How to Reset Your Board Diversity Efforts
Efforts to diversify boards are wobbling
Hope isn’t a strategy, as they say, but it can sometimes seem that way when it comes to board diversity.
Recent reports have put the spotlight on how women and minorities aren’t gaining new seats on corporate boards; a Heidrick & Struggles survey found that companies are favoring board members with past executive experience, which reduces the pool of first-time and diverse board members. Meanwhile, another report finds that Latinos have been shut out of the boardrooms of major corporations. One reason for that may be that organizations’ efforts to diversify their boards have been more reactive than intentional, and more interested in optics than truly diverse leadership. As board expert Julie Daum told the Los Angeles Times last month: “Are we going to say, ‘I’m blond. Now we need a person who has dark hair in the the room because blonds have a different experience’”?
The Heidrick and Struggles report stresses the importance of keeping conversations about diversity on the table: “Aside from broadening the talent pool for future board positions, it's important that companies ramp up their focus on improving diversity in their executive leadership teams—particularly for roles that more often lead to CEO or board positions.”
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