January 10, 2014
The aptitude for organizations to support inclusion is a c-change requiring new thinking just as in innovation. The process for expanding board participation is not a qualitative formula of adding but also a qualitative formula aligned in appreciation for potential new thinking that is appreciated and recognized. The news that “Apple vows to seek more women and minority board candidates” is a another process for growth.
Following criticism from investor activists, technology juggernaut Apple is pledging to actively try to recruit more women and minorities to its board of directors. Apple’s eight-member board currently has one woman, former Avon CEO Andrea Jung, who is also the only director with a minority background. The company recently agreed to add language to its nominating and corporate governance committee charter saying that it is “committed to actively seeking out highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups to include in the pool from which board nominees are chosen.” The new language was adopted in November, but was first reported Monday following the release of Apple’s preliminary proxy statement,” reports the Washington Post.
The term minority is one step of objectification- smaller pool or less. Apple’s opportunity is to search considering inclusion and diversity and not promote “minority” thinking. The question is “How can my company grow because I have included value and intelligence” is one process for changing the guard, suggests LAND sds.
“The pledge comes after efforts by two investor groups, the Sustainability Group and Trillium Asset Management, to propose a vote at the company’s Feb. 28 annual meeting. The proposal would have asked Apple to take steps to ensure women were included among board candidates, said Larisa Ruoff, who heads up shareholder advocacy for the Sustainability Group. It was withdrawn after Apple adopted the new language. “We are very pleased with how the company has been responding,” Ruoff said. (Apple did not respond to an e-mail requesting further comment.)
Efforts by shareholders to increase the number of women on boards have been a mixed bag in recent years. Governance research firm GMI Ratings reports that among U.S. and Canadian companies, there were 11 shareholder proposals calling for board diversity voted on during the 2011 proxy season, three in 2012 and nine in 2013. Still, Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane, the executive director of the Thirty Percent Coalition, a nonprofit advocating to increase female representation on public company boards, believes more shareholders are likely to attempt such proposals.”
“Shareholders are deciding this is a business case; this is something that’s important,” Laurent-Ottomane said in an interview. “Shareholders are going to be forcing the issue and asking for this kind of language, to treat diversity as a priority.”
Apple is not alone in its low ratio of female directors. Catalyst, a nonprofit research organization that studies women’s leadership, found recently that one-tenth of companies in the Fortune 500 have no women at all on their boards. Even among companies that do, the representation is far from equal. Women held just 16.9 percent of all board seats among Fortune 500 companies last year, essentially the same percentage as in 2012. “The business case for diversity is so unequivocal, it’s particularly concerning that progress is stagnating,” Ruoff said.
The aperture that is required is not only in training the new candidates but the boards themselves that needed policy to understand the importance of diversity. The look out for diverse candidates falls short when looking for peer-to-peer board members in a pool in which women and people of color are not available this is the GAP Analysis.
The thought that “raising tides raises all boats” is the opportunity. Diversity and inclusion has to be raised in the corporate ecosystem to access board members. Further, the view of “who” are to be board members is the next question. The question may lie in companies looking beyond the normal for a new-new allowing others outside the top 500 pool be considered as valuable assets to board membership. These new-new’s provide the perspective that many company’s were oblivious producing the game changing economic free fall starting in 1999.
Inclusion is a opportunity to view the organization’s sustainability through assessing it value, resources, supply chain and ecosystem. This assessment provides a lens into how value is placed, rewarded and developed. The power of new board members is in reason why they are necessary in the corporate puzzle.
Contact LAND sds to aid in your inclusion and diversity needs.