Women should plan early for board careers
Ide’s own first corporate board position was with a small, public company that sells science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational products. She was the first woman on the board and, still inspired from her childhood lunch with an engineer, is passionate about the company’s mission to encourage more young people to study STEM.
Ide says her board experience has helped her think more strategically and encourages other women with an interest in board positions to actively plan how they will achieve their goal.
“I tell women, ‘Even if right now you're board-ready and do everything right, it'll probably still take five years to secure a board position. And that's OK.’ I’ve compiled some of the things I learned and the resources I used when preparing for my own first board position, and I share that with women who are interested.
“There are many more resources available to women now to find board positions, including the Athena Alliance in the US and Nurole in the UK and internationally.”
One US program that aims to advance mid-career women in the field of clean energy is Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E). At an invitation from the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ide took on the role of US ambassador to the initiative, which she says is helping make a tangible difference to the numbers of women in senior leadership.
“One of the main aims of C3E in recognizing mid-career women is to give them a boost, networks, encouragement and a cash award to help them break through to that next level. It’s really important, and we're definitely seeing some progress, although when we look at the overall numbers of women in leadership it is still low.”