Upcoming event: Is diversity a priority at your company? On February 7, 2017, Ethisphere will share actionable data and lessons from companies demonstrating excellence in cultivating gender diversity. Register here.
In the following article, Timothy Olson, Senior Corporate Counsel and Corporate Secretary for NorthWestern Energy shared his thoughts on the true meaning of diversity in Ethisphere’s Q2 issue.
What does diversity mean to you? The first question your board needs to answer as part of its succession planning process is: What does diversity mean to your company? The answer will identify the types of diversity needed to help your board carry out its duties. Without question, seeking gender and ethnic diversity for your board is of primary importance to develop the diversity of thought, but do not overlook the richness of perspectives from directors who offer insights from other industries, who are in different stages of their careers or who live in different parts of the country or world.Timothy Olson, Senior Corporate Counsel and Corporate Secretary for NorthWestern Energy and a former Skadden Chicago attorney took a closer look in Ethisphere’s Q2 issue at the true meaning of diversity in the workplace.
Your organization will derive a tremendous value for your stakeholders from board members who draw on varying perspectives to direct management. At NorthWestern Energy, a regional gas and electric utility, our board relies on many facets of its diversity to direct our business – female and minority directors, changing needs or do you need to plan for membership rotation? When you are able to answer these questions, you will have laid the foundation for addressing your board’s future diversity and skill gaps. Equally important is an understanding of the timing of when current directors may be resigning.
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About the author
Timothy Olson is Senior Corporate Counsel and Corporate Secretary for NorthWestern Energy and a former Skadden Chicago attorney. He oversees NorthWestern’s corporate governance and board of directors meetings. Tim also leads NorthWestern’s proxy statement which, in June 2015, received the NYSE Governance Services award for Exemplary CD&A, and in November, 2014 Corporate Secretary award for Best Proxy Statement (Small to Mid-Cap). He holds an AB from the University of Chicago and a JD from DePaul University.