The recent murders of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia have once again highlighted the ever present scourge of racism and discrimination in the United States. What makes this situation worse is that these events unfolded during a global pandemic which has taken a disproportionately heavy toll on people of color in this country.
The Private Directors Association® is committed to Diversity and Inclusion. In March 2020, we demonstrated that commitment by creating a Diversity and Inclusion Committee with a broad mandate to focus on that issue in everything that we do. It is with our focus on diversity and inclusion in mind that we state unequivocally that Black and Brown Lives Matter. We stand with our Black and Brown members and all those who stand against police brutality and the undercurrents that lead to it.
We understand that we need to do more to end systemic racism in the United States. In our role as Directors, we are America’s business leaders. We have influence and an unmatched opportunity to effect real change. That influence and opportunity comes with an obligation to do all that we can to make a positive difference in the communities in which we live and serve. We encourage our members to create a positive impact through their work in the boardroom. Directors must not only point out injustice, but demonstrate through action, that we are committed to positive change.
With that said, diversity and inclusion are not only a response to racism and discrimination; they are a best practice that should be pursued on their own merits. Diverse leadership teams and diverse boards make better decisions. With that in mind, the Private Directors Association® will immediately take the following steps:
- Add a section on Diversity and Inclusion to our Mission Statement
- Add diversity training to our Director Training education program
- Diversify all governance structures (both local and national) within the Private Directors Association® to reflect American society
- Endeavor to ensure that diversity and inclusion is incorporated into each panel by striving to have all panels to contain both women and people of color consistent with the Private Directors Association®’s commitment in March of 2020 to include at least one woman or person of color on all panels.
- Increase programming focused on board diversity and inclusion to include both webinars and in person events at the chapter level.
- Encourage both the leadership and members of the Private Directors Association® to seek diversity on the boards on which they sit.
- Continue and re-emphasize our commitment to diverse member representation in the Private Directors Association®’s Model Board Meeting℠ (MBM) project.
While we believe that the above steps are critical to using our organization to demonstrate best practices in governance and to address the problems of racism and discrimination, this is not the end of the journey for us, but only the beginning.
The Board of Directors
Private Directors Association®