No Seat at the Table

Women are completing professional and advanced degrees in record numbers, yet the struggle to bring women in to the corporate boardroom continues.
Professor Douglas Branson, a leading scholar of corporate law and governance, will discuss his book, “No Seat at the Table: How Corporate Governance and Law Keep Women Out of the Boardroom,” at a seminar at Seattle University School of Law Friday, October 19. The session, sponsored by the law school’s Center on Corporations, Law & Society, runs from 8-10 a.m. in Room C5 of Sullivan Hall, located at 12th and Columbia.

Following Branson’s talk, Seattle University School of Law Dean Kellye Testy, also an expert in corporate law and governance, will facilitate a panel of leading corporate directors, including Betty Woods, board chairman of Beckman Coulter, Inc., and former president and chief executive officer of Premera Blue Cross; Evelyn Cruz Sroufe, partner at Perkins Coie and board director of Virginia Mason Medical Center and the Seattle-Northwest Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors, and Annette Mulee, member of the 2007 class of the American Bar Association’s DirectWomen Institute, which promotes women attorneys to serve as corporate directors. They will respond to Branson’s talk with their own experiences and advice about entering the corporate boardroom.

Branson, the W. Edward Sell Chair in Business Law at the University of Pittsburgh, reviews corporate governance models applied at Fortune 500 companies, hundreds of Title VII discrimination cases and proxy statements to reveal the real dynamics inside the boardroom and the double standards that are often at play. Branson offers explanations for this phenomenon and advice on how women can break through the glass ceiling, such as focusing on the decision-making processes nominating committees – usually dominated by white men – employ when voting on membership.

“Coming from the pen of a leading thinker in corporate law, this book provides a powerful – if disheartening – explanation for the lack of women on corporate boards,” said Kent Greenfield, CCLS Distinguished Faculty Fellow and professor at Boston College Law School. “It is provocative, impeccably researched and compellingly written.”

Cost for the event is $40 if registered by October 8, and $50 after that. Seattle University School of Law alumni are $45.