‘Black Women on Boards’ working to increase diversity in boardrooms

“The more diversity, the better performance” says organization

Black Women on Boards ringing NASDAQ's opening bell (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Diversity and inclusion have become buzzwords in the workplace, with companies sounding off about their importance. But the numbers on corporate boards tell a different story.

Black Women on Boards is on a mission to increase diversity in corporate boardrooms. Merline Saintil is a Fortune 500 board director and one of the group’s founders.

“The stats are staggering. 4% of the S&P 500 consists of Black women and part of what we’re saying is, the more diversity, the better performance,” Saintil said.

Black Women on Boards has grown from 18 members in 2020 to more than 150. So far, about 60% have landed board seats.

“We’re mentoring and we’re supporting each other,” said advisor Shannon Nash.

She said all members are talented, qualified, and board-ready, but that access is often the biggest roadblock.

“A lot of these positions, whether it is in the C-suite or on a board, are by word of mouth. They are not something you can just go on a website and apply for,” Nash said.

To build those key relationships, the organization is conducting a six-month accelerator program including coaching, workshops, and webinars. The goal is to place all 20 participants on boards by the end of the year. The reward is both influence and compensation.

“It’s usually a combination of cash and stock,” Nash said. “If you’re in a corporation and you’re climbing that corporate ladder, you should really start thinking about how to make yourself board-ready.”