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A Milestone for Women Board Directors

Today, nearly 75 million women are in the workforce, representing roughly 47 percent of all workers. But did you realize the number of women board directors of major U.S. firms pales in comparison to men? In fact, women board directors have traditionally made up less than 20 percent of U.S. businesses. But 2020 Women on Boards, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, has sought to change that. As a result of 2020 Women on Boards’ efforts, the number of women board directors continues to grow. For the first time ever, the percentage of women board directors among U.S. Fortune 1000 companies now exceeds 20 percent.

From Grass Roots to Greener Pastures

The organization, 2020 Women on Boards, had relatively humble beginnings. In 2010, cofounders Stephanie Sonnabend and Malli Gero grew frustrated with the lack of women board directors among American firms. Not only was the number of women board directors not increasing, the figure seemed to be diminishing. As a result, the two visionaries founded 2020 Women on Boards with a simple mission. That mission was to ensure at least 20 percent of board directors among the nations top firms were women.

speakers of 2020 women on boards
Featured speakers of 2020 women on boards

With initial operations in Boston, the initial efforts of 2020 Women on Boards were fairly regional. However, 2020 Women on Boards quickly became a national presence.

Through national campaigns to raise awareness about women board directors, the organization has forced change. Additionally, 2020 Women on Boards actively provides extensive career guidance, educational resources, and advocacy programs for women board directors. And 2020 Women on Boards conducts annual research and hosts national conventions to further their cause. The organization has now grown significantly as evidenced by its expanding board of directors, who happen to be all women!

A Measure of Accountability – The Gender Diversity Index

One of the most intriguing tools that 2020 Women on Boards has developed is its Gender Diversity Index, or GDI. This proprietary measure provides a quick reference for women board directors and the public about firm diversity at the top. For 2020 Women on Boards, the GDI serves two key purposes. First, the GDI provides a means to track progress in the total number of women board directors. Also, the GDI holds firms accountable for their decisions about women on their boards of directors.

The GDI identifies the percentage of women board directors among all active Fortune 1000 companies in the U.S. Based on these figures, 2020 Women on Boards assigns a letter designation based on the firm’s performance. Those with women board directors exceeding 20 percent of the board receive a “W”, which stands for “winning”. Other 2020 Women on Boards’ GDI designations identify firms as “very close”. “token”, or “zero”. This provides a quick reference to assess a firm’s commitment toward gender diversity in leadership.

Recent Achievements by 2020 Women on Boards

In addition to the Gender Diversity Index, 2020 Women on Boards provides other important resources to women board directors. The most notable resource is the National Conversation on Board Diversity conferences that 2020 Women on Boards conducts each year. In 30 cities across the U.S. and abroad, a simultaneous conference is held by 2020 Women on Boards. In addition to serving as a fundraiser for its campaigns and research, it also raises awareness about women board directors. Specifically, the conferences highlight the importance of the role that women in top-level positions play in balanced leadership.

The founders chose 2020 as the target because it represents the 100th year anniversary of women’s right to vote. But they, however, over-achieved.

In 2017, women board directors represented 20.8 percent of all directors among Fortune 1000 firms. This year, 2020 Women on Boards also reported that 31 percent of all new board directors were women. These accomplishments reflect major milestones for the organization.

 Always Looking Ahead

While progress is great, 2020 Women on Boards is hardly content. Statistics still show that 55 companies reported on the GDI have no women on their board of directors. In fact, 34 companies have never had women board directors since 2020 Women on Boards was founded. Also, 2020 Women on Boards recognize that the lack of women board directors is a bigger problem among smaller companies. Because of this, 2020 Women on Boards is expanding its GDI to evaluate the top 3,000 companies in the U.S. Given its remarkable achievements to date, it will be intriguing to see what 2020 Women on Boards do in the future.

Cable is Dying: Why Are Subscribers Cutting the Cord?

Is the reign of cable television coming to an end? The number of subscribers deserting cable TV tells us one thing — this business model is dying. In a study conducted by Leichtman Research Group, the top cable TV companies in the US lost about 290,000 video subscribers in the third quarter of 2017. Inversely, internet media consumption is growing steadily and expected to hit 28% by 2020. This is according to Zenith’s latest media consumption forecast. Furthermore, this study predicts that the gap in the daily consumption of television and internet media will vanish by 2019. Last year’s TV gap advantage was 27 minutes, which was narrowed down further to 13 minutes in 2018. Is this really the time of cable TV dying?

 The Rule of TV: From Network Age to Cable TV Era

Cable TV Dying, an illustration of its downfall.

Downfall of Cable TV Statistics Infographic

Television in the US can be described in two distinct eras: the network era and the cable TV era. In the years from the 1950s up to the mid-1980s, television was controlled by the three major networks ABC, CBS, and NBC. During these years, viewers had very few options and had to base their daily activities on the television programming and schedules.

In the 1980s, the cable era—also known as the post-network era—began to flourish. The cable tv era has five defining concepts: choice, control, convenience, customization, and community. All of these point to the viewers’ access to a broader range of content, consumed at their own terms.

For a monthly subscription fee, viewers access traditional broadcast stations, exclusive cable-only channels, and content, and movies. By the end of the decade, nearly 60% of American homes had a cable tv subscription. Additionally, the cable era also gave birth to niche channels. These are cable TV channels devoted to a specific interest in food (Food Network), cartoons (Cartoon Network), comedy (Comedy Central), and documentaries (Discovery Channel).

Netflix: The Pied Piper That Led Us Out of TV Land

The cross-platform era is television’s response to the rise of on-demand streaming. But before television took steps to disrupt itself, Netflix has lead hordes of subscribers out of TV land.

Two software engineers, Reed Hastings and Marc Rudolph. started Netflix in 1997. The model they had in mind was straightforward—use the internet to rent out movies in DVD format. The company adopted the monthly subscription model in 1999. In 2007, with a strong pool of subscribers, Netflix announced the launch of their streaming services. By 2010, Netflix acquired 20 million subscribers. And for the first quarter of 2018, its total worldwide streaming subscribers reached 125 million with more than $11-billion-dollar earnings in 2017.

Netflix definitely has gone a long way since it started in 1997. The company continues to disrupt the entertainment industry’s business models. The streaming giant has also introduced us to award-winning original programs such as House of Cards, Stranger Things, and Orange is the New Black.

 Why Subscribers are Making the Switch and Cable is Dying

Cable is dying for many reasons. When it comes to streaming services, consumers now have many options. Besides Netflix, there other great streaming packages offered by Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and HBO. Subscribers are choosing to switch to online media streaming because of lower cost, the variety of content, and the freedom to choose when and how to access preferred media and content.


statistics of leichtman's research on gains and losses of TV and internet gains
Top cable companies in the U.S. have lost thousands of subscribers over the years after viewers shifted  from cable TV to the now more favored online streaming

Cost has been the primary reason why cable is dying. For as low as $8 per month, subscribers have unlimited access to TV shows, movies, comedy specials, and originals. Cable subscription starts at $50 per month plus up to $7 for broadcast fee, up to $5 for regional sports fee and a host of other additional fees. By switching to streaming services, subscribers can save up to $700 annually. While cable subscriptions provide access to up to 250 channels, 90% of these channels are never accessed.

Most televisions manufactured after 2007 can pick up signals from free TV, and HDTV antennas can be purchased via Amazon for as low as $20. Additionally, there are websites that can help you detect broadcast signals within your area. Consumers have discovered that combining free local TV and streaming services provides a more cost-efficient alternative.

Lastly, more than 70% of American households have internet connectivity. Consumers are realizing that they can get more value from their internet subscription by switching to streaming services.


In a research conducted by SurveyMonkey, cable subscribers stay with their providers because of live sports and news programs. To address this, streaming services allow subscribers to watch TV shows the next day. Most national sports leagues have their own streaming service. Keeping up with the latest in sports is not an issue anymore.

Older TV shows and episodes no longer airing can be accessed via streaming services. This gives the subscribers the flexibility to have reruns of their beloved old TV shows. Additionally, streaming services have been offering high-rated original programs. Netflix’s line-up includes Stranger Things, Black Mirror, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Amazon has Bosch, Ripper Street, and Transparent, while Hulu offers original series like The Handmaids Tale and Casual.


The ability to access content whenever and wherever gives subscribers more freedom. Most cable companies do not offer access through their phones and smart devices. And this is where online media poses an advantage. According to a 2015 study conducted by Flurry, US consumers are glued to their mobile devices at least five hours per day. With 77% of the American population going online every day, catching up on your favorite TV shows during downtimes is a plus.

What Cable TV Companies Are Doing to Lure Back Subscribers 

The numbers are not looking good for traditional television. More subscribers are deciding to switch to online media streaming. But cable TV as a medium is not giving up without a fight. To move with the changing consumers’ media habits, cable TV companies are repositioning themselves by opening other modes of content access besides the little black box and offering more value to their customers.

  • Some cable TV companies have branched out to video-on-demand services to allow customers to access their content on smartphones, laptops, and other digital media players. Using IPTV technology, cable companies are able to deliver content to subscribers via multiple platforms and internet at the customer’s convenience.
  • Authenticated streaming also known as TV Everywhere is a business model where customers can access content from their channels using internet-based services and mobile apps using their cable subscription.
  • Cable TV companies are now moving toward unbundling their packages. As a way to slowly ease in into this business model, AT&T has been offering skinny bundles through DirectTV. Dish has been going the same direction as SlingTV.
  • Cable TV companies are working with streaming giants in providing more value to subscribers. Back in 2016, Comcast partnered with Netflix to allow its subscribers access to the streaming giant’s extensive catalog with their Xfinity TV subscription. Likewise, Hulu, Comcast, and Charter Communications are in talks to offer on-demand service.
  • Content is still king. Cable TV companies are still betting on the ratings game. This conviction has given us high-rated programs such as Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and The Big Bang Theory.

Up until the 1990s, television was at the helm of home entertainment. But as the saying goes, some good things never last. The advent of the internet and mobile technology has ushered in a new age, the multiple-platform era. Television, and cable TV, in particular, is now realizing that it has to share the throne with a new power.

Downfall of Cable TV Infographic

Downfall of Cable TV Statistics Infographic

How Your Business Can Compete with Big Name Brands

Small businesses are still the heart and soul of America. In fact, sixty percent of all U.S. companies today are small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. However, we now live in a world of big name brands. How can small businesses compete against these large businesses and their popular brands? Is it even worth trying? Absolutely! The following provides some bold insights into how small businesses can compete against big name brand businesses in today’s markets.

Small Businesses Facts

What defines a small business? Some say a small business is a company with 500 employees or less. These companies account for more the 99 percent of all U.S. firms. Others believe small businesses are those with fewer than 50 employees. In either case, the success and failure rates are similar.

While two-thirds of small businesses remain successful at two years, half fail within five years. Much of the time, however, small businesses do not fail because of competition from big name brands.

Instead, other factors like the economy, business expenses, and market regulations pose bigger challenges for small businesses. Therefore, it is important for small businesses to be smart about how they approach their markets.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

In many instances, small businesses struggle in a competitive market because of a few specific mistakes. For example, some small businesses fail because they never take the time to create a formal business plan. Business planning helps small businesses be efficient while having a clear direction. Likewise, small businesses can avoid making false assumptions with proper market research and testing. Big name brands certainly take the time for business planning, and small businesses should as well.

man standing against a giant shadow of a big name brands
Big name businesses aren’t always the threat to small businesses — the lack of strategic planning is.

Owners of small businesses should also avoid doing too much or too little. Often small business owners feel the need to do everything themselves to ensure success. But this can cause burnout and exhaustion as well as small business failure. Learning to delegate tasks effectively is essential. At the same time, small businesses have obligations that cannot be neglected. Payroll taxes, corporate filings, and other regulatory requirements deserve small business owners’ attention. Whether a company is a small business or a big name brand, there is no getting around these responsibilities.

Strategic Planning – Essential to Small Business Success

Just like big name brands, small businesses can also gain an advantage in the marketplace through strategic planning. Strategic planning provides small businesses with the right business model to excel. This not only includes succeeding against other small businesses but against the big name brands. The following provides key steps of strategic planning that small businesses need to consider.

Know Your Small Business’ Vision, Mission, and Goals

Every owner should have a clear vision and mission for their small business. Likewise, small business goals should be linked to the vision and mission.

Check out the vision, mission statement, and objectives of a few big name brands. You will appreciate the impact this can have on promoting success.

Analyze Your Market and Your Competitive Advantage

Just like big name brands, small businesses need to examine the market in which they compete. What strengths and weaknesses does your small business have? What opportunities and risks exist in the market? What competitive advantage does your small business have compared to the big name brand firms? These answers, as well as insights about your customers and competition will help define the best strategies for your small business.

Prioritize Your Small Business Goals and Make a Plan

You have identified the goals for your small business, and you have a strategy. Now, it’s time to specify which goals are most important to help your small business succeed. Once you know which small business goals are most important, devise a plan accordingly. This is how your small business will be able to compete with the big-name brands as well as other types of businesses.

Assign Tasks and Execute the Plan

While best-laid plans may go awry, these chances are increased for small business that fail to execute. You may not be a big-name brand with dozens of departments that have specific functions, but you can still assign specific tasks of your small business plan to your employees to perform. Learning to delegate is a key to success.

Measure, Evaluate and Adjust

Lastly, small businesses need to measure performance and reassess accordingly. The only thing certain not to change is change itself. But big name brands have to deal with changes as well. By measuring your performance and frequently reevaluating your strategic plan, your small business will be better prepared to excel.

Small Businesses Can Win Against Big Name Brands!

Biggest isn’t always the best, and customers today are trending back to small businesses. Have you noticed the trends in small breweries? By avoiding mistakes and planning your strategy, your small business can enjoy great success. With these recommendations, your small business will be better prepared for any marketplace, including those with big name brands.