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General Motors : The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) seeks to increase women serving on corporate boards

08/25/2014 | 03:34pm US/Eastern

The Detroit chapter of the National Association of Women's Business Owners (NAWBO) has launched an initiative to assure that more women serve on corporate boards in the Detroit area and nationally.

As part of this initiative, NAWBO will host a panel of business women who are already serving on corporate boards on Thursday, Aug. 7, to share their experiences, successes and disappointments to provide valuable tips for obtaining board appointments. The panel will be a part of NAWBO's annual Women on "Board" Cruise on the Detroit River.

"NAWBO Detroit continues to expose women in business to information that strengthens their careers," said Tanya R. Allen, president and CEO, ForeverFresh and committee chairperson of Women on "Board" Cruise. "This is not your average networking group.

"We build connections and relationships differently and we do business differently than men. With a small percentage of women serving on paid corporate boards, we believe this experienced panel of women will connect and educate attendees on how to prepare for these positions while sharing personal experiences that led to their positions on various corporate boards."

"Even the name of this event has special meaning to women," said NAWBO President Mousumi (Mo) Sarkar, managing director, Aristo Preci Consulting LLC. "The Women on 'Board' Cruise places emphasis in a fun way on the event's primary objective, to get more Detroit area women serving on corporate boards.

"Corporate sponsors see the value of greater representation of women on corporate boards. General Motors, NAWBO's corporate partner, has received one of the highest ratings for the number of women serving on its Board of Directors.

General Motors has five female directors on its current board. This is an accomplishment we hope other corporations will take note of and emulate."

NAWBO is the unified voice of America's more than 10 million women-owned businesses. NAWBO's Detroit Chapter is helping to ensure that the voices of southeastern Michigan are also heard for the valuable knowledge women business owners bring to the community while addressing the challenges women face. One of these challenges is the ability to be recruited for and appointed to corporate boards.

Presently there are less than 100 women nationally serving on corporate boards and the number of women serving on Southeast region boards is equally underwhelming. NAWBO has taken the charge to encourage and help prepare women to successfully seek and get these appointments. The Women on Bard Cruise will depart the Detroit Port Authority dock at 7 pm on the evening of Aug. 7. This event includes a strolling dinner, desserts, networking and an opportunity to ask questions of panelists.

Panelists are:

* Jewell D. Hoover, board member, Fifth Third Bancorp

Hoover serves as the President and Principal of Hoover and Associates, LLC. She also serves on the boards of AARP; Foundation for the Carolinas; Board of Advisors for the University of North Carolina Center for Banking and Finance; and is a former member of the Board of Trustees for Wingate University and the North Carolina Banking Commission. She is a retired bank regulator and served at the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for 28 years. The OCC's primary mission is to charter, regulate, and supervise all national banks and federal savings associations. It also supervises the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. She resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.

* Tonya Allen, president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation

Allen is the driving force behind The Skillman Foundation's charge to improve the plight of underserved people, especially children in Detroit. She serves on the boards of The Funders Network, a resource for foundations, nonprofit organizations, and other partners working to solve the problems created by suburban sprawl and urban disinvestment. She also serves on the boards of Grantmakers of Children and Living Cities.

* Billie K. Dragoo, immediate past chair, National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)

Dragoo is owner and CEO of RepuCare, a health professional staffing firm serving hospitals, clinics and nursing homes in Indiana. She is a board member of the Women's Fund of Central Indiana, a special interest fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

* Sue Carnell, board member, Center for Exceptional Families Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center

Since 2010 Carnell has served on the center's board. The center is a comprehensive, coordinated, family-focused facility that cares for children with developmental disabilities, acquired disabilities, and chronic, complex disorders. She has also served on the boards of Grand Valley State University and The Guidance Center.

* Fran Parker, executive director, UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust

Parker directs the largest non-government purchaser of retiree health care in the United States. The Trust provides access to health care coverage for nearly 760,000 eligible retirees and their dependents from GM, Chrysler and Ford. She serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Dana VEBA, Bosch VEBA and ACC VEBA, as chair of Board of Regents for Eastern Michigan University, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Detroit Area Health Council and on the Alliance for Health Reform Board of Directors.

"NAWBO Detroit continues to expose women in business to information that strengthens their careers."

- Tanya R. Allen

(c) 2014 Michigan Chronicle

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