How to Build a Diverse Board of Directors

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

Many board members and organizations claim to be “champions of diversity,” yet diversity among board members remains shockingly low. Diversity is not simply a buzzword you use in your career marketing documents. Instead, it is an ongoing commitment to representing various skills, perspectives, and backgrounds in the overall direction a strategy of the business. Besides the positive impacts of having a diverse board of directors—profitability, innovation, and employee and customer engagement—frankly, it’s the right thing to do.

The most impactful place to start showcasing diversity is with the board of directors. A diverse board of directors will have a ripple effect throughout the organization, resulting in better talent and passionately committed customers.

How to Promote Diversity within Your Board of Directors

  • Address low turnover by adding a board seat. The simplest way to make almost immediate change is to add a board seat. It can be permanent or temporary, but the bottom line is that it is a quick action that demonstrates a commitment to diversity.
  • Educate board members on unconscious bias. All humans form ideas, judgements, and assessments automatically based on their individual experiences and generalize and categorize them into good/easy and bad/difficult experiences. Educate board members to be on the lookout for these biases during the selection process.
  • Set the stage for diversity to be non-negotiable. Diversity must be considered an urgent non-negotiable requirement. Investors, employees, and customers insist on diversity in the organizations they invest in, work for, and support.
  • Go beyond your own limited network. Humans tend to gravitate towards people they have things in common with, especially things like appearance, beliefs, and background. This natural attraction is a perfect example of unconscious bias. Look for board candidates who do not match your identity by attending events outside of your realm, searching and contacting candidates on LinkedIn, or asking contacts for recommendations.
  • Do what boards do best: plan. Formalize board succession plans before they are needed. Having a formal plan of replacing or adding a board member will allow for diversity due diligence to occur during hiring by avoiding a rushed decision and confusing process.

To find out how we can highlight your commitment to diversity on your board resume, book a complimentary and confidential call with us here.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of CEOresumewriter.com and Maryelizabethbradford.com and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.