The quest for strong, diversified representation on corporate boards recently reached a tipping point after Nasdaq’s announcement that it aims to require Nasdaq-listed companies to reveal their board composition (using a board matrix showing race and gender statistics as a condition of listing).
Companies listed on the exchange reads the proposal, must have “at least two diverse directors, including one who self-identifies as a woman and one who self-identifies as either an underrepresented minority or LGBTQ.”
“We’ve slid backwards with respect to equity on boards, and there are overwhelmingly more white people than any others,”
Lisa Anne Thompson Taylor, CEO of Board Veritas
Shortly after the announcement a new star was born: The Board Matrix. Not because it was new, but because it received national recognition to a degree that was unprecedented. Anyone serving on a board seemed to take notice.
Will nonprofit organizations soon follow what could turn out to be a new corporate must-have?
Although critics deemed Nasdaq’s proposal a “stunt,” implying that its CEO, Adena Friedman, is using the diversity consulting firm Equilar for more than just merely as a strategic partner, it still highlights a conversation about board transformation.
“We’ve slid backwards with respect to equity on boards, and there are overwhelmingly more white people than any others,” says Lisa Thompson Taylor, Board Veritas CEO, a board governance and coaching company based in Washington, DC. Thompson adds: “there is little racial equity within NGOs with the exception of international organizations where we’ve seen strong representation due to the need for local representation in countries where they’re active.”
Board Veritas anticipates proposals front the incoming Biden administration on diversity, gender, equity and worker constituent representation. “We expect the Biden Administration to harness the talent of under-represented communities in the context of executive and board leadership,” says Thompson.
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