BOSTON — State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg announced the release of a comprehensive report from her “Bringing Diversity on Board” initiative, an effort she launched earlier this year to help corporate leaders advance diversity in the boardroom. In May, Goldberg organized three roundtables in Boston that brought together participants from the following industries: technology; finance; and health care, biotechnology, life sciences, and pharmaceuticals. The report provides a detailed overview of the successful strategies and action items shared at the roundtables.
“Board directors are charged with planning the strategic direction of the companies they oversee in a dynamic and rapidly-evolving environment. Recruiting, investing in, and retaining a diverse board is not just a social goal; it is a business imperative,” said Treasurer Goldberg. “Working together, we are making important progress to strengthen our businesses and our economy. Now is the time to seize the momentum. We hope corporate leaders and other stakeholders find this report helpful and practical.”
The full report is available below, and an executive summary is included here.
Successful Strategies for Corporate Leaders
Plan early, write clearly, and work patiently to recruit diverse directors.
Recruit a pipeline of diverse directors before seats open.
Specify, in writing, desired qualities of new directors.
Require search firms to include women and people of color on the roster.
Develop a timeline but be flexible.
Consider implementing term or age limits to create board openings.
Identify and address unconscious biases and stereotypes.
Set leadership priorities and company-wide diversity goals.
Establish clear leadership on diversity from the CEO, board chair, and nominating and governance committee chair.
Encourage the nominating and governance committee to document its commitment to diversity.
Explain to investors what happens in the boardroom and frame diversity as a performance issue.
Use metrics to recognize challenges and plan progress.
Raise voices and use influence to advocate and require diversity from vendors.
Recognize that creating a diverse board starts with building a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Promote an inclusive workplace culture.
Build a workplace that supports families and promotes work-life balance.
View cultural challenges holistically, not as top-down or bottom-up problems and answers.
Focus on hiring inclusive managers.
Advance diversity through mentoring between directors and employees.
Actively recruit, train, and mentor youth to support the next generation of diverse employees.
Action Items for Advocates, Academics, Public Officials, and Investors
Advocates and academics should examine best practices and help focus the agenda.
Highlight company success stories.
Engage with companies struggling to diversify their boards.
Facilitate shareholder activism beyond boardroom issues.
Build public-private partnerships with business schools.
State treasurers and government officials should promote board diversity with broader audiences and engage directly with companies.
Increase public awareness and use scorecards with detailed goals to generate public momentum and support for board diversity.
Create a CEO and board chair advisory board.
Serve as a resource by convening diverse directors to facilitate mentorship and networking opportunities.
Pension funds and institutional investors should use their power as shareholders to advance diversity and explain its impact.
Urge private equity firms and mutual funds to advocate for increased diversity at the companies they hold.
File targeted shareholder resolutions.
Connect with broader audiences by explaining the rationale and outcome of corporate governance efforts.
[Download the report here.]