Monday Monday

Do you dread Mondays? You may think that means you’re in the wrong job. More likely, however, you simply need to change your approach to that infamous day.

Recently, I realized I was lamenting Mondays starting on Sunday evenings. I was feeling that I never had enough time on the weekend to do everything I wanted to do. I intended to play my guitar and harmonica, write a song, Skype with my boyfriend, talk or hang out with some friends, take my Border Collie to Crissy Field, do laundry, buy groceries, cook a nice meal, watch a film, read a book and/or news, do a bit of work, write, and relax. I could only ever get through a portion of my plan before Monday rolls back around. Ugh!

As a way to ease into my work week and overcome my ambivalence (read: dislike) for Mondays, I always tried to keep my Mondays unscheduled. However, I soon realized the free Monday wasn’t working for me. My open schedule only left me feeling unfocused and grumpy. In talking with a friend about my business, I mentioned how motivated I am by the executives I meet regarding board opportunities. In that moment, a light bulb went off: I should schedule meetings on Mondays with people who inspire me! And wouldn’t you know, it worked like a charm!

Here are four things you can do to cure yourself of the Monday blues:

    1. Do something that inspires you. I make the first appointment of the day an in-person meeting with someone I am excited about, preferably someone I have never met before.
    2. Plan your day. Leaving my day open and unplanned left me unfocused. Use a daily planner to map out and set an intention for your day and week. To make the day really great, list your accomplishments throughout the day!
    3. Make someone’s day. As a recruiter, I have found that most people are like me and are disgruntled on Mondays, so those are the best days to call them to consider a different opportunity. People are more receptive to new offers to help get out of their funks.
    4. Get grounded. Try a short meditation, even just three to five minutes, either before or on your way to work. You will feel clear-minded and rested. A couple of apps I use that help me get clarity are the Saake Buwalda Mindfulness App andHeadspace, but I’m sure you can find a similar app to use.

Let’s make Monday the new favorite workday by anticipating the possibilities the work week can bring.

And if you are a CEO or you serve on a corporate board’s nominating governance committee and you are looking to establish or grow a diverse, inclusive board, I would love to schedule a time to meet with you this Monday!

Kim Clancy is Founder and CEO of the search firm Hampton O'Bannon Partners, LLC (HOP,LLC). She helps technology companies attract and hire women and minorities to their boards.

Email: Kim(at)

LifeSci Advisors’ Gender Bias Fix is Part Right and Part Wrong

If you think LifeSci Advisors has made adequate reparations after the company’s gender bias gaffe at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco in January, you should think again. In an outrageous display of sexism, LifeSci Advisors, a biotech investor consultancy, hired “leggy female models in tight, black dresses” to appeal to attendees at a party taking place at a conference whose demographic is mostly male. The company received plenty of well-deserved criticism for treating women as mere sex objects. To try to make things right, LifeSci Advisors took some steps to promote professional women in biotech. According to an article by reporter Ron Leuty this month in the San Francisco Business Times, “rather than hide behind mea culpas, the New York-based company is putting time and money behind a program with the nonprofit Women in Bio to prepare more women for biotech board positions.”

LifeSci Advisors is trying to fix its PR problem, but it got it WRONG. The idea that “women can’t serve on boards because they lack training” has got to stop! I am not against education regarding sitting on a board. However, men have been placed on boards for eons, and continue to be, without ever having to go through any prep course. Women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community are being held to a different standard than straight white men. It is insulting.

An oft-cited reason for the lack of women on boards is the limited number of women in CEO or C-level positions. Yet many male board members do not come from the C-level suite. Companies bring plenty of academics, senior vice presidents, and the like onto boards without expecting them to complete any preparedness courses or training. The LifeSci Advisors/Women in Bio training program will cover topics such as corporate governance and financial literacy. Not all men walk onto boards with corporate governance knowledge or financial literacy skills, yet no one expects that they need board readiness courses.

No one tells men what it takes to be on a board; saying that women need training shifts the problem back to the women. It is not women’s fault that they don’t have board experience. It is because companies have excluded them from serving on boards in the first place.

What LifeSci Advisors gets RIGHT is recognizing that women need to “break into new networks.” Women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community need to strategically place themselves in environments where they will connect with CEOs and nominating governance committee chairs. If LifeSci Advisors and Women in Bio can facilitate those connections, they will be on the right track. To really make an impression as a viable board candidate, you need to secure those meetings yourself. For advice on how to do that, please see my article, “Make That Meeting Happen.”

Kim Clancy is founder and CEO of search firm Hampton O'Bannon Partners, LLC (HOP, LLC). She helps technology companies attract and hire women and minorities to their boards.

Email: Kim(at)

Make That Meeting Happen

Although I am by nature an introvert, I don’t let that stop me from being brave. I have made a career out of connecting people via executive search for board opportunities, and I often need to approach people who are seemingly inaccessible. Through that process, I have learned that you can network with anyone you choose, particularly if you have an overwhelming interest, a burning curiosity, and a genuine desire to connect.

Early in my career, I worked as a secretary for a law firm in San Francisco. I persuaded the firm to let me work four days a week so that I could have time to pursue my dream of breaking into the music business. On Thursdays, I worked a volunteer internship with IRS/Nettwerk Records, and I also represented an LBGT singer/songwriter for whom I wanted to find a record deal. I hoped to find work someday as an artist and repertoire (A&R) manager.

I took a trip to Italy and Austria for vacation and decided to use the opportunity to make a music connection. I found an A&R guy at BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group) in Austria and scheduled a time to meet. I was hoping for a job for myself or a record deal for my singer/songwriter, but alas, I left empty-handed.

On the Luxembourg to Reykjavik leg of my flight home, I started a conversation with the man sitting next to me. He said he was Turkish, so I asked if he knew Ahmet Ertegun, the legendary Turkish-born music executive who founded Atlantic Records and signed Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, among many other famous artists. He said, "He is my cousin." Wow!

That nugget of information simmered inside my head until I got home. I decided to write to Ahmet in New York City and tell him about meeting his cousin. I asked for a meeting so I could promote my singer/songwriter. Not long after mailing my letter, I was sitting at my desk at the law firm when my phone rang. It was Ahmet himself. I had a billion butterflies in my stomach and a massive smile on my face. He said he received my letter and was curious about the man I met, because he didn’t have such a cousin. How embarrassing! Yet Ahmet was completely gracious and apparently impressed with my bravado, for he agreed to meet with me.

I planned a trip to New York and booked a lunch with Ahmet in his office. We sat down to talk over sandwiches. We were briefly interrupted by Doug Morris, who was co-chairman and co-CEO of Atlantic Records at the time and today is CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. Ahmet and I talked about the music business and my San Francisco artist. He talked about one-hit wonders; he had had high hopes for Mark Cohn, who never had success beyond his smash, "Walking in Memphis." He felt my artist might be a one-hit wonder and was not willing at that moment to sign her. He gave me some advice and we parted ways.

While the meeting did not result in accomplishing my initial goal, I am so grateful I mustered up the bravado to have my meetings in Austria and New York; if I hadn’t, I would always regret it. I learned many valuable lessons from the experience, the main one being to take those seemingly small, fleeting moments when there is a connection and run with them, immediately, without hesitation. I apply these lessons in my work today and help my clients incorporate them in their networking activities.

After a couple other internships and a rejected job offer for a record label, I never made that segue to professional work in the music business. I actively pursue my passions in that regard via songwriting, singing, and guitar and harmonica playing. A meeting with another record label executive may still be in my future to sign my own record deal!

Is there someone seemingly inaccessible you would like to meet? If so, you need to:

1) Listen to what your body and mind are telling you. What is the key motivator to meeting this person? What is the desired outcome?

2) Research the hell out of the individual and find what emotionally connects you to them. Maybe you can find common ground. For example, did you graduate from the same university?

3) Use your initiative and make a connection. Start with people you know, and comb your online networks, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Use anything to build momentum towards your goal. Snail mail is rare and still works. A nice letterpress notecard can make someone’s day – I use Paperwheel.

Now dig deep into that emotional connection you found –– that is your differentiator –– and use your tenacity to make that meeting happen!

Kim Clancy is founder and CEO of search firm Hampton O'Bannon Partners, LLC (HOP, LLC). She helps technology companies attract and hire women and minorities to their boards.

Email: Kim(at)


I was sitting on the floor at home with a fire roaring in the fireplace, a glass of Paso Robles Midnight Cellars Syrah, my Border Collie, McDuff (& his ball) and some articles highlighted for various ideas I have for writing topics. One of the articles was about Film Director Catherine Hardwicke's new film, "Miss You Already" about lifelong best friends - it caught my attention, because of the title, "Director fights Hollywood gender gap."  My mind segued to my best friend, Dorothy in Eugene, Oregon, a masseuse and safety professional and how during a massage this morning (my first after a 2 year hiatus), I got emotional thinking of how I needed to book a flight to go hang with her - it is long overdue.

Then my mind again segued to my work regarding helping tech companies attract women to their Boards and the people I have met in the process over the past year. I started recounting in my head individuals I met and really connected with who I genuinely love. Of course, in my job I tend to meet a lot of women, and there are a few who deeply touch my heart after one meeting. In the past few months the woman I met who touched me the most deeply is a renaissance woman looking for her next job. I met her primarily regarding Board opportunities, but we talked about life and we had many commonalities (even without those we were simpatico).  She is a connector like me and rattled off several people she wanted to introduce me too, including a CEO who recruited her to two huge tech companies. She said I had to meet him.

I looked him up on LinkedIn and I was intimidated. He has run two HUGE toy/gaming companies and has a character in a film based on his real life. He was extremely responsive and congenial in coordinating our meeting. He said he could meet me after an investor meeting near the Embarcadero ports.  A resourceful friend who works in that area recommended a cafe with outdoor seating. It was a cold day in the fall and he was already seated at a table with his coffee when I arrived.  I ordered my decaf double short Americano and sat down to talk. He was "mature" in appearance with professional attire. He had the brightest, warm, welcoming blue eyes. I was immediately comfortable and our conversation flowed. He told me about the Boards he is on and his work in the education space. He said he likes consumer products and tech; he said education (as an industry) is hard. He also talked about being on a startup biotech Board and that he is not sure why they want him or what value-add he offers since he never worked in biotech (I hear that a lot from Board members).

I don't recall the exact segue, but at some point I mentioned playing music and singing as passions of mine. He mentioned he grew up in a desert state with a working class father, sang in the boys choir and two very famous singers attended the same school and were his friends.  His school’s choir was notably better than the Vienna Boys Choir and appeared twice on the Ed Sullivan Show.

At this point, he told me a story about how he had the opportunity to meet George Lucas and visited his home in Marin. There he ran into his now very famous female singer childhood friend and he said, "What are you doing here?" and she said, "What are you doing here?"  They hadn't seen each other since school days in the desert. At that moment as he was recounting the story the CEO’s eyes became misty – I could feel his genuine, heartfelt sentiment for that moment when he randomly ran into his childhood friend.  He "had me" early on in our meeting with his comfortable, articulate, easy-going nature, but in that second where he was overcome with sentiment, I thought this is why this man is a successful CEO and why he is at ease hiring talented women executives (& continuing to recommend them for jobs and Boards).

This is why I have the best job in the world. I often feel like Terri Gross of NPR. I get to meet amazing women and amazing men. These days white males are getting the bad rap for being the majority on Boards and C-Suites. I feel so lucky to have met this particular white male CEO – a Renaissance man who is hiring and recommending women for jobs and Board seats and who continues a successful career into his golden years. Kudos to you Mr. CEO for being authentic and successful; thank you for inspiring me to continue the work I do placing women on Boards.

Kim Clancy is Founder & CEO of executive search firm, Hampton O'Bannon Partners, LLC (HOP, LLC).  She helps technology companies attract women and minorities to their Boards.


There is a great scene in the Margaret Thatcher biopic, Iron Lady, when "Maggie" is contemplating a run for office and her two male political cohorts (all the cabinet members were male at the time) try to convince her she can win. She tells them how she feels she doesn't fit in, to which one of her cohorts proclaims "If I may say so - I think that’s your trump card."

What struck me while watching that movie is how Maggie felt she didn't fit in with the all-male cabinet in the 1970s and here we are in 2015 with so many women and minorities feeling the same way regarding Board of Director seats, C-level positions and sometimes entire industries (yes, I’m looking at you, gaming). 

In the Bay Area and probably the world over, we know the slogan, "Think different." It is Steve Jobs’ singular message for success. And yet, when it comes to women on Boards, somehow this message is getting lost, particularly in tech and other Silicon Valley sectors. Many of us in the recruiting industry are striving to change that, not because of some nebulous concept of fairness, but because the companies we work for need diversity in their executive suites and boardrooms to remain competitive.

When working with public and private technology companies to attract women and minorities to their Boards, I am now deeply averse to creating fancy charts with check marks for education and skills. In the past, headhunters have been told, "This is what companies want and expect!"  When I asked CEOs and seasoned Board members what they need in order to appreciate my diverse candidates, I learned they prefer the subjective narrative; they want to know the person they are getting.

For me to share the most qualified candidates with them I needed to showcasetheir differences and more importantly, I needed to be authentic. It wasn’t about showing the stakeholders how my candidate was exactly like everyone on their Board, it was about sharing the value a diverse candidate will bring. When solving a complicated problem, who would you rather add to the team – a fifth Ph.D. from the exact same school and background as the four you already have, or someone whose perspective is so new and fresh she can think of solutions that wouldn’t occur to anyone else in the room?

If you are a diverse candidate for a Board seat, you need to see your difference as an advantage.  You may get sucked into believing you need some specific background; you may be told you need training to be on a Board. Is there some secret knowledge white males intrinsically have? For some reason, they are not expected or required to get training to secure a corporate Board seat.  

Are we teaching women and minorities to be just like the majority Board members (typically, white males)?  If so, that throws the intention of diversity, equity and inclusion out the window. Anyone can get training before, during or after securing the first Board seat, but nobody needs it to get there.

Here are three tips to secure that first Board seat, and beyond:

1) Position yourself - spend time with CEOs and individuals already on Boards. Ask them to consider you for Board opportunities. Let them know your value-add and strategize your career by adding skills and perspectives you don’t already have (e.g., P&L experience on the job, etc.).

2) Be willing to take risks, make decisions, and defend those decisions confidently. As author, Valerie Alexander, explains in How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace (Despite Having “Female Brains”), risk taking and quick decision-making are highly valued in corporate organizations, going back two million years when, in the face of great uncertainty, the hunters of the tribe had to throw the spear to kill the wooly mammoth or the tribe didn’t eat. We reward risk, we admire leaders; we value the one who puts out the fire much more highly than the one who prevents the fire from ever starting, so if fire prevention is your specialty – keep doing that! It’s important and brings a great deal of real value to the Board, but also be willing to step up and put out the fire when needed to get the recognition you deserve.

3) Recognize “Stereotype Threat.” It is exhausting spending all of your time trying not to "be" the stereotype, e.g., women in gaming working to be just like the men in gaming. Worse, this constant attempting to fit in has two negative outcomes: women and minorities fail to provide the alternative perspective the company truly needs, and ultimately they exit the industry, because it is too draining to constantly be playing a role instead of just naturally doing what you are already great at. Be yourself; work with your CEO or executive team to see the value in your difference.

If you want to achieve a seat on a Board of Directors and thrive once there, and bring the most value to the company or organization, don’t try to hide your difference, embrace it! Just like Maggie Thatcher did.