For one November day, Otterbein University will serve as the hub connecting women in leadership in central Ohio.

For one November day, Otterbein University will serve as the hub connecting women in leadership in central Ohio.

On Nov. 17, the university will host 2020 Women on Boards: The National Conversation on Board Diversity, a national campaign to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20 percent or greater by the year 2020.

The group created a Gender Diversity Directory, a database of more than 1,800 public and private companies categorized by the gender composition of their boards, and publishes the 2020 Gender Diversity Index, an annual analysis of trends in the board composition of Fortune 1000 companies.

The campaign will host events across the country Nov. 17, and was established in 2010. Since the campaign's inception, central Ohio had never hosted an event, and Otterbein President Kathy Krendl said she thought Otterbein was the perfect place to begin.

"We work so closely with a number of women's groups, and we talked about it, and a number of them were saying Otterbein would be a logical place to do this," she said.

A variety of guests are scheduled to attend, including leaders from Huntington Bank and American Electric Power. The topic of the panel will be "creating change through collective and individual action," a conversation to discuss how to accelerate progress for women on boards.

Krendl said she hopes young women at Otterbein will be encouraged by the discussion. The university has a women's leadership program that pairs younger students with mentors and Krendl said she hopes the network of successful women can grow in the future.

"We try to create an intergenerational community to support women in leadership," she said.

"This seemed like a perfect opportunity to do that, to have young women hear from women currently serving on boards. ... It's really designed to serve all those generations and connect the women in those generations."

In a broader sense, Krendl said she hopes hosting the panel can push central Ohio toward doing more of the same.

"It's probably a sign that a national group came to Columbus to say, 'You should be doing this,' " she said.

The discussion runs from 7 to 9 a.m. Nov. 17. Registration for the panel is $40 per person, $20 for students.

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