Yesterday I had the pleasure of hosting our first OutLeadership Quorum Board Fit virtual event for aspiring board members. While we previously held a series of events across the World focused on LGBT+ leadership at the board level, it was the first time we held such a session virtually.
Launched in 2015, QUORUM is the global leader for improving LGBT+ representation in the boardroom. We’ve built a network of over 900 LGBT+ leaders interested in board leadership, created advisories for key companies in governance guidelines, and engaged with policy leaders across the country to help foster change. In 2018, QUORUM introduced its LGBT+ Board Diversity Guidelines to leading companies.
The session featured Susan Angele, a Senior Advisor at KPMG’s Board Leadership Center, which provides a powerful combination of resources and insight to help boards deepen. KPMG has been a QUORUM sponsor since the program launched.
Susan gave an overview of the responsibilities and changing landscape of the modern corporate board. Citing the current COVID-19 crisis, she highlighted that Boards are currently intense and demanding commitments. She discussed Board responsibilities and the differences between publicly-traded, private, and not-for-profit organizations. Susan also reiterated the importance of Board diversity: not surprisingly studies show over and over that if you take a diverse group and compare it to a completely homogenous group, the decisions coming from the diverse groups are better.
Her remarks were followed by a presentation by Matt Fust. Matt, QUORUM Senior Advisor for Our Leadership. Matt serves on the boards of directors of several life science companies.
Matt gave four concrete tips to aspiring Board members:
Out Leadership will continue advocating for greater representation of LGBT+ people on Boards not only because we deserve our fair share of seats but also because being in decision-making bodies is crucial to ending discrimination against LGBT+ people in business. As I mentioned in my introductory remarks: “If you are not at the table, you are definitely available on that menu and we all know what happens to what is on the menu. You get devoured”
As a next step, OutLeadership with support from Senior Advisor Matt Fust is scheduling additional QUORUM Board Fit virtual events with a focus on specific industries. We are also working with Gaingels around their ongoing efforts to place LGBT+ individuals on the boards of their portfolio companies. Stay tuned!
COVID-19 magnifies demographic challenges in the Boardroom (March 24, 2020)