最近在12月1日Tech-Heavy纳斯达克提出了提案with the Securities and Exchange Commission that would require companies to disclose their board’s diversity and to have at least two diverse directors. While the proposal remains unresolved, it was the latest high-profile sign that pressure to diversify corporate boards is mounting, especially in the tech sector, which remains mostly male-dominated.
The pressure isn’t only a demand for equity, either, as studies repeatedly show diverse boards performing better than homogeneous ones. As a result, more and more companies are beginning to turn to the “board diversity ecosystem,” which has been developing over the last decade or so. It is an ecosystem built on technological innovation.
As companies begin to broaden their search for board candidates, they have come up against a barrier that many see as insurmountable. The so-called “pipeline problem” refers to the sense that there are only so many qualified “diverse” board members out there, and that most of them are already on a board.
Fortunately, the pipeline problem is demonstrably untrue. The problem that is really on display — and it is the one that is easiest for technology to solve — is a networking problem.
Most board appointments rely on the “who do you know” approach of finding candidates. That has a tendency to limit board diversity because most of us know people who, for the most part, look like us. As a result, boards of predominantly white men are likely to have networks made up, predominantly, of white men.
Just because the pipeline problem doesn’t exist, though, doesn’t prevent the myth from having consequences. Although the percentage of women on boards has improved steadily (if slowly) as evidenced by the graph below, over the last decade, people of color have seen much smaller gains in the boardroom in the same time period.
Five years ago, gender diversity statistics on boards looked far worse. The Pacific Northwest — a region that prides itself on being progressive and forward-thinking — was lagging significantly behind board diversity in the rest of the country. These stark statistics prompted myself, Deanna Oppenheimer, Phyllis Campbell, and several other PNW business leaders to mobilize our networks and determine how we could help improve corporate board diversity in the Northwest and perhaps nationally.
Data and our collective discussions led Deanna, with the support of our collective networks, to createBoardReady.io，寻求弹射委员会多样性的非营利性。我们发现，董事会多样性最重要的技术创新也许是最不性感的：数字网络和数据跟踪。
数字网络帮助伴随矩阵ies to branch outside of their standard networks and discover new, diverse, candidates. Their scale shows just how deep the talent pool of diverse professionals really is, and they are integral to busting the “pipeline problem” myth. Nominating committees are often surprised by how many diverse candidates in BoardReady’s digital network are eminently qualified to serve on their board.
Because of their size, digital networks also provide the opportunity to be extremely selective. Rather than hoping that a personal connection is the right fit, tapping into a digital network means that nominating committees can stipulate experience that their board currently lacks and ensure that every candidate they meet fulfills that need. So many firms are doing this well right now, whether it’s Diligent, with a network of 700,000 business leaders and executives; the Athena Alliance, which also offers executive coaching to their network of women business leaders; or Nurole, which focuses specifically on connecting boards with board candidates.
The list of organizations that are helping boards diversify via digital networks is constantly growing, which is critical, because advancing board diversity is such a large task. No one organization is capable of solving this issue alone. There’s no single public policy, private initiative, or nonprofit that can move the needle on board diversity alone. It’s why we’re proud to have partnered with the organizations above, along with many others, because those partnerships are force-multipliers. They are integral to bringing meaningful, large-scale progress to the highest levels of business.
其他应用程序的技术超越connections. Our ability to store and process data has advanced at a dizzying pace over the last several decades. As a result, advocates for board diversity have more information to make our case now than ever before. Data tracking is to board diversity what the Fitbit is to health goals. It reveals our starting point, which helps us make specific plans to improve board diversity for both individual firms and for the corporate world at large.
The insight that such data tracking offers is particularly useful in light of regulations like California’s recent board diversity legislation, as many firms are being forced to diversify their boards quickly, some of which do not even know where to begin. Our analytic is entirely dependent upon technology, from the algorithm that computes the score to the databases that it pulls from, to its comparative power.
Particularly in the era of COVID, when so much business is going online, corporations are more open than ever before to finding candidates through digital networks. As a result, many companies are discovering for the first time how deep the pool of exceptional, diverse director candidates really is. In addition, pressure to diversify is building as customers, investors, and even some government regulators are beginning to demand more board diversity, whether to address inequality, to achieve governance best practices, or to pursue stronger financial returns.
所有这一切都意味着我们正在遇到一个前所未有的机会来将针头转移到船上的多样性上。In the coming years, I expect technology to be leveraged even further to advance board diversity, in ways that we can’t yet predict. Technological advances over the last several decades have helped us prepare for this moment, ensuring that the next generation of corporate leaders is more diverse than ever before.
If you’re interested in partnering with BoardReady or learning more about board diversity, contact Jeni Elam email@example.com.