At a recent event celebrating D Magazine’s (must read) September cover story on “78 Women Changing the Face of Dallas,” I ran into Mimi Crume Sterling. She recently left a high-ranking position at Neiman Marcus to replace the retiring Paige Flink as CEO of The Family Place.
What surprised me wasn’t the fact that Sterling shifted from the corporate to the nonprofit world but that she stayed in Dallas. Before moving to North Texas a few years back, she lived and worked in New York for nearly two decades. When I asked about this, Sterling told me that she and her husband had grown to love Dallas. What really stands out, she said, is the way people in business support one another. “Especially women,” she said. “Women really help one another here.”
One terrific example of that kind of support is 50/50 Women on Boards. Led locally by Toyota’s Tracey Doi, Kimberly-Clark’s A. Shonn Brown, and EY’s Thear Suzuki and Darcy Cowell, the group’s mission is to educate, advocate, and collaborate with companies to achieve balanced gender representation on corporate boards. Just as critical, the national organization produces research and maintains a gender diversity directory and index to track the progress of women and share insights that compel good corporate governance.
The Dallas group has a leadership committee composed of more than 50 top local execs with monthly virtual meetings and learning sessions. On Nov. 4, the group will host a conversation on board diversity featuring keynotes from Michael Hsu, chair and CEO of Kimberly-Clark; Debbie Kissire, former vice chair and regional managing partner of EY; and Michelle Frymire, CEO of CWT. (Read more about her here.) Afterward, coaching sessions with directors will help participants map their own path to the boardroom.
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