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Bolder Policies for Diversity at the Top?

Has the time come for bolder policies at the top of the corporation? In almost all countries, the percentage of female CEOs is less than 5 percent and female board directors hover between 10 percent and 15 percent. Given that university graduates are now more than 50 percent female and the labor forces are also nearly equally divided by gender, the lack of penetration of women to the top of the corporation is stunning.

The conference takes for granted that diversity has an important property of social justice and other benefits, but to this adds the question at what cost to private liberties and economic performance. This half-day event began with a keynote address followed by two panels and active debate.

Click to see photos from the event


Friday December 10, 2010
8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Venue: The Italian Academy

Co-hosted by: The Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College and the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics

8:00 – 8:15 AM

Breakfast and Conference Registration

8:15 – 8:30 AM

Welcome and Introduction
Debora Spar
President, Barnard College.

Bruce Kogut
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Professor of Leadership and Ethics;
Director, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center, Columbia Business School (Download presentation PPT | See video).

8:30 – 9:30 AM

Keynote Presentation:

Esther Duflo
Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, MIT:
"Political Reservation and Substantive Representation: Evidence from Indian Panchayats" (Download presentation PPT)
(40 minute presentation, 20 minute Q & A)

9:30 – 11:00 AM

Research Panel:

See video of the panel's presentations and discussion.

Ann Bartel (Moderator)
Merrill Lynch Professor of Workforce Transformation, Chair, Economics Subdivision, Columbia Business School.

Amy Dittmar
Associate Professor of Finance, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan:
"The Impact on Firm Valuation of Mandated Female Board Representation." (Download presentation PPT)

David Ross
Assistant Professor, Columbia Business School:
"Some Research on the Business Case for Diversity and the Attitudes of Male Executives" (Download presentation PPT)

Mona Lena Krook
Assistant Professor of Political Science and Women and Gender Studies, Washington University in St. Louis:
"Quotas for Women on Corporate Boards: Lessons From Politics" (Download presentation PPT)

Susan Sturm
George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility, Columbia Law School:
"Reframing the Equality Agenda" (Download presentation PPT)

(15 minute presentations, 30 minute Q & A)

11:00– 11:15 AM

Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:15 PM

Industry Leaders Session: "Recruiting for Boards and CEOs"

See video of the panel discussion.

Gillian Tett (Moderator)
U.S. Managing Editor, Financial Times.

Barbara Colwell BUS '80
Corporate Director; Advisory Board member, Women Corporate Directors; and Former Executive Director, ThinkQuest NYC.

James DeGraffenreidt BUS '78
Corporate Director; Former chairman and CEO of WGL Holdings, Inc.

Sheila Hooda
Senior Managing Director, TIAA-CREF.

Ellen Stafford-Sigg
Board Member, Deloitte LLP; and Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

12:15 – 12:30 PM

Closing Remarks:
Kathryn Kolbert
Director, Athena Center for Leadership Studies; Professor of Leadership Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University.

Gita Johar
Meyer Feldberg Professor of Business; Vice Dean for Research, Columbia Business School.

Research faculty who would like to learn more about this symposium can contact: leadershipethics (AT) gsb (DOT) columbia (DOT) edu.



Financial Innovation: A Risky Business?

Watch the trailer for our interactive debate exploring the value of financial markets, the interaction between government and innovation, and what role markets should play in society.

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This event was presented by Fred Friendly Seminars in partnership with the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics, and was part of Columbia Business School’s Individual, Business and Society (IBS) curriculum.

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2014 Klion Forum

When: April 15th, 2014 6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Where: 3022 Broadway
Calder Lounge, Uris Hall (1st Floor)
New York, NY 10027

Register Now >

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Join Ms. Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, and Ms. Ellen Kaden, chief legal and government affairs officer of Campbell Soup, for a fireside chat moderated by Professor Bruce Kogut on board governance and maintaining high ethical principles in a competitive market.

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Featured Video

With rapidly changing consumer tastes, many food companies are looking to expand their markets at home and overseas. How does an iconic American company stay relevant?

Featured Research

The Small Worlds of Corporate Governance
Identifies "structural breaks" — privatization, for example, or globalization — and assesses why powerful actors across countries behave similarly or differently in terms of network properties and corporate governance.


Program Brochure

View the Bernstein Center brochure, Ethical Challenges in Business