The 2018 #BoardForward Diversity Drivers: 30 Diverse Tech Boards Worth Recognizing

Tech companies haven’t had a great track record when it comes to embracing diversity; since we started theBoardlist however, change has been accelerating in our ecosystem, particularly over the last 12 months.

With that in mind, and in coordination with our #BoardForward Awards event today with Forbes, theBoardlist set out to search for both public and private tech companies to celebrate — those who meet our minimum criteria of at least one woman, at least one person of color (see note below for our expanded definition) and at least one independent director (which is more of an issue with private boards, since independents are required for public companies).

As part of our search for companies who meet the above criteria, we dug into multiple data sets (see note below) and arrived at a list of 30 companies who have taken the minimum steps towards diverse representation on their board. All of the companies on our list have at least one woman, at least one person of color and at least one independent director on their boards. This list is by no means exhaustive and we’ve broken it down into public and private boards given the regulatory and practical differences between them.

In particular, we want to highlight those among the list who have done more to drive diversity on their boards beyond our minimum criteria.

We are pleased to recognize the #BoardForward Diversity Drivers — 30 companies who are progressing their own boardrooms, and demonstrating what’s possible in the tech industry.

The 2018 #BoardForward Diversity Drivers List

Below is our list of 30 tech companies (21 public, 9 private) who meet our minimum criteria:

One Woman Can Make a Difference, But Truly Diverse Boards Don’t Stop There

This inaugural #BoardForward Diversity Drivers List celebrates boards that are taking steps to correct the decades long dearth of diversity inside the board room. Notably, all of the public companies who made our list have at least 25% women on their boards — which on these boards, equates to 2 or more women on each board.

This is not only a win for diversity, it also just makes for better business. Research has shown time and again (see: Catalyst, McKinsey, Credit Suisse) that having greater board diversity leads to better business outcomes. Companies with three or more women on their boards financially outperform, on average, those with the fewest women board members.

In addition, each of the public boards on our list have at least one person of color (see note at bottom) on their board, adding to the diversity of perspectives within the boardroom.

When we turned to research private boards, it was very clear that there is a lot more room for improvement. Many of the boards of large private tech companies we researched did not have a single independent director on their board or were missing either women or people of color (or both) from their boards. Every private board on our list meets our three criteria of having at least one woman, at least one person of color and at least one independent director — but these companies are definitely the exception to the rule within private boards.

We also are cognizant of the fact that some of the boards we are recognizing today started their journey to better diversity late in their company’s lifecycle, and under the scrutiny of public pressure. We chose to measure the companies whose data we could access purely on their current numbers, and would note that progress is progress.

Comparing Private & Public Boards

Among the boards who made our list, it’s interesting to note that the median representation of women is 30% for the public boards on our list and 23% for the private boards on our list. For people of color, it’s 16% for public boards on our list and 20% for the private boards on our list.

Also, while all of the public boards on our list have more than one woman, this is not always the case for private boards — only half of the private boards on our list have more than one woman.

#BoardForward All Stars

From our list of 30 companies who meet our minimum of diversity, we have also identified 6 companies (3 public and 3 private) who went above and beyond — and are truly worth celebrating as our #BoardForward All Stars:

  • Stitch Fix’s 5 member board is small, but with a stunning majority of 3 women (60%) and 1 person of color (20%) — stands alone as a rarity for a public company.
  • Hewlett-Packard stands out as a clear diversity leader within public companies with 40% women and 50% people of color.
  • Verizon has a highly independent public board (92%) and still manages to be diverse in other ways, with 33% women and 25% people of color.
  • Kickstarter, a private b-corp, is well balanced with 40% women, 20% people of color.
  • SurveyMonkey, also private, has a strong level of independence (40%) and an impressive number of women (40%) on their board.
  • Slack, a private company with a solid history of supporting diversity, comes in with 33% women and 33% people of color.

#BoardForward Diversity Champions

In addition, we’re excited to announce our 2018 #BoardForward Diversity Champion — an award we will give out annually to an individual or organization that has driven diversity in leadership in the tech industry (defined as boardroom, c-suite, or entrepreneurship). This year we are honoring the work of Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein.

In addition to their own individual contributions to the tech and business world, through their work with Kapor Capital and the Kapor Center for Social Impact, they have diligently worked for over a decade to close the gaps of access, opportunity and outcome for low income communities and communities of color and for founders from underrepresented groups.

Looking Ahead

We know there is a lot of work left to do to bring more diversity to tech boardrooms, especially when it comes to private boardrooms. Initiatives like #FoundersforChange that help hold leaders and investors accountable to themselves and are helping to build an ecosystem for progress are a great start. There is much more work to be done, but at theBoardlist, we are delighted to see a rising commitment to diversity finally taking root in our industry. We look forward to continuing to provide the solutions that enable change, and to celebrate the companies and organizations who embrace it.

What do you think of the list and who’d we miss? Who do you believe is taking a stand toward improving board diversity?

Notes: Our data sets included: Crunchbase’s Company Index, NASDAQ’s list of top tech companies, The Information’s Public Company Index, and Forbes’ Top 24 Public Tech Companies, and The Information’s Private Company Corporate Governance report. Also, for our purposes, “People of Color” was defined broadly to encompass all non-white peoples, including but not limited to those of Hispanic, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, Indigenous Peoples, African-American, Caribe-American, South East Asian, and Middle Eastern decent.

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