Advancing Women on Boards

The Advancing Women on Boards Initiative is a practical approach for organisations to invest in the development of high-performing, high-potential female leaders, and to increase the representation and participation of women at a senior executive and board level.

How can we support female leaders?

Increasing Female Participation at Board Level

For industry, government, academia, and corporates, the ability to access a qualified talent pool of women for participation at a senior executive and board level (including committees, panels, advisory, and governance boards) is critical in today’s economic, social and governance context.

Supporting female business owners and entrepreneurs to engage and/or appoint women to their boards as advisors or mentors is a key factor in driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth. A portfolio-style career is attractive to many professional women as it enables them to engage at a very senior level with organisations in a board or advisory capacity via flexible arrangements that support other personal and professional commitments.


In our latest State of the Market Report, our research found a distinct shift in how professionals are seeking to engage at a board level with an increasing move away from traditional governance board and director roles into advisory boards. Globally the number of advisory boards grew by more than 52% since 2019, yet women make up 30% of qualified advisory board professionals. In the role of advisory board Chair, women represent 27% of professional Chairs.

Advisory boards value diversity of thought and can only be truly represented by people from diverse backgrounds, including gender. Corporatised advisory boards are the highest growing leadership evolution in the market today. Harnessing this development, and bringing more women into modern leadership roles, will enhance the impact of greater diversity on strategic decision-making.

The Advancing Women on Boards Initiative effectively addresses this increasing requirement for greater female participation at both the executive leadership level and at the boardroom table.

Download our Brochure

Past Participants

Hear from past participants of our Female Founders and Women on Boards initiatives and how the Certified Chair™ Excecutive Program and ongoing professional development through the Advisory Board Centre has transformed their careers.

How does this initiative work?

Participants in the Advancing Women on Boards Initiative will have access to tools to support their impact on boards, committees, and executive functions. Through their participation, they can develop their professional skillset by considering the ethical boundaries of boards to ensure they are both impactful and safe from unnecessary personal risk. They can then apply their learning by implementing advisory structures within their own organisations, or within a role as an advisor/chair to foster critical thinking about the future.

What is THE PROGRAM outline?

  1. Certified Chair™ Executive Program, with modules that cover the technical foundations of advisory boards and raising one’s professional profile and thought leadership in the market.
  2. 12-month professional development program, which includes membership to the Advisory Board Centre’s global advisory community and access to market-leading education.


Programs are delivered in a classroom environment or virtually. This is designed to provide participants with an opportunity to develop their network and opportunities outside of their own environment. Ongoing professional development will be fully virtual. The initiative takes into consideration different needs, circumstances, and opportunities for women.


Connect with

Penny Ellenger
Advisory Board Centre General Manager
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