Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Apple TV Plus kicks off with Oprah Winfrey, women in VC have a new way to connect, and boards are getting bigger to get more diverse. Have a lovely Tuesday.
• Room for growth. PwC tracks what it classifies as “younger board directors”—those age 50 and under—and a new report on the cohort came out yesterday. An unmistakable takeaway is that women are making up a larger share of this constituency—37% in 2018 versus 31% the year prior. Of those independent “younger directors” who joined boards for the first time in 2018, more than half—61%—were female. Those figures reflect the uptick in female directors in the S&P 500 overall—24%—an increase from 18% five years earlier.
Another notable trend: As firms look to diversify their boardrooms in terms of gender, race, and age, they seem to be changing their criteria for candidates. They’re becoming less insistent on board hopefuls having CEO experience, a qualification that applies to a (let’s be honest, mostly white, mostly male) sliver of the business professional population. The PwC report found that 24% of new independent younger directors are current or former CEOs, compared to 37% of the existing class.
That finding may point to the time crunch CEOs are under, says Paul DeNicola, a principal in PwC’s Governance Insights Center. “CEOs can really no longer commit to more than one board” because of the hours each seat requires. But it also indicates, to some degree, that “boards are not using CEO experience for a yardstick of whether [someone’s] qualified,” DeNicola says. “That expands the pool of candidates.”
Another way boards seem to be adding diversity to their ranks is by expanding in size, rather than waiting for seats to become vacant, which can happen at a downright leisurely pace. “In the S&P 500 overall, more than half of the new women joining boards in 2018 came on when the board increased its size,” the report says. (At the same time, five-year data from global search firm Spencer Stuart finds that across the entire S&P 500 average board size has remained relatively steady at 10.8 directors.)
When TripAdvisor added two female directors—Betsy L. Morgan and Trynka Shineman Blake—earlier this month, it contributed to this trend, boosting its board from eight directors to ten.
“We don’t want to be contained if we see great candidates who bring an element of diversity,” TripAdvisor’s Chief People Officer Beth Grous told me. Having a board that’s varied in terms of gender, background, and ethnicity “helps us have the right kinds of conversations from a more informed position,” she said. (TripAdvisor’s board announcement, it should be noted, came amid criticism of its response to travelers’ sexual assault claims.)
As boards grow to meet investors’ demand for diversity, there is one question that pops to mind: Just how big will they get? “If a board is going to increase its size to add diversity, it’s not going to double,” DeNicola says. Plus, he says, “the benefits of having more diversity” far outweigh “any potential drawbacks of inefficiencies.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Book club in a billion pockets. Apple’s big event yesterday closed out with Oprah Winfrey, who gave us some new information about her deal with the company’s new platform, Apple TV Plus. She’s producing two documentaries, one called Toxic Labor about harassment and assault in the workplace and one about mental health—and she’ll launch a new book club. “Because they’re in a billion pockets, y’all,” she says. Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston also shared some insight into their Apple show, which we now know is called The Morning Show. The show will “pull back the curtain on the power dynamics between men and women in the high stakes world of morning news shows,” Witherspoon said.
• Another one back again. Another man accused of sexual misconduct has decided it’s time for his comeback. This time around, it’s Dave McClure, the ousted chief executive of 500 Startups. Christine Tsai, a co-founder of the firm, took over 500 Startups; McClure is now trying to raise a $100 million fund that will purchase stakes in smaller funds.
• Couric’s take on STEM. In this Fortune op-ed, Katie Couric writes about how to eliminate bias against women in science. “Watching mom always doing household chores or tossing out throwaway lines like, ‘Ask your dad, I’m bad at math,’ might seem harmless enough,” Couric writes, “but these actions reinforce stereotypes that can prevent a girl from becoming the next Ginni Rometty.”
• Who’s investing? There’s a new, first-of-its-kind database documenting women in venture capital—who they are, what they’re investing in, and more. VCs Sutian Dong and Jessica Peltz-Zatulove worked on the project for several years, and the database itself revealed some interesting insights. One of them: women investors are still largely limited to seed and Series A rounds and haven’t made significant progress in growth-stage investing.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Front hired Jenny Decker as CFO. Katie Drummond is the new SVP of Vice Digital.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Equal pay pays off. Mikaela Shiffrin dominates women’s Alpine skiing—and dominates the men in terms of prize money. She took home 1.6 times as much in winnings as the top male Alpine skier thanks to her record-setting wins in the World Cup tour and the sport’s equal prize money awarded to its male and female competitors.
Wall Street Journal
• The risks of flying solo. Solo travel is growing in popularity among women—but it can be both risky and rewarding. This piece examines the horrific violence female solo travelers have faced and offers tips from experts on how to explore on your own. “The more we tell women not to travel alone and the more we send the message that the world is very dangerous, in a way, we are also supporting that belief,” says Hannah Gavios, who was attacked while traveling alone in Thailand. “Rather than horrifying people, I want people to go into it with a little more bravery and a little more knowledge.”
New York Times
• A slight improvement… Women who work at Goldman Sachs in the U.K. now make 50.6% less than their male colleagues per hour—which is, believe it or not, an improvement over the last time Goldman reported the figure and women faced a 56% gap. For bonuses, the disparity is even worse—women are paid out 66.7% less.
• Stylist to all kinds of stars. The New Yorker profiles Karla Welch, the stylist who’s dressed everyone from Justin Bieber to Anita Hill. She was also a key force behind the Golden Globes 2018 red carpet in support of Time’s Up, dressing eight clients in black dresses. “I’ve upped the visibility of women who weren’t necessarily fashion’s first choices,” Welch says.
The New Yorker