When we hear “women in leadership,” we might first think of women in the most prominent decision-making roles: presidents, chief executive officers, and spokespeople. But some of the most influential decisions are made behind the scenes by the board of directors.
According to March 2020 data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), just 16% of board members in the top 500 multinational enterprises are women. And only 7% of women on boards hold senior leadership positions. This staggering disproportion reflects another facet of the glass ceiling I’m hoping we can shatter, starting with women like the third guest of my “Ladies Who Launch” series, Heidi Melin.
After insightful conversations with Latané Conant and Kathy Seegebrecht, I was excited to speak with Heidi. She’s currently a member of the board of directors for SailPoint and Origami Risk, as well as a senior operating advisor at Hellman & Friedman. Before that, she held the role of CMO at six different companies — most recently, Adobe Workfront.
Needless to say, I’m very impressed with Heidi’s drive and see her as an incredible leader.
I was especially looking forward to speaking with her about her experience serving on boards. As a board member myself at Boston Children's Hospital Trust, I wanted to highlight her path from being in a series of C-level positions to making decisions as part of a group — and she offered excellent guidance for those who want to join a board but who might not have that executive background. (Hint: You don’t need it.)
Mentoring and leadership were also important topics we covered. Heidi has a clear passion for leading teams and helping others get a leg up in their careers — I was amazed to learn that former coworkers of hers still reach out to ask for advice. And it’s not just coworkers; particularly illuminating was how she became an unexpected mentor to her children as they began their own careers in marketing. This mom knows best!
For the full conversation, including many lessons learned from strategies that went well (and those that didn’t), watch the episode here. Make sure to follow our LinkedIn page to receive notifications for the next Ladies Who Launch livestream with Jayna Kothary, CTO of MRM.