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Executive Research Perspective:

Diversity, equity and inclusion in association governance

As membership association leaders, we are fundamentally dedicated to creating a place to belong. And yet an organization’s volunteer leadership may not reflect the rich diversity of its membership—or the membership may not reflect the population that the organization serves. According to a new report from the ASAE Research Foundation, associations have a long way to go to reach truly representative leadership, particularly in healthcare, professional and education organizations.

James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” The new foundation research invites association leaders to look at diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) within their governance structures—and to make vital changes. The research report, Are Association Boards Embracing DE&I?, provides an analysis of survey data and input from experts to identify effective board governance practices and action steps to enhance DE&I at the highest levels of association leadership.

We know that organizations that are diverse perform better, but the realization of diverse leadership lags. According to the foundation study, the majority of association board members are white men, age 30-59, occupying board seats that are filled for about six years on average. Many association boards have lacked diversity for much of their history.

Please select this link to read the complete article from ASAE’s Center for Association Leadership.

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