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Gender research advocate and leader Michelle R. Clayman elected to the Stanford University Board of Trustees

May 21 2018

Michelle R. Clayman, Chair of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research Advisory Council, has been elected to the Stanford University Board of Trustees.

A Stanford Graduate School of Business alum (MBA ’79), Clayman’s election recognizes her impact as a leader, and importantly, as an advocate for gender equality, diversity, and inclusion.

From aspiring journalist while an undergraduate at Oxford University, to a financial leader in the business sector, Clayman has cultivated a deep commitment to the power of research as exemplified by her relationship to the Clayman Institute. “I approached the Institute to find out what kind of work Stanford was doing in the areas of women and gender,” she said of the relationship in a 2005 interview. “I was impressed by the breadth of research covered: history, literature, law, medicine, anthropology and psychology.” She continued, “Its work is important because it is often cross-disciplinary and cutting edge.”

Therefore, for Clayman, who endowed the Institute in 2010, investing in gender research is paramount to achieving gender equality: “Investing in gender research ensures that gender inequities are addressed at their root cause, rather than at the surface level,” she said in the 2017 issue of upRising.

"Investing in gender research ensures that gender inequities are addressed at their root cause, rather than at the surface level."

“In our research, we talk about the kind of leader who is a driver of outstanding outcomes and a collaborator who helps all the boats rise. Michelle is that kind of leader,” Clayman Institute Executive Director Lori Nishiura Mackenzie said of Clayman’s leadership.

Clayman Institute Faculty Director Shelley Correll echoed Mackenzie’s sentiment, adding that Clayman’s election to the Board of Trustees recognizes her long-standing commitment to the university. “Michelle’s collaborative leadership speaks volumes,” she observed. “The future of a more diverse and inclusive university looks more promising with the addition of Michelle to the Board,” she said.

With her business acumen and broad intellectual interests, Clayman is well-suited for the Board. Beyond her role at the Institute, Clayman is a long-time and influential champion of gender equality, at both the personal and the institutional levels. As founder and managing partner of New Amsterdam Partners, an institutional money management firm in New York, she is keenly aware of the challenges that women face in business. To help eradicate the systemic inequities women face in business and positively use her experience to help other women, she co-founded two initiatives at the GSB: the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and the Women’s Circles, a global support network for GSB alumnae intended to  help them navigate through career and life transitions.

Clayman has held numerous volunteer and leadership positions at Stanford and beyond. In addition to chairing the Clayman Institute’s Advisory Council, she has served on the GSB Dean’s Advisory Council and the Humanities & Sciences Council. Outside Stanford, she serves on the boards of the Institute for Quantitative Research in Finance, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, and the Harvard Divinity School.

“I was delighted by the election of Michelle Clayman to the Board of Trustees,” commented Stanford Dean of the School of Humanities & Sciences Richard Saller, who worked with Clayman in her role on the H&S Advisory Council. “Her contributions to Stanford are already manifold, and she will bring fresh perspectives to the Board, as she did to the H&S Council.”


Clayman also continues to be an active volunteer in her local community. A Girl Scout leader for seventeen years, Clayman currently serves on the board of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York.

For her decades of outstanding service on behalf of women and underrepresented communities, Clayman has been the recipient of numerous awards: She was the first woman to win the Stanford GSB Excellence in Leadership Award, in 2008; she received the “Making a Difference for Women” Award, in 2010, by the National Council for Research on Women; she was awarded two Stanford Associates Awards of Merit, as well as the John W. Gardner Volunteer Leadership Award, and the Stanford Medal.

Clayman now takes her years of leadership and university and community service to Stanford’s Board of Trustees, where she will, no doubt, create an immediate, positive impact: “It is such an honor to be elected to the Board of Trustees,” she said. “Stanford has enabled me to have the life I have led. I’m so moved by Leland and Jane Stanfords’ vision for their University laid out in the Founding Grant,” she continued, quoting the following from the Stanfords’ vision statement:

Its object, to qualify its students for personal success, and direct usefulness in life;
And its purposes, to promote the public welfare by exercising an influence in behalf of humanity and civilization....

“I hope,” she expressed, “I can live up to that vision in service of the Stanford community.” 

A gender lens
exposes gaps in knowledge,
identifies root causes of barriers,
and proposes workable solutions.