Behind the Research

Analyzing and collecting the data for The 2009 Minnesota Census

The 2009 Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership examines the percentage of women in leadership roles at the 100 largest publicly held companies headquartered in Minnesota as ranked by 2008 net revenues in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune 100: 18th Annual Report (April 2009) and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal top 100 list (April 2009).

Excluded from the list are closely held companies, cooperatives, and fraternal benefits organizations, and over-the-counter stocks. Of Minnesota’s 19 Fortune 500 companies, three companies are not represented in The Minnesota Census data sample: Land O’ Lakes, CHS, Inc., and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Although the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lists these as public companies with more than 500 shareholders, they are not publicly traded on a stock exchange.

Data for The 2009 Minnesota Census were collected from company filings with the SEC, including proxy statements (DEF 14A), annual reports (Form 10-K), and current reports (Form 8-K). Accessed online through EDGAR, the most recent SEC filings through June 30, 2009, were reviewed for data collection.

Data confirmation sheets were e-mailed or mailed to the corporate secretary and chief executive officer of each company that requested verification of the information and notification of any changes occurring before the census cutoff deadline of June 30, 2009. Follow-up phone calls were made to the companies that had not responded by the requested deadline. The company response rate to data confirmation requests was 74 percent. Changes that occurred in board membership, executive officer appointments, company ownership, or bankruptcy filings after the period covered by the June 30, 2009, filings are not reflected in this analysis. Data gathered and confirmed on each of the 100 companies included the following:

  • Total number of corporate directors;
  • Number, names, and titles of women directors;
  • Total number of executive officers;
  • Number, names, and titles of women executive officers;
  • Total number of most highly compensated officers (named officers) as reported to the SEC; and
  • Names and titles of women executive officers included in the most highly compensated officer list.

Criteria for inclusion in the “executive officer” category vary by company. To be consistent, the Census uses only those individuals formally designated as Section 16b executive officers in SEC filings. The top earners (usually five) in the company are defined as the most highly compensated executive officers — the “named executive officers” in each company’s proxy statement.

All reasonable steps have been taken to verify the accuracy of the data. Any remaining errors or omissions are the sole responsibility of the researchers.

— Rebecca Hawthorne, Ph.D., program director and assistant professor, Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership, St. Catherine University

— Joann Bangs, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics, St. Catherine University