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By now, you have likely seen the viral advertising campaign by E.l.f. (a cosmetics company known for its affordable prices) highlighting the lack of diversity on public corporate boards. The campaign claims that there are more men named Dick (Richard, Rich, and Rick) on corporate boards than entire groups of underrepresented people. E.l.f.’s board is changing the game with two-thirds women and one-third racially diverse composition. They invite other boards to follow suit with their “Change the Board Game” to improve their reach and impact

“For the campaign, E.l.f.’s agency, Oberland, analyzed the names of nearly 37,000 board members of 4,429 publicly traded companies on the NYSE and Nasdaq. Of the male board members, 566 were named Richard, Rick, or Dick. Hispanic women numbered 283 or half of the men who happened to be named Dick, prompting the wry tagline. The study also found more Black women (806 total) and Asian women (774) than men named Dick, but my slim enough margins to still raise eyebrows. Other findings include that the average corporate board in America is 88 percent White.”

Because the board sets the tone for a company’s mission and vision and determines its goals, board composition is essential and should be representative of the consumers and community. Although board diversity initiatives have recently come under fire, their benefits are clear. Companies should expand their network of board candidates so that they are well-positioned to diversify and better serve their customers, communities and other stakeholders.

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The Editor

Ngozi Okeh is an experienced leader with a history of driving efforts to conceptualize, define, assess and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as strategic business processes. Ngozi is currently the Director of DEI at a leading marketing technology company where she develops and executes enterprise-wide DEI initiatives through rigorous strategic planning efforts, community partnerships, leadership collaboration, strategy evaluation, and careful management of communication and buy-in as well as policies and procedures.  Previously, she worked at an independent mortgage bank, where… View Profile