top of page

Chantel Cabaj & Elsa Johnson

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Founders of DirectHer Network

Episode 57: Opening Up a Seat at the Boardroom



You all made sure Carrie knew about why she needed to book the guest for this week, and she listened! Elsa and Chantel from DirectHer join the Inner Circle, and these two powerhouse female lawyers discuss how and why they created a very successful nonprofit to help women understand and participate in the world of board governance. They talk about their first meeting in law school and how opposites attracted, why women tend to not go for board positions, and how we can grab opportunities for ourselves and encourage others to use their voice. They also talk about how DirectHer helps women get over the intimidation of being on a board, the common themes that come up, and the appreciation they have for men as allies.

What You’ll Hear In This Episode:

● What exactly is DirectHer, and the way the nonprofit empowers women with the knowledge and confidence to serve as board directors and leaders.

● How founders Elsa and Chantel met in law school, and became great friends and business partners, much to Elsa’s surprise.

● Like the women that make up the DirectHer Network, Elsa and Chantel lift each other up and support each other through the ups and downs of their careers and lives.

● DirectHer was born in November 2016, the day after Trump was elected President. The strong visceral reaction both Elsa and Chantel had motivated them and sparked action.

● The main reasons why women feel intimidated to join boards, and how DirectHer works to overcome the barriers from all angles.

● How exactly DirectHer creates knowledge on board governance and gets women over the fear of not knowing what the language in meetings means, the intimidation and that pesky Impostor Syndrome feeling.

● DirectHer is not only here to increase women's participation in the boardroom but to encourage diversity as a whole and be a voice for all communities that face barriers.

● What the response has been since they launched, and what we can expect from DirectHer in the future.

● Examples of language in board meetings that are simple concepts, but can make an outsider feel like a fish out of water.

● What exactly a board is, what the purpose of a board is, and how it differs from a committee or a task force.

● How men fit in at DirectHer, and are also helping by being great allies and support.

● What being on a board can do for a woman professionally, personally, and for the greater discussion of gender equality.

● Why having a singular skill set or being able to see the big picture are both two great assets to joining a board.


● “Diversity of thought is what drives innovation.”

● “We have these systems in place that demonstrate why people have been left out and why they aren’t getting back in.”

● “I was our audience. I was so scared and self- selecting out. I’m our best customer in that regard.”

● “Practice interviewing. Practice applying. Practice being on a board, that’s what gives you the experience.”

● “We are all in it together.”

● “There is beauty in differences and in vulnerability.”


Journey Into the Inner Circle:

@CarrieADoll – Twitter

@carriedollconsulting – Instagram

Carrie Doll – Facebook


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page