#MeToo and related social movements have begun to shift the corporate landscape. In the last few years, companies have been expected to respond to social movements with companies that do social good reaping the rewards of public goodwill and increasing shareholder confidence and trust. If you are focused on securing a board seat in any organization, it is essential to keep this in mind.
Organizations that seek to increase gender and racial diversity will have movements like #MeToo as a critical part of their vetting process. What does this mean for you? If you are part of a minority group, your chances have increased. Boards have begun to recognize the value of diverse viewpoints and fresh faces that can ferret out the problematic nature and institute cultural change within an organization. Having experience in these areas can greatly benefit you as you face interviews with selection committees.
Coming with a plan, or ideas around these areas, will make you a vital member of the board and give you opportunities for continued growth. Be prepared for questions about how you would handle these situations and what strategies you have for the future.
Selection committees will also become increasingly critical of past incidents. Consider carefully if there is anything in your background that would alarm a selection committee. If there is, are there records of your response, including any steps you took to repair the harm or any context that would shed light on the situation. It is highly possible that you may not make it to the next round of consideration if you are unable to explain this incident and if it is revealed to be a pattern of behavior, you will become a dangerous prospect to many committees. It is best to be honest and upfront. The worst part, as they say, is the coverup, not the act itself.
It is clear that potential board candidates need not only to have a stellar resume and skill set, but espouse and practice the progressive values that the companies they seek to join have. As a board member, you will be a representative, publicly associated with the company and your reputation and behavior must be an asset, not a drain.