News 9th June 2021 1 minute read

Why a diverse board (really) matters

One of the very few big wins of 2020 was that we came out of it with far greater diversity on the boards of charities and other non-profits than we began with. George Floyd’s legacy has been that many organisations have realised that their boards do not reflect the communities they serve and more importantly, have done something about it.

Last year, we appointed 77 people to Chair and trustee roles, and of those 35% were racially diverse. Many brought other sorts of diverse identities to those boards – socioeconomic background, disability, LGBT+, younger trustees, and general high-calibre different thinking. It’s been great to see these really talented individuals, many of whom we know well, in positions where they make a difference across the sector.

We have also been pleased to see people who lead organisations want to have conversations about diversity, particularly about race, and to find people who can help them do this. They know this will not always be easy, and will call for honesty, humility and even vulnerability, but until these can happen they sense they cannot get the meaningful change they need.

It’s not enough to feel the board now looks more satisfying on the website. The key to change is that everyone has to change, to budge up, to make room for new and different perspectives. This will mean sharing power, opening up to new ways of doing things, losing a sense of certainty about the future. It calls for a strong sense of a ‘true north’ in values, a willingness to learn from mistakes, and boundless curiosity. A lot to ask, but the years to come will demand a lot of us, so buckle up!

This article was originally posted on the Clore Leadership Website 16.3.21.

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