SOURCE: WEL (Women Executive Leadership)

WEL (Women Executive Leadership)

February 11, 2009 08:01 ET

WEL Honors 16 Florida Companies for Gender Diversity in the Boardroom

WEL Also Releases 2008 Census of Women Directors & Executive Officers

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwire - February 11, 2009) - WEL (Women Executive Leadership), a Florida-based organization that advocates, educates, and connects accomplished women, today saluted the 16 Florida companies with two or more female Directors on their Boards. The announcement was made during the 2008 Corporate Salute event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Sherry Barrat, Executive Vice President for Northern Trust Corporation and member of the Board of Directors for FPL Group, Inc., served as keynote speaker before WEL honored the following 16 companies:

Office Depot, Inc. (4 female Board members)
Ryder Systems, Inc. (4 female Board members)
Tupperware Brands Corporation (4 female Board members)
Raymond James Financial, Inc. (2 female Board members)
Chico's FAS, Inc. (2 female Board members)
FPL Group, Inc. (2 female Board members)
CSX Corporation (2 female Board members)
Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. (2 female Board members)
Darden Restaurants, Inc. (2 female Board members)
Harris Corp. (2 female Board members)
Spherion Corporation (2 female Board members)
Stein Mart, Inc. (2 female Board members)
Brown & Brown, Inc. (2 female Board members)
Hollywood Media Corp. (2 female Board members)
Flanigan's Enterprises, Inc. (2 female Board members)
Imperial Industries, Inc. (2 female Board members)

WEL also released the results of its 2008 Census of Women Directors and Executive Officers, compiled in conjunction with The University of Miami School of Business Administration. Conducted since 2004, the report studies gender diversity in the executive suite and in the Boardroom of Florida's top public companies. The study shows that 7.4 percent of Board seats in the top 150 Florida companies were held by women in 2008, the same level as 2007 but down from 2006 (8.7%). However, the number of female executive officers rose from 5.4 percent in 2006 to 7.0 percent in 2008. Visit http://womenexecutiveleadership.com to download a copy of the study.

"We believe that 2009 represents a year in which women leaders can begin to rewrite the direction of America's corporate environment," said Cindy Kushner, President and Founder of WEL. "Companies that embrace gender diversity, both in the executive suite and in the Boardroom will be more likely to succeed in today's challenging economic period. One very promising sign is that the number of women serving in the executive suite is growing, which paves the way for increased presence in the Boardroom. WEL's objective is to ensure that our continued voice will encourage companies to tap the pool of qualified talent and support all women to pursue the attainable goal of leadership."

About Women Executive Leadership

WEL advocates, educates and connects accomplished executive women. Through extensive networking opportunities and educational workshops, the organization helps prepare female leaders for corporate Board and executive suite positions. WEL enables women to raise their profile and move to the forefront of executive search opportunities. Its signature event, Corporate Salute, provides an important advocacy platform that brings necessary attention to the landscape of gender diversity in the corporate world. WEL will salute the award winning companies and release its 2008 Census Study that details and benchmarks the status and number of women in the Boardroom and in executive positions of Florida's Top 150 public companies. All qualified members from the corporate sector, private enterprises and not-for-profit organizations are encouraged to join WEL. For membership information and to attend the Corporate Salute, please visit www.womenexecutiveleadership.com

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