Embracing LGBTQ+ Equality in the Boardroom, Redefining Corporate America
Twelve months ago, we launched the Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors at a dinner hosted by our sponsor, JPMorgan Chase, at their New York headquarters. Here is the speech we delivered on our vision for the Association:
Even though our nation has grown to value LGBTQ+ contributions, the corporate boardroom is proving resistant to change mainly because our efforts have focused more on advocacy than placement
A year later, the Association is the leading national organization advancing LGBTQ+ representation in the Corporate Board Room and a key Board diversity player, boasting over 500+ members.
Below is a list of our accomplishments in year one.
500+ corporate board directors, senior executives, and business leaders
The members of the Association and our partners meet regularly through a series of events. Faithful to the Association’s primary focus, we held dinners in New York for LGBTQ+ People of Color in the Boardroom (January) and LGBTQ+ women (June). We co-hosted a dinner with the Global Equality Caucus in NYC, a dinner in DC after the NACD Summit (October 2022), and one in Philly. We also hosted dinners in DC, Dallas, and Chicago this June. In October, dinners are programmed for the NACD Summit in Maryland, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and our Inaugural Summit in New York City. The network also has a virtual component with the members’ platform.
Fostering talent development
All year long, we offered Board-related educational content to our members. The Association provides monthly webinars for members, from Board Bio, networking, and personal branding to cyber-security and legal skills in the Boardroom. We also co-hosted with NACD Northern California, a regular “LGBTQ+ Directors Coffee Cohort.” Finally, we continue to coach and support our members actively pursuing board seats.
Contributing to Board Searches
Our primary objective is to increase the number of LGBTQ+ people serving on corporate boards in the US. “Leading with Talent” is our motto. The Association aims to be a talent source for corporate boards, search firms, private equity, and institutional investors. We provided member profiles at the request of several Recruiters, Board Nom/Gov Chairs, and Banking Advisory Services. We have also proactively shared our members’ listings with the Top 5 Search Firms in the U.S., so they become more knowledgeable about the LGBTQ+ talent in the marketplace.
Filling the data gap on LGBTQ+ Board Representation
Between February and April, the Association of LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors surveyed existing and aspiring LGBTQ+ Directors through its first barometer survey, leading to the publication on April 18th of the 2023 LGBTQ+ Board Monitor Report, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase and Equilar. We also produced the second iteration of the Annual Pride List of LGBTQ+ people in the Fortune 500 Boardroom.
Gaining visibility through media and talks
Over the past twelve months, the Association was featured in Devex (October 21), NASDAQ (May 1), NACD Board Talk (May 31), the Washington Post (June 2), Affinity Magazine (June 8), Fortune Magazine (June 18), the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance (April 24), Strategic Finance (September 1). We published thought leadership pieces such as “Cultural barriers to LGBTQ+ representation” (November 11). The Association spoke at Fletcher (October), Columbia Business School (February), the Women’s Forum in Paris (November), the Milken Institute in Beverly Hills (May), and Lavender Law in Chicago (July).
Sponsorships and Partnerships
Beyond the sponsorship of JPMorgan Chase, Equilar, the leading provider of corporate leadership data solutions, is a research partner for the organization and co-sponsors our Board Monitor Report. We also deepened our partnerships with the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), Him for Her, the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA), the NYSE board diversity initiative, and many other organizations in the Governance Space. We continued our advocacy in Congress and the Equality Caucus around the ill-informed, ill-designed “Improving Governance through Board Diversity” bill of Sen. Menendez and with institutional investors.
A global network: sister organizations in Canada, Australia & soon the UK
Two sister organizations emerged abroad — first, the LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors Canada Association (on the Board of which Fabrice serves) and then the Australian LGBTQIA+ Board and Executive Inclusion. The United Kingdom is the next logical step, and we are convening a dinner in January 2024 to make this a reality.
Our focus for this second year remains on celebrating LGBTQ+ corporate governance excellence, strengthening the ties between our members and Boards, expanding our geographical coverage (including Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, and Houston in early 2024) within the US, and identifying new sponsors to increase our impact.
Happy first birthday to the Association and its 500+ members.