To Meet Norway’s Quotas, a Crash Course in Board Business

Mark Scott, New York Times, April 1st 2013

OSLO – WHEN Anne-Sofie Risasen joined the Norwegian technology company Evry last year, she already had an impressive résumé. Ms. Risasen, a multilingual computer science graduate, spent years working for the French consulting firm Capgemini before taking a senior role at Microsoft here, where she managed more than 150 workers across Norway.

But Ms. Risasen wanted to raise her game.

So last September, Ms. Risasen, 43, signed up for an executive boot camp. Over the last seven months, she has taken leadership classes at a local business school, attended networking events and taken a battery of aptitude tests to measure her strengths and weaknesses.

“For me, it was a tactical move,” said Ms. Risasen at Evry’s headquarters in a snow-filled business park on the outskirts of the Norwegian capital. “The main reason to take part was to become a board member.”

Started in 2003, the boot camp, Female Future, aims to train the country’s next generation of directors.

The 16-day program, which runs over 10 months, is part business school, part career coach. In all-day workshops, the women are given crash courses on being a director, including training in corporate governance and leadership. Outside trainers also try to bolster confidence by coaxing the women into sharing stories from their own careers, so they can see the commonality in their experiences.

Since its founding, the Female Future program has helped roughly two-thirds of its 1,300 participants secure senior management positions or board memberships. In December, Ms. Risasen was promoted to run Evry’s public sector unit, overseeing 500 employees. She is hoping the training will also put her in line to join the boards of her company’s subsidiaries when she finishes the course in June..Continue reading

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