Gen-Y Women in the Boardroom

It’s never too early for Gen-Y women to work on a long-term strategic career plan, particularly if they are interning without pay (againstmy advice!) or are working a low-paid non-career job to pay the rent.

It’s never been easier to build a network and there have never been more organizations available to help young women begin to create a reputation for excellence that can lead to Board membership.

There are organizations like Women in the Boardroom whose event at City Club in downtown Los Angeles recently opened my eyes to the work being done to make the corporate person remove three male rib bones and create a trio of women on Board.

Don’t Let “The Economy” Slow You Down

Listen. I know all about “the economy.”

I graduated from college in 1975. That was the year New York City declared bankruptcy and the year I moved there with my graduate student husband and $200 in my pocket. I had a Lit degree and the ability to type 60 words per minute.

Two years later, I left Manhattan for law school, leaving behind a paralegal job, volunteer work at Legal Aid in East Harlem and a two-year tenure at a 24-Hour Crisis Line where I learned to problem solve for people in their most dire emergencies.

Unless you have a trust fund, we all start from scratch and none of us can predict the routine financial catastrophes that repeatedly visit our economic shores.

In this third post in my series of women on Boards, I give you another superstar Board member, Kimberly Alexy, who did not let her age, her gender or any other circumstance keep her from realizing her dreams.

Today, Kimberly, serves on the Board of Directors for CalAmp, a wireless data com and satellite products provider. She has previously served on the Boards of Dot Hills SystemsSouthwest WaterSMART Modular; and, Maxtor, all but one in the technology sector. Though in her late 30s or early 40s today, she started serving on Boards in her mid-thirties, an unheard of age to join the rocking chair crowd that populates the Boards of most Fortune 500 companies.

Alexy’s advice is similar to that which we see here at ForbesWoman every day – network systematically, be of service to your network, and enter the “old boys’ club.”

It’s one thing to talk about those principles and quite another to put them to strategic use as Alexy has done. Let’s listen in as she describes the way in which she’s put those principles to use.

Network Systematically

Alexy advises women to systematically cultivate your network.

She’s not kidding about the systematic part. Like any good financial professional, she uses an Excel spreadsheet for complicated and simple tasks. Keeping track of nurturing her network is one of the simpler ones.

Once a quarter, Alexy sets aside a full day to make phone calls to her networking list which is divided up among C-suite contacts, service providers, Board contacts, attorneys, accountants and the like.

The calls are casual and friendly.

I’ll be in Philadelphia next month and would love to get together for a cup of coffee (or lunch or dinner). Do you have time in your schedule for me?

She makes enough appointments to make it worth her while to hop on a plane to Philadelphia to cultivate them.

Continue at Forbes Woman