(250) 465-1245 colin@governance.ca

“We need more diversity on our board.”

Does this sound like a statement you’ve heard – or said – at your board table? Many boards are raising this issue when discussing their board-recruiting strategies. And rightfully so. It’s important for boards to make decisions that reflect the diversity of the constituents their organizations serve.

However, the topic requires deeper conversation and understanding at the board table before recruiting strategies can be developed. More discussion is needed to gain clarity on the terms and what they represent.

In a recent article by Naomi Mercer, “Diversity is an outcome,” she writes, “I hear diversity and inclusion coupled together, and frequently interchanged with each other. They are not the same. Perhaps more egregious is leaving out equity, which is necessary to change systemic and institutionalized disparities within organizations.”

She continues, “The important point to remember is that equity and inclusion are processes. When those processes are executed with intention, diversity is the outcome.”

Good points to consider. Do we spend too much time talking about the outcome (diversity) without talking enough about equity and inclusion as the processes that will get us there? What is it we’re really wanting as an outcome and, specifically, what are the steps we need to take to achieve it?

As Naomi states in her article, diversity can consider a lot of different things, “such as gender, race or ethnicity, socioeconomic class, age or generation, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, able-bodiedness or accessibility, caregiver and/or family status, veteran status, national origin and/or citizenship status, neurodiversity, languages spoken, education level, religion, marital status, cultural affiliations, learning style, and any combination thereof.”

As a board, we owe it to the organization to understand this topic better before running off and recruiting for it. Your board may want to consider a board workshop or training session as a first step.

If I can help you with recruiting or any other aspect of your board performance, please call me at 250.465.1245 or email me at colin@governance.ca