Diversity and Public Company Boards: A New Resource for Women Candidates

Diversity on public company boards persists as an issue in corporate America. While progress has been made in the past decade, it is still the case that only 18 percent of boards at S&P 500 companies have female directors, according to Equilar.

Equilar's blue graph showing the amount of female directors S&P 500 companies in percentages from 2007 through 2014.

When looking at the percentage of women of color on a board, that number gets much smaller – 2.8 percent of Fortune 500 boards have that kind of diversity, according to Catalyst.

There’s been an explosion of resources on the topic as of late – some of which are great, and many of which are, frankly, not that helpful. The overabundance of resources can itself become an impediment, whether you want to be on a board yourself or are attempting to recruit your next great board member.

Luckily for all of us, Gerri Elliott has stepped into the breach to create a resource that curates the multiplicity of resources out there: While many other organizations are trying to address the issue of boardroom diversity on their own, is the only place I know of that has done the hard work of gathering the most relevant resources and conversations on this important topic in one place.

Broadrooms has the support of an impressive number of sponsors, including the Stanford University Rock Center for Corporate Governance. Senior Rock Center faculty member and Stanford University Professor of Accounting David Larcker is one of Broadroom’s advisors.

Amanda Packel, co-director of Stanford Directors’ College and moderator of this year’s panel on board diversity, speaks highly of Broadrooms, noting that she’s personally “sending as many people as possible—both on the candidate and the recruiter side—to Broadrooms because of the richness of resources it provides.”

Gerri herself is someone who was wildly effective in her search for board seats after retiring as senior executive at a public company, and now serves on a number of public company boards.

Rather than stopping there, however, Gerri decided that she wanted to do something about the fact that women are still underrepresented when it comes to public company boards. And was born.

I urge you to spend time on the website if this matter is of interest to you, and refer it to others when they’re looking to join a board.

While it’s still the case that the best way to get on a board is to be excellent at what you do and to network with people who are already on a board, being able to access information and ideas at a place like Broadrooms can make your search  much more efficient.

Finally, remember that you don’t just want to join a board; you want to join a board that is the right fit for you. To that end, consider reviewing my earlier post on "Questions to Ask before Joining a Board."

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author. This blog should not be taken as insurance or legal advice for your particular situation. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email:



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