LGBTQ+ people only represent 0.6 percent of all corporate board members in Fortune 500 companies in 2022 (see our tracker here), an increase of only 0.1% over the past 5 years.
Until this year, LGBTQ+ people were the only underrepresented group in the Boardroom without an organization to prepare, network, and position high-caliber diverse LGBTQ+ talent from a variety of industries and professions for corporate board service in the US.
Created in June 2022, the Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors is remedying this issue by promoting a culture of inclusion for LGBTQ+ people in America. By collaborating with U.S. companies, recruiters and intermediaries, we create new opportunities for LGBTQ+ top-tier existing and aspiring candidates and make corporate boards more representative of today’s America. The Association is led by a Board of 10 members who are among the most prominent LGBTQ+ people in the Governance world.
Our efforts have focused on three key areas:
- fostering relationships among LGBTQ+ people in the Governance world;
- working with companies, recruiters, and other partners to elevate LGBTQ+ profile;
- providing coaching and helping our candidates map out the journey to the boardroom.
With more than 300 members, the Association is already the largest repository of LGBTQ+ candidates in the country. In the second half of 2022, aspiring and existing Board members met each other in dinners we hosted on the East Coast such as New York (September), DC (October) and Philadelphia (November). Similar dinners are scheduled for New York (January focusing on LGBTQ+ people of color in the Boardroom), LA (February), Miami (April). Our members also interact on the Association’s virtual platform. Outside of the Association, we have encouraged members to take a more active role in the National Association of Corporate Directors with which we strengthened our relationship in 2022 by playing an active role in the Annual Summit, joining the DEI Awards Jury, continuing to participate in the NACD Center for Inclusive Governance and collaborating with the NACD Northern California Chapter’s LGBTQ+ Directors cohort. Similarly, we designed a guide on inclusive language in Minutes for the Society for Corporate Governance.
Working with intermediaries and recruiters
During the past six months, the Association worked with intermediaries such as J.P. Morgan Advisory Services or the New York Stock Exchange Board Diversity Initiative to highlight LGBTQ+ profiles. Twelve of our members have already joined the NYSE program. We also shared our initiative on the NASDAQ blog. We provided our open-source database of candidates to most recruiters in the industry and already contributed to five specific Board searches.
Coaching and mapping our members’ Board journey
The Association onboarded hundreds of LGBTQ+ aspiring and existing Board members in 2022, focusing on an individual approach. This week, we are hosting our second webinar on the theme of “landing a first board seat”. We also developed a guide on the same topic earlier this year. The previous webinar focused on the role of accreditation. We keep in touch with our membership through a weekly newsletter covering the Boardroom as well as topics at the intersection of business and LGBTQ+ news.
Outside of these key areas, the Association continued to focus on growing the demand by approaching private equity and other institutional shareholders, working with our research partner Equilar on bringing greater transparency on LGBTQ+ Board representation and building corporate partnerships.
On the international side, the Association supported the creation of the Canadian Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors which has its own Advisory Board (on which Fabrice serves). Similar chapters are at various stages of development in the UK, Australia, Colombia, India, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Fabrice gave remarks on LGBTQ+ Board Diversity at the Annual Women’s Forum in Paris in November 2022 and the London Climate Summit.
Our team is encouraged by the rapid growth of the Association and its reception in the community and the governance world, clearly highlighting that the Association fills an important gap.
In 2023, we plan to keep the focus on our three key areas while hopefully building more direct links with US companies to enroll them in this effort. We will also reach out to the mainstream media, specialized magazines, and publications focusing on boardrooms in order to ensure the Association and its members are on every Board’s radar screen. We will also secure additional corporate partners to join our founding sponsor J.P. Morgan.
Wishing you great holidays.