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Globalizing the Board

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Susan Schwab, Former U.S. Trade Representative, Speaking at NACD Conference

Susan Schwab, Former U.S. Trade Representative

Today’s luncheon session, “Globalizing the Board,” featured Ambassador Susan Schwab, former U.S. Trade Representative. Her overarching message to conference attendees?  Building the right board means bringing a “global mindset” to the table.

“Why should you care” about globalization? Ambassador Schwab pointed out that “ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of our borders.” Boards need more than “token representation” of international individuals on the board. It also requires global literacy and “a strong international I.Q.”

The Ambassador then discussed a series of questions boards should ask themselves in evaluating their global I.Q.  These included:

  • Do you have a sense of future and current prospects tied to global markets, i.e., partners, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, etc.?
  • Do you know how to protect your intellectual property abroad?
  • Do you take advantage of U.S. assistance in doing business abroad?

As the Ambassador stated: “Access to global market trade is crucial” to our country’s economic future. Corporations must be prepared with knowledgeable boards ready to provide guidance in the international marketplace.