There’s been a lot of media exposing the lack of women on corporate boards. The good news is that the number is on the rise. According to the Washington Post, women hold 20% of board seats among the Fortune 500, but, but, but, it will be 28 years before 50/50 is hit. I think transparency is certainly the first step towards filling this gap, but what’s really needed is a process. I don’t hear much about that.
I sit on several boards, private and non-profit. In each case, I had a preexisting relationship with the entity prior to the invitation to join. That’s not how to scale a solution to a big problem. If we’re going to rethink how companies increase the number of women on their boards, I think we should start small, and there’s no better place to start than startups.
We should 1) help prepare these companies, 2) recruit professional women, 3) then leverage data and network effects to connect them.
This is not the only way to solve the lack of diversity on corporate boards, but I do believe that solving the talent gap of emerging companies will cut years off the path we’re on now.