group departed the Honor Roll after adding a new director seat and appointing a man to fill it.
- Target lost Special Distinction status after five years due to a net decrease in women corporate directors. The company lost one woman and did not replace her, resulting in a board of 11, three of whom are women.
- Xcel Energy joined the Honor Roll by reducing the number of executive officer positions by one; three of 15 executive officers are women, and three of 12 board members are women.
- Capella gained Honor Roll status by reducing the size of its board of directors. No women were added to the board, but the percentage of women increased.
- St. Jude Medical returned to the Honor Roll after dropping off in 2012. The company added a new woman executive officer.