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Building a Diverse Board of Directors: Where to Start

As you gaze upon your board of directors, what do you see? Is it a diverse tapestry of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives? Or does it seem to reflect a homogeneous slice of society? Recruiting diverse board members is not only a matter of ethical imperative but also a strategic advantage. Diverse boards bring varied insights, innovative ideas, and broader networks, which are crucial for navigating today’s complex business landscape.

That said, embarking on this journey can be daunting if you’re unsure where to begin. Here are four actionable strategies to kickstart your recruiting process and cultivate a more inclusive boardroom.

  1. Targeted Outreach: Develop targeted outreach strategies to reach diverse candidates, including advertising in publications or websites that cater to diverse communities.​

  2. Alumni Networks: Tap into alumni networks of colleges, universities, or professional associations known for their diverse student bodies to recruit individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.​

  3. Leadership Development Programs: Encourage participation in leadership development programs, such as United Way's Project LEAD, to identify and cultivate potential board members from diverse backgrounds.​

  4. Referral Program: Implement a referral program where current board members or stakeholders can recommend diverse candidates for board positions, leveraging their networks to expand the pool of potential candidates.​

Building a diverse board of directors requires proactive effort, intentionality, and a commitment to inclusivity. These suggestions will steer you in the right direction, and our one-pager offers a quick refresher. Remember, diversity is not just a checkbox—it’s a catalyst for innovation, resilience, and sustainable growth in today’s dynamic business environment. So, take the first step towards a more inclusive future and start diversifying your board today!

The content of this article originates from the Brave Lil' Convos session, Boosting Careers via Nonprofit Leadership, featuring Diamond Herring-Rodgers. For more Brave Lil’ Convos webinar sessions, visit

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