Trewstar Corporate Board Services

To the Men in Our Lives

December 23, 2018

At Trewstar, our day-to-day may look very female-focused. Our team is all female, and we talk about women all day, every day. This may not surprise you.

What you might not know is our thoughts about the men in our lives – those we have never met, those we work with and those we live with.

Most mornings, I travel to work by train – an express service that on a good day takes an hour and 20 minutes. Veteran commuters know that each train has two single seats appointed with side compartments for stashing bags. If I am lucky enough to get one of those, I am in something like heaven.   

One day in mid December, a gentleman and I were jockeying for position as the train doors opened. Suspecting we had similar intentions, I hesitated, but he stood aside. I climbed up the steps, noticed him right behind me and knew – his gesture had cost him a bit of comfort. I offered him the special seat, but he declined, moving on to an ordinary banquette.

Thankful, I opened my computer and settled in. By Newark, as usual, there was standing room only. Deep in my thoughts, I was brought back to my surroundings by the commotion of a mother trying to quiet her child who was crying because she had to stand. Before I had a chance to process the scene, the same man relinquished his seat to the mother and daughter. Within minutes, I heard gentle snoring as the little girl slept peacefully on her mother’s lap. I turned and smiled at the marvelous man. One trip, two gestures of kindness.

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As a professional services firm, our work centers around our clients, who are mostly men. Our primary points of contact are the CEOs and the Chairmen of boards and Nominating & Governance committees who lead the board searches for their companies. While there are some women who have these roles, in our experience, they are rare. 

We have reported before that we have never had a failed search. Happily, we have almost never had a dissatisfied client either. But it takes two to tango. Before we enter the process, someone has made a series of decisions that leads to Trewstar. Someone sat on the other side of the table saying “yes” or, “okay” or, “let’s do it,” sometimes guiding an organization in a direction that can be unfamiliar and potentially uncomfortable. External pressure points ranging from institutional investors to the new quota law in California have nudged many all-male boards in our direction, to some a leap into the unknown.

Yet, whatever the motivation, our male clients are engaged, serious, responsive and a pleasure to work with – and they have all added a woman or two to their boards. That means that our clients are all beyond the excuses, talking, studying, waiting-for-an-open-seat stage of board governance. We are grateful to them.

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Amusingly (we think!), our home lives skew decidedly male. The mothers on the Trewstar team have a collective of 13 children: ten sons and three daughters, ranging in age from 16 to 30. Imagine the conversations those boys have been steeped in. To all of them, we send our love and admiration. We are so proud to know all of these young people are the future.

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As 2018 wanes and we close our laptops for a few days, we would like to reflect on all of these men, the kind men out there who make our days brighter, our clients who never fail to motivate us and the men on the home front whom we are so proud of. 

To them, and to all of you, we hope you are having a festive holiday season!


Beth Stewart
Founder and CEO
Trewstar Corporate Board Services