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May 1, 2021 31 min

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“For too long Black professionals have been marching to the beat of someone else's drummer. So, what we want to do at Valence is create new paths where people can recognize their contributions, their excellence, bring that to the table and have that be recognized by the organizations that they're a part of.”


“The idea for the Board Challenge came from my friend, Brad Gerstner, his thought was:  "Hey, how do I affect change on a macro level so that there are more black representatives on boards.” We're starting with black board members, but the ultimate goal is to have more diverse boards in general.”



Big Ideas/Thoughts

There are two ways to take The Board Challenge pledge. One is if you don't have a black board member you are pledging to add a black board member within 12 months of taking the pledge. So, that is how we are going to get more black board members on companies, recognizing, "Hey, I don't have one. This is a good chance for me to add one. I'm going to take the Pledge. I'm going to make a public pronouncement of my desire and I'm going to be held accountable."


If your board already has a Black board member, then you can take the Pledge to support our movement because you know it's important for society, it's important for the boards that we sit on to actually make sure that they are representative, and it’s good for the country, for the economy and for corporate America in general.


There are still a hundred S&P 500 companies that don't have a single black board member, so that's a good place to start, but our goal ultimately is fully representative boards in all public and private companies, that's where we want to get to. But if you tell people that," Hey, we want a representative board" the inaction probably will dwarf the level of action, so right now we’re focused on adding black board members.


Valence is also helping to solve the perceived issue of a lack of qualified board talent by introducing board service as an aspiration to the members of our BONDS executive development community. Black professionals need to start thinking about serving on boards early, and not wait until they are ready to retire to begin preparing themselves for board service.

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