PWN Romania: Women on Boards Programme - Constantly Evolving

The PWN Romania Women on Boards (WoB) pillar has grown into a strong community of women leaders, animated by the same values and a strong belief in efficient corporate governance. To celebrate the beauty of this active community, the pillar has created a yearly event for all the WoB programmes alumni. 

PWN Romania Women on Boards Annual CelebrationIn January 2023, PWN Romania organized the first Women on Boards Alumni Reunion, summoning up WoB’s vibrant graduated members, keynote speakers, mentors and partners. The event also represented the result of our efforts to build a national support network – recruiting all the stakeholders involved in achieving gender balance in leadership positions, and in society in general - with support and best practices from our international partners.

The Alumni Reunion provided the perfect opportunity for a quick recap of all the victories registered by the Women on Boards pillar lately. Beginning with the successful launch of the latest editions of the Academy and the Mentoring programme, both perfectly tailored to address the latest challenges facing today’s women leaders. 

The Women on Boards Academy – already a PWN Romania trademark – benefits, from the volunteer work of well-known speakers, who share their experience and advice with dynamic and involved cohorts of women willing to step on the journey towards the board room. The programme that we run now is in its 4th edition and it is structured into four modules, with nine seminars of 4 hours each, bringing forward precious insights into board activity. The programme includes necessary topics for the participants who are, or aim to become, Board members, such as: international and local legal framework, code of governance, best practices in corporate governance, principles, roles and responsibilities of the Board members, competencies and skills, technical knowledge (finance, audit, taxes, technology, risk management, compliance), ESG, communication, Board dynamics and human resources. In this last part, the participants are accustomed to the way they should prepare and present themselves to become a Board member. Each session has a renowned guest speaker who opens the broad theme and at least two other experienced presenters who share knowledge, examples, best practices, and valuable information. It is very much a practical and interactive approach, with examples and case studies from real life; the participants are encouraged to actively ask questions and be engaged in the discussions.

Guidance for Women Aspiring to Board Careers

Inspired by the Mentoring pillar, the Women on Boards Mentoring Program – currently unfolding its second edition – is the first initiative of this kind, designed to offer guidance to women aspiring to or beginning their Board career. The mentors, who gracefully agreed to volunteer their time and experience, are equally men and women who have a proven track record of relevant board success. Moreover, because horizontal mentoring has proven its long-lasting impact, this edition of WoB Mentoring will also include two special group mentoring sessions, aimed at tackling important issues in a mastermind format, where mentees and mentors can share and identify together broad or specific solutions. 

Partnerships Create Impact

The positive feedback we have received from our participants and speakers has encouraged us to nurture our efforts in all strategic directions related to this pillar. To broaden the pillar’s audience and to improve the portfolio of speakers who share their know-how, the pillar has signed partnerships with national and international organizations that can provide participants, expertise and new perspective on leadership. We have partnered with European Women on Boards, with whom we are taking an important step towards becoming an efficient gender-balance generator, at leadership level. Together, we support and advocate for the newly approved EC Directive on gender-balanced representation at the Board level. We also formalized our agreements with the Association for Romanian Investor Relations, the Romanian Diplomatic Institute, International Women’s Associations, and the Association for Independent Administrator, approaching a more diverse knowledge pool and creating a stronger network to better train and promote the next generation of women leaders. 

The pillar’s advocacy efforts have been acknowledged at the level of state authorities, consolidating the already good relationship with the National Authority for Equal Opportunities. This path has led us to get involved in drafting the national legislation that implements the EC’s Directive on gender-balanced representation in the Board room. We translated this involvement into recognition of all our efforts to promote gender balance and of our extensive expertise in preparing women to take their seats in the Board room. 

Data Drives Progress

As we reflect, we see that the Women on Boards pillar has provided a solid foundation on which to build the new gender-balanced legislation, by conducting the second edition of its research study which maps the current situation of gender representation at leadership level. Designed in partnership with Deloitte, the study offers insightful data to act as a starting point for efficient legislation to correct the gaps. At the same time, this project has provided inspiration for new, similar initiatives on other pillars, such as PWN Romania’s Entrepreneurship pillar, which picked up on mapping the gender distribution in the business environment in order to calibrate programmes that would enable women to open a business.

PWN Romania Women on Boards Annual CelebrationThis year’s Women on Boards Alumni Reunion was the perfect time to project the future we are all envisioning for the pillar, for PWN Romania and for gender-balanced leadership. Apart from constantly improving and adding new elements to WoB’s existing programmes, the pillar is moving forward in all its strategic directions. We are consolidating the database of Board-ready women and pushing for new partnerships to support promoting our members into board positions – enabled by the accelerated expansion of our partnership pool. Encouraged by the practical insights provided by our 2022 research study, and the potential it has to monitor the efficiency of the incoming legislation, we are discussing the launch of a new edition. Last, but not least, our advocacy efforts will keep up the pace, especially as implementing the EC’s Directive on gender balance in the Board room is merely the first step towards achieving our mission. It is important to support the process, not just by preparing a high-quality selection pool, but also by promoting the importance of diversity and balance at leadership level.

Given PWN Romania’s membership growth this year, we are hopeful that the new members will bring new energy and ideas to the Women on Boards pillar as well. As such, we are confident that we will open the summer holidays celebrating great achievements and even bigger plans for the next season of impactful programmes supporting gender-balanced leadership.



Date: April 2023
Author: Violeta Ciurel, PWN Romania
Copy Editor: Rebecca Fountain, The Marketing Fountain

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