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80% of This Public Company’s Directors Are Women

June 19, 2017, 10:04 PM UTC

At a time when most companies are struggling to recruit and retain female directors, one company boasts a board in which women outnumber men four-to-one.

On Monday, Travelzoo (TZOO) announced that it has the highest female-to-male ratio of any NASDAQ or NYSE-listed company (a group that includes nearly 6,000 businesses).

The board includes five directors, two of whom are new additions: Rachel Barnett, the company’s currently general counsel across Travelzoo North America, Europe and Asia Pacific; and Carrie Liu, executive director of Fosun China Momentum Fund, a Chinese investment group.

The company’s other directors are CEO Ralph Bartel, former Deloitte LLP partner Mary Reilly, and travel search engine Mobissimo founder and CEO Beatrice Tarka.

During a Monday afternoon panel in New York City with the female directors, famed journalist Tina Brown called the company a “unicorn” for its female-friendly culture.

That’s an apt descriptor, given that women still account for an average of just 20% of board seats nationwide, according to Egon Zehnder’s 2016 Global Board Diversity Analysis. Moreover, of the NASDAQ or NYSE-listed companies, a mere 23 have a balanced ratio of 50% or more female-to-male representation on their boards, according to board and executive data provider Equilar.

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Travelzoo’s majority female board wasn’t a conscious goal, but it wasn’t exactly accidental either, said Reilly, who was the only female director when she joined in 2013. “It makes sense since 64% of our members are women and women are usually the ones buying trips,” she said. The company’s global workforce—which is 70% female—reflects its customers.

Tarka, who runs her company out of Silicon Valley and is a member of a “support group” for female directors (she didn’t specify who else is in the group) said that being on the Travelzoo board feels “very comfortable” compared to other women’s experiences: “You don’t have to prove anything.”

When asked about what women directors bring to the table—aside from diversity of perspective—Reilly said that, anecdotally, women are more attuned to company culture. She brought up Arianna Huffington, who has recently been in the news for her attempts to change the culture at Uber, as one example.