Jim Turley, CEO and chairman of Ernst & Young, is pro-women on boards and a poet. Could you ask for more in a man? Well maybe for him to be CEO of a thriving company. Oh wait! He is also that.“Too pale, too male” is how he described America’s corporate and philanthropic boards last week in remarks at a black tie dinner saluting the best independent board members in Washington D.C., hosted by the Washington Business Journal.
Turley, who plans to return to St. Louis to live when he retires next year, quoted the daughter of a friend who told her dad “he just didn’t get it because he was too pale, too male and too stale!” Well that description is a lot more fun than just listing depressing statistics. This pro-ladies attitude is nothing new for Turley. He chairs Catalyst, a long-time advocacy organization for women in the workplace. He chairs Ernst & Young’s Equity Task Force, a team of EY partners from across the country charged with leveling the playing field for women at the firm and supporting best practices for successful work/life integration. When he was a managing partner he championed the firm’s first prototype of Ernst & Young’s Women’s ACCESS, a two-way mentoring program that fostered the professional growth of women through supportive professional relationships. It also provided senior male professionals with firsthand knowledge of challenges faced by women. He was honored by the The New York Women’s Agenda for his great work. Turley said, ” Enhancing the careers of our thousands of women professionals at Ernst & Young is a very high priority. It’s essential for their growth, for the continued growth of our firm, and for the well being of our clients who they serve.” I think every company needs a Jim Turley.