A good year for the Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors

Closing 2023: A Year of the Queering of the Corporate Boardroom in Review

Fabrice Houdart


In its sophomore year, the Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors has pioneered a transformative shift in the narrative and framework of Board Diversity in the United States. This year stands as a milestone in elevating LGBTQ+ voices within corporate governance.

Here is a recap of a year that launched LGBTQ+ talent in the corporate governance conversation. Back in September, we celebrated the anniversary of the Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors, which was created in June 2022 and launched officially at JPMorgan Chase NY Headquarters in September 2022.

Since September, we have hosted new events in Los Angeles and San Francisco, released our analysis of the NASDAQ Board Diversity disclosures data, hosted a first dinner at the NACD Annual Conference in Washington, DC, the inaugural Summit of the association in New York City, and rang the Bell at NASDAQ. Here is 2023 in review before we officially close the year:

Expanding Membership and Outreach

  • Membership Growth: The Association has continued to grow its membership. On average, the 217 members currently serving on Boards are 57.23 years old; they are more gender-balanced, with 123 male, 92 female, and two identifying as non-binary (Tenure: 6.45 years, Average Market Cap ($M): $98,518 million, Average Revenue ($M): $29,153 million). We also have 336 aspiring board members (208 male, 125 female, and one non-binary) with an average age of 54.75.
  • Representation Data: Our unprecedented analysis revealed that despite representing 7.2% of the U.S. population, only 0.8% of Fortune 500 and 1.22% of NASDAQ-listed company seats are held by LGBTQ+ people.
  • Member Recognition: Highlighting the success of our members, several were included in the prestigious Top 50 Diverse Board Candidates list published by Equilar and Nasdaq this week. This acknowledgment served as a testament to the skills and diversity our members bring to corporate governance.

Key Events and Activities

  • NACD Conference in Washington DC: Hosted a significant dinner, contributing to the advocacy for LGBTQ+ inclusion and a sense of community at the Summit.
  • New York City Summit: A landmark inaugural summit held in New York City, bringing together 140 leaders and advocates.
  • NASDAQ Closing Bell: Marking a high-profile recognition, the Association rang the closing bell at NASDAQ the day after our Summit (watch the edited video).
  • Regional Dinners: Hosted dinners in major cities, including Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and DC, fostering networking and discussions​.
  • Monthly Webinars: Conducted webinars on topics like NACD Board Accreditation and Board service preparation, underlining the Association’s commitment to education and awareness​.
  • Change of Status to 501(c)3: A significant organizational development was the transition of our status from a 501(c)6 to a 501(c)3, reflecting our dedication to charitable and educational purposes.

Press Coverage and Advocacy

  • Media Features: Garnered attention in notable publications such as Nasdaq, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, Fortune Magazine, and more (see the list in References below). These articles discussed underrepresentation on boards and the importance of LGBTQ+ diversity in corporate governance.
  • Legislative Engagement: Engagement with legislators and policymakers, including communication with the SEC, highlighted the need for diversity disclosure regulations.​

Global Reach

The Association continued to work with its sister organizations in Canada (LGBTQ Corporate Directors Canada) and Australia (ALBEI)

Some Data Points

Research and Reports

  • Board Representation Research: In collaboration with Equilar & Nasdaq, the Association published annual reports on LGBTQ+ board representation, providing critical insights and updates​. We also reviewed the Nasdaq-listed companies' disclosures on whether they had an LGBTQ+ Board Member this year (10% do, representing 1.22% of all Board seats).

Looking Ahead

Future Initiatives and Goals for 2024

  • Continued Networking and Education: Plans to host more dinners and summits in various cities and regular webinars for members are underway. These events are crucial for building networks and enhancing the skills of existing and aspiring directors​.
  • Advocacy, Research, and Awareness Raising: The Association will continue to amplify LGBTQ+ profiles and educate through various channels, including newsletters and sponsorships​.
  • Legal and Regulatory Advocacy: As a 501(c)(3) organization, the Association will persist in advocating for legal and regulatory changes that support LGBTQ+ representation in corporate boardrooms​.
  • Strengthening Global Networks: The Association aims to expand its global network, helping to establish sister organizations in critical regions like the UK.
  • Building Partnerships: Strengthening partnerships with other organizations and fostering new collaborations will remain a priority.

2023 has been a year of significant achievements for the Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors. Through its various initiatives, events, and advocacy, the Association has reinforced its commitment to increasing LGBTQ+ representation in corporate America. As we look ahead, the Association plans to professionalize its structure and push the envelope further.

2023 References

  1. Nasdaq Article on LGBTQ+ Board Diversity: Nasdaq Article
  2. Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance: Harvard Article
  3. Nasdaq Closing Bell Event: Nasdaq Event
  4. NASDAQ: complimentary photo gallery download: Bell Ringing
  5. NASDAQ Online Photo Gallery: Bell Ringing
  6. NASDAQ Edited video
  7. Disclosures in 44 NYSE-listed companies: our article
  8. Fortune Magazine: Companies still see LGBTQ+ board representation as ‘frivolous,’ according to a corporate advocate
  9. Money Control: LGBTQ+ professionals in India welcome in specific industries, underrepresented in others
  10. Bloomberg: Best Books 2023: Business Leaders 58 Must-Read Picks
  11. CLS Blusesky blog Columbia What NASDAQ Disclosures Reveal About LGBTQ+ Representation and Overall Diversity in the Boardroom
  12. NACD Board Talk Blog: Women’s Representation in the Boardroom blog.nacdonline.org
  13. Royal Society for Arts, June 2023, RSA Fellows making an impact in the LGBTQ+ community
  14. Companies That Embraced Social Issues Have Second Thoughts, June 6, 2023, WSJ
  15. LGBTQ+ Execs, Directors Aim to Grow Share of Board Seats — Agenda, November 13, 2023, Houdart said a transgender board member in the Fortune 500 would be “a normalization….
  16. Nasdaq Board Diversity Rule Faces New Challenge — Agenda, November 08, 2023 — Article, LGBTQ+ diversity hovers around 1% for both Fortune 500 and Nasdaq-listed companies, according to the Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors.
  17. Surge in LGBTQ+ Inclusive Board Policies — Agenda, April 28, 2023 — Article, “In addition, stereotypes continue to play a role that's difficult to talk about, said Houdart. “
  18. Despite Challenges, Boards Comply with Nasdaq Diversity Rules — Agenda, September 09, 2022 — Article Fabrice Houdart, executive director of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors, said that the groups challenging the Nasdaq rules are out of touch with what investors want.
  19. Milestone — Board Majority Is Openly LGBTQ+ — Agenda, June 06, 2022 — Article
  20. ‘Train Has Left the Station’ — California Board Diversity Ruling to Be Appealed — Agenda, May 20, 2022 — Article
  21. Experts Urge Boards to Include LGBTQ+ in Diversity Policies — Agenda, April 22, 2022 — Article
  22. The Choice, ESCP: Queer leadership: LGBTQI+ people still overwhelmingly absent from corporate boards
Ringing the Bell at NASDAQ, October 2023



Fabrice Houdart

Fabrice is on the Board of Outright Action International. Previously he was an officer at the UN Human Rights Office and World Bank