Women in IT

Women IT leaders bring fresh perspectives to corporate boards

Organizations with diverse corporate boards perform better, innovate more, and attract and retain better talent. Women IT leaders are ready and are heeding the call.

Women IT leaders bring fresh perspectives to corporate boards
Destiny Transformations Group

Attention corporate boards: If you’re in the market for a new board member, Jaynee Beach wants to talk to you. Beach, director of IT application development at Woodforest National Bank, in The Woodlands, Texas, is ready and hopeful she will be able to obtain her first board position in the not-too-distant future.

A self-described “unashamed geek” who is “constantly curious” and has several years of IT experience under her belt, Beach says she has a lot to contribute. As a member of senior leadership, she serves on Woodforest’s internal board of directors and is a member of its IT steering committee. “There is a massive translation breakdown between business speak and geek speak,’’ she says. Beach doesn’t state the obvious, but another important criteria making her an attractive candidate for a corporate board seat is the fact that she is a woman.

When prompted, Beach says she offers a strikingly different view of the world than men do.

“For one thing, I think most men make their way into the boardroom via competition —they have to best everyone else,’’ she observes. “Most women I’ve seen in tech, we have advanced our way by building coalitions, breaking down silos, building collaboration, and what’s unique to women is we’re less about trying to compete.”

Beach’s years in a field dominated by men have led her to believe that they “participate in bad habits, meaning they hoard information, or they try to build their fiefdom.” Yet, she doesn’t know whether this is the case at the senior leadership level “because quite frankly, there’s not a lot of women there. There’s a lot in entry-level and secondary-level [positions] and then they either switch to something not tech related or drop out altogether.”

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