New California Law Tells CEOs: Put Women on Boards

new law requires many California companies to have a woman on their board by December 31st 2019. Now, we just need to make sure it is implemented without negative spillovers. In this article, I will discuss tips to efficiently increase diversity on your board.

The new law requires publicly traded California companies, as well as foreign companies with California headquarters, to have at least one woman on their board by December 31, 2019. By December 31, 2021, boards with 5+ members will need two women and 6+ member boards will need three.

That means if your board currently consists of five all-male members, you have two choices: Add three women to your board by 12/31/21, or replace one or more sitting board members. Don’t forget: If you choose to increase the number of seats on your board, your bylaws will need updating.

Paula Loop, leader of PwC's U.S. Governance Insights Center, says many board members are feeling ‘fatigue’ about diversity and political correctness.

I’d like to offer a few tips to help turn that fatigue into positive change:


Regardless of the industry, there are talented, executive women with experience to benefit your board. For example, the chemical industry has similar numbers of executive women on boards (18.6%) and in executive ranks (13.7%) to that of the technology industry. I am continually, refreshingly inspired by companies in unpredictable locations that are innovators in gender parity. For example, Kraton Corporation, a chemical company in Houston, was on the target list of one of my board candidates. During my research, I found the company to be exceptional. It has a 10-member board including four women. When I mentioned California’s new law in a conversation with Kevin Fogarty, president and CEO at Kraton, and asked him about gender parity on his leadership team and board, he said, “I try.”

Your can-do attitude and innovation in recruiting will allow for a smoother transition in onboarding new members, thereby establishing and maintaining an effective board that reflects your company’s culture and benefits the shareholders.

In a Forbes article (6/9/17), OpenView Venture Capital Founder and Managing Partner Scott Maxwell points out that CEOs never say, "I can't get it done" when faced with a critical business issue - getting more customers, increasing market size and so on. CEOs who approach recruiting women to their boards with the same commitment and creativity as other critical business matters will get it done.

Planning, Process & Onboarding

In this New York Times article, author Andrew Ross Sorkin argues that sudden changes on a board can affect a company’s operating performance. He cites Norway as an example; that country enacted a 2006 quota requiring 40 percent of board seats to be filled by women. A follow-up survey in 2010 by the University of Michigan showed company "performance suffered because of the abrupt change in the composition of the boards."

Abrupt change can be mitigated by planning and the right process. Ideally, a board grows or changes organically; a mandate or quota is inorganic. When the composition of a board must change due to a skills need, growth or its succession plan, companies would benefit from using a beefed up version of the Rooney Rule, which the NFL uses to require teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching and senior operation positions. Interviewing only one diverse candidate seems like using a plastic knife to chop down a forest, but striving for a candidate pool of 50/50 gender parity seems reasonable and do-able.  

Whether organic or inorganic, you will want a process for changing the composition of your board. If it is done too quickly it will backfire - not because a woman was added, but because a mismatch was hastily made. Many aspects of adding diverse members to a board have a positive impact, but the process is critical. As Priya Huskins notes in her D&O Notebook post, "Women on the Board: California’s New Gender Diversity Law – Unconstitutional or Not, Boards Get Ready," (10/17/18), "Any board looking to add new female board members will still want to engage in its normal board evaluation process to understand what skills and competencies a new board member should have."

Getting replaced by a woman may rankle some sitting board members, and that thought takes us back to arguments against affirmative action. My grandfather had such an argument in his diary where he reacted to an article, ”'As the Whites See the Blacks” by writing that it was “a civil service story about how the whites were pushed out of their jobs several years ahead of normal retirement time, to make way for the black movement."  

I understand my grandfather’s feelings, and affirmative action is a complicated issue. I don’t want to see qualified people pushed out of their jobs before their time. I also acknowledge that SB-826 is not perfect, which both Governor Brown and the author of the bill, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, also admit. But I also support the bill’s intentions, and I do think companies benefit tremendously from diversity. I am urging CEOs and directors: Instead of focusing on the bill’s flaws, I encourage you to think of it like a Sherpa, guiding you to a rewarding summit - you may eventually get there on your own, but you will likely get there faster and more directly with the help of SB-826. 

You will also want to define and cultivate the culture of your board. A culture that invites questions will align with the board’s main focus: corporate governance. New board members will learn about the company and its culture via a formal orientation, ideally with the CEO, Board Chair and Governance Committee Chair. Some companies opt for an independent facilitator. 

If you don’t currently have term limits, now is the time to implement them. Term limits are a simple, organic way of refreshing your board, bringing new ideas, strategies and growth for increased profitability.  

Finally, you may want to consider a secure board communication platform such as NASDAQ or Diligent, which include board evaluations, governance services and directors’ and officers’ (D&O) questionnaires.  

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LinkedIn Gets Personal

Do you prefer privacy over open social media profiles? That’s been my preference for the last several years. Over my twenty plus years in recruiting and executive search, I have built relationships that blend the personal and professional, like a boost added to your smoothie -- fluid and hand-crafted, one by one. However, I have found that in a digitized world increasingly running on artificial intelligence, a boutique business like mine will not survive without diving into the social media fray of the masses.

I confess that I resisted. Stubbornly, I stood firm in my belief that past successes were directly connected to the one-on-one relationships I nurtured, primarily in person. I thought that was the only way forward for me. When I tiptoed into social media and started generating and sharing content, at first I found the rewards were intermittent, random and often unnoticed, sort of like taking medicine that may or may not benefit you over time.

Eventually, though, I started getting some beautiful results, such as the time when executive Marlene Timberlake D’Adamo read and commented on my article about Unconscious Bias and asked to connect. Over the past three years, we’ve become friends, meeting several times, talking occasionally over the phone or FaceTime, sharing mutual connections, and discussing family and other personal matters.

More recently, when I received a direct marketing piece over LinkedIn from Eli Angote, I checked out his profile and invited him to meet in person over coffee. That’s when I came to understand that you can develop meaningful, personal relationships via social media marketing, in this case using LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Let me tell you, it really works!

If you are accustomed to developing your network and relationships one person at a time, typically after doing a deep dive researching your prospect, I suggest you try LinkedIn Sales Navigator. For even better results, pair it with Dux Soup. Your ideal clients will be inbound! If you want guidance, ping Eli Angote who consults in bootstrapping and social media in addition to running a notary on- demand business.

Instead of labored, targeted research—or, if you prefer, in tandem with your old-school methods—you can use these powerful new social tools to access and connect to a wide audience. And yes, you can keep the personal touch while you do it.

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Is Your Leadership Healthy?


For the past year or so, I have been giving a great deal of thought to the pressing issue of mental health. It seems that every week, mental health emerges as a foundational issue in a new area, from schools, to sports, to social issues, and yes, even in corporate boardrooms.

You may wonder: Since I recruit executives to serve on corporate boards, why am I writing about mental health? The answer is simple: Because mental health permeates the lives of everyone, everywhere, and it matters to boards!

The chances your CEO or someone on your executive team in the US is suffering from mental health challenges is one in five. Globally, one in four people are affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.

It’s critical that everyone in companies ask themselves some tough questions.

Boards: Do you have a succession plan in place for your CEO?

CEOs and Nominating Governance Committee Chairs: Do you have a roster of board candidates screened and ready to sign?

You may or may not learn or hear about specific mental health issues in your organization, but you can guarantee they are there. If they turn up, you will have to deal with them

Often behaviors and symptoms are so far below the radar that even the individual experiencing them may not recognize the signs. One contributing factor in Silicon Valley: workaholism is branded as a positive. When symptoms and signs are glossed over, pushed to another day, completely ignored or unnoticed, the result can be tragic — suicide, drug addiction or undiagnosed mental health issues such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

In 2016, Law360 reports, the EEOC resolved 5,000 disability-based claims dealing with mental health conditions, costing employers approximately $20 million.

The following two tragic stories demonstrate what can happen when mental health challenges go undetected in the workplace:

A family man and successful attorney at the Silicon Valley firm of Wilson Sonsini, whose drug addiction went unseen by family and co-workers for years, worked in a high pressure industry that may have precipitated his addiction.

The pressure to succeed or at least maintain the appearance of success permeates work cultures, including academia. The former dean of USC’s Keck School of Medicine, also a family man, for years kept his anger management, drug and sex (young prostitute) addictions a closely guarded secret.

I am hopeful that change is in the air. Progressive leaders are feeling more comfortable sharing their vulnerabilities and emotional or behavioral health challenges. As they do so, that will help normalize mental health issues, particularly in the tech sector.

On July 30, 2017, in a Twitter conversation, Tesla CEO Elon Musk described his life as one of “great highs, terrible lows and unrelenting stress.” In response to a question, he said he is bipolar, “maybe not medically tho” To clarify, he added, “bad feelings correlate to bad events.”

Musk’s acknowledgement marked an important milestone. Slowly but surely, entrepreneurs are coming out about depression.

Last summer Tim Ferriss, the blogger, popular podcast host, and author of “The 4-Hour Work Week” and “Tools of Titans,” announced he is bipolar, suffers from depression, and had intended to commit suicide while he was a student at Princeton. Just this April, pop star Mariah Carey also revealed her struggles with bipolar disorder.

Many people stealthily function with mental health issues while others may derail. Being able and willing to assess and address weaknesses and risks in an organization is critical to the survivability of a company and it starts at the top.

Here are some things you can do to tune into your board or C-suite members’ emotional well-being:

· Create an environment of transparency so you can address issues immediately

· Socialize outside of work or board meetings — personally get to know each other

· Implement a yearly strategic planning meeting for team building and value share — engaging a leadership coach or facilitator to guide the process

In the words of Lisa Borders, president of the WNBA, “Failure is not fatal, it is feedback.”

Remember, as blogger and author Luvvie Ajayi puts it: “Everybody’s well-being is community business.” Recognize this and proceed with empathy.

Let’s make the world, including the corporate world, a better place for individuals who are suffering from mental health issues, whether silently or publicly, whether they’re managing those issues or masking them. They are doing extraordinary work right in front of your eyes and they need your support.


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It is an understatement to say I am glad I said “Yes!” to Penny Herscher’s invitation to join her and a delegation of four other Silicon Valley executive women in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Gaza and Ramallah. The group is WE2, Silicon Valley Women for Economic Equality. The mission was not only economic equality, but also getting women a seat at the table with a belief that peace will follow via bridging differences.

I have written before about challenging myself to connect with and befriend more people who do not look like me. Even so, I am sorry to say that my awareness of unconscious bias has not completely stopped me from having unconscious bias. I’d like to tell you about several instances where my unconscious bias revealed itself on this trip.

Our delegation initially spent time in Tel Aviv with women entrepreneurs, executives, board members and 9th-11th grade girls in STEM programs — all hosted and organized by Startup Nation Central. Then we traveled to Gaza to meet with Gaza Sky Geeks, where we spent two days mentoring and learning from young startup founders and coding students — half women and half men! When we arrived, we were shuffled into a small room for a briefing on what lay ahead the next two days and then we headed into our one-on-one mentoring sessions. The conscious bias I had about women with head coverings — that they are oppressed — was immediately and thankfully challenged.

The most memorable moment of my travels was the second day at GSG during my first one-on-one mentorship session with a young man who has a successful 40-employee gaming company, another burgeoning unique t-shirt company, and yet another startup in development. First, he revealed that his wife had been in my roundtable the day before and when they sat down to dinner that night, she encouraged him to schedule a mentoring session with me the next day.

In our session, we discussed his companies and his plans to go to Comicon in San Diego. Then he said “…and finally I am here to solicit your advice about my wife. She is so smart and talented, yet she doesn’t have confidence. What can she do to gain confidence?” At this point water was percolating in my eyes like mudpots. He explained how he had not intended to marry, at least not for a while. He saw his wife at an event and found her to be extraordinarily beautiful. He asked a family friend for an introduction and their relationship thrived from there. I was moved by his love, caring and support, as well as the way he shattered my aforementioned bias with such grace.

When our delegation returned to Tel Aviv, we had a robust roundtable conversation over lunch with women founders of startups, nonprofits and community organizations. We learned via several earlier conversations and presentations that one of Israel’s main marginalized sectors from the workforce is ultra-Orthodox Jewish women. Included in our roundtable was an ultra-Orthodox multi-channel communications tool startup founder. Her business is scaling and thriving alongside her family, which she describes as another startup! She really blew the water out of any bias or stereotype I may have had regarding what kind of work an ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman can do.

In Ramallah, at a host corporation’s headquarters, our event included high school girls in STEM, college graduates, and women working in corporations or startups. What resonated most for me at that event was my/our unconscious bias when we arrived at the host company. There was a UN-like U-shaped table at which we decided to sit among the attendees who arrived after us. Four of us from the delegation were talking solely with each other, while two others — Penny, the organizer, and Erin Keeley, who had previously mentored in Ramallah — were already mingling. As the young women arrived, they clustered in conversations in their own groups just like the four of us.

After some time, I had that unconscious bias light bulb go off. After all, we had not stuck together when we met the Israeli women who looked like us — we dove into networking! I immediately stood up and said, “I am going to go introduce myself,” and members of my group readily followed.

Another light bulb moment occurred at the airport as I was leaving to fly home to San Francisco. The first of three Customs and passport control stops was with a woman in her twenties who asked me where I had traveled and what the purpose of my trip was. I figured I would get empathy for our mission and swiftly pass through. I was transparent in disclosing our workshops in Ramallah and Gaza. She said, “One moment please,” and walked about 20 feet to another couple of young women customs agents. She came back and asked me some more questions, such as whether anyone had given me anything. I said, “No.” The young customs agent again went to the other two. The third time, one of the two, who introduced herself as a supervisor, asked me some final questions and then released me to the next two final stages which included scanning.

Later, during my flight, I had the revelation that when I was being interviewed by the young women, I subconsciously was awaiting their big boss, who in my biased mind was a man.

And finally, turning unconscious bias on its head: in my solo travels after our WE2 commitments ended, I fortuitously happened upon the Beit-Hagefen Arab Jewish Cultural Center in Haifa, Israel, which had an exhibit titled “Unmarked ID, 2017” by Hamody Gannam, addressing whether we can “evade gender, racial and class definitions” via a photographic-scientific study. “The artist cultivates bacteria taken from different people, documenting them with a microscopic camera, and blowing up the photographs. The result is a unique type of personal portrait…the portraits created by Gannam tell us nothing about the social identity of their subjects, but at the same time, they are intimate and singular.” If we could only walk around and see each other as Hamody Gannam’s beautiful images of cultivated bacteria, there would be less bias and more peace in the world.

*For a detailed description of our mission, trip and hosts please see Penny Herscher’s blog post.

Kim Clancy is founder and CEO of search firm Hampton O’Bannon Partners, LLC (HOP, LLC). She handcrafts retained board member searches in the small and midcap SaaS space, helping CEOs and Nominating Governance Committee Chairs find effective, efficient and enjoyable board members who are trusted in the boardroom from day one and who keep shareholders happy.

Have No Fear, Statistics Can Save the Day


Statistics have never been my thing. Math was the most challenging coursework for me in high school; I loved algebra, and disliked geometry and calculus. I dropped out of a master’s program because my first class was statistics. I was late to the first class and felt I would never catch up. (It was an MFCC program and I surmised I was too empathetic to be a therapist, so the decision was fairly easy.)

In my adult years, I put off actively using a personal budget until this year. I tried multiple times but could never get the numbers to work for me.

Despite this hole in my skill set, I recognize the growing importance of numbers, particularly in business. In my career as a corporate board recruiter, I am diving into finance. I am reading Adam Epstein’s book, “The Perfect Corporate Board: A Handbook for Mastering the Unique Challenges of Small-Cap Companies,” and I can tell it will continue to serve me as a reference guide even after I’m done. Just like my high school calculus teacher, Epstein challenged my brain with complex investment banking terminology and procedures. But because he is so engaging, and bursts the bubble of one-size-fits-all corporate governance so effectively, he is holding my attention.

Stats and data are critical to any business. This concept is most evident in the business of sports. Jay Caspian Kang’s New York Times Magazine article “Why are some new statistics embraced and not others?” examined why ”exit velocity” caught on in baseball this year. Kang describes Tom Tango, the senior architect of stats for MLB Advanced Media, as the man responsible for turning data into “baseball stats that not only capture what’s actually happening on a baseball field but also engage the average fan.” Exit velocity — the speed at which a ball leaves a bat — gave fans a new way of measuring how hard some hitters smash their home runs.

Can the same thing happen in other businesses? Absolutely! As a CEO or board member, you can get stats that capture what is happening in your company in a format that your stakeholders will embrace. Consider cyber risk analysis. In the wake of cyber security breaches that hit companies like Equifax and Deloitte, and even the Securities and Exchange Commission, a new field has emerged of cyber quantitative risk analytics, in which companies try to put a value on the data that gets compromised.

CEOs and board directors need to examine the impact these breaches can have on their corporate assets. To do that effectively, you need to follow some simple steps:

  • You have to know what the assets are. They have a value.
  • Then you can work with your chief information security officer, or CISO to apply some risk analytics techniques to rank or quantify the risks and allocate your budget.
  • At that point, thanks to the beauty of statistics, you will know what your data is worth, and how much you can afford to spend to protect it.

So don’t shy away from the numbers. The odds are good that they’ll help you hit a home run.


Would you like your board to run like the well-oiled machine of the Golden State Warriors, 2017 NBA champions? I am going to demonstrate how you can achieve success by thinking like the Warriors.

Of note, I have not been inspired to follow an American sports team since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson played for the “Showtime” Lakers of the 1980s. The Warriors grabbed my attention with their beautiful, sleek and skilled playing in 2015 when they won their first NBA championship in 40 years.

The athletic and statistical prowess of each player can help make a good team yet not necessarily an extraordinary one. The key is what I call the “stealthy” skill set — those traits and experience that are not obvious on the surface, but that help to facilitate synchronicity on the court.

Some highlights of how the Warriors’ stealthy skills come into play:

Sixth man Andre Iguodala teamed up with a close friend in high school and became a self-directed stock investor. When he was a free agent a few years ago, he decided to play for the Warriors in part because of the team’s location in Silicon Valley and its ties to venture capitalists, including majority owner, Joe Lacob, a partner at Kleiner Perkins. Andre sought out VCs and personally connected with and was mentored by Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz, who recommended Andre for a portfolio company’s board seat.

Another stealth trait of Andre’s is his willingness and conviction to mentor, educate and guide more junior players in becoming champions and leaders in managing their own finances. NBA players’ careers typically last about six years. Many professional athletes don’t know how to deal with sudden wealth and wind up over-spending and then filing for bankruptcy after their playing days end. Through his mentorship, Andre contributes to the future well-being of his teammates.

Kevin Durant also embraced the Silicon Valley startup culture in starting his own investment firm, Durant Company. He has also launched a charitable foundation. Kevin is also an underground hip hop star, performing privately in his home among close friends. He describes it as music therapy; he lays down the words and it clears his mind.

Kevin, his teammates Zaza Pachulia, Draymond Green and others, along with coaches and staff, made the trek to San Quentin Prison in 2016 for the Warriors’ fifth year of playing against San Quentin’s Warriors’ basketball team. He told the inmates he wanted to “show you guys some love.” Draymond said he embraced the opportunity to “mingle and talk” and “show these guys they matter.”

Kevin appears to me to be an old soul. He emanates gentleness and sensitivity. The significance of his jersey number is a case in point: number 35, the age at which his childhood community center coach was murdered. He said, “It’s all about doing it for somebody I love. It’s not about what’s the better number and what looks better on me. It’s all about him.”

And I have to mention Stephen Curry. Is there anyone who can watch Steph Curry without a big grin on their face? Watching him play is one of the rare times when “awesome” carries the depth of its true meaning. Steph has his own charity, donating money for each three-point shot he makes to Nothing but Nets, a group that provides insecticide-treated bed nets to regions where malaria is prevalent.

Steph also maintains relationships with those who have helped him along the way. He recently returned to his high school to retire his jersey. He consults his former coaches and theater instructor about life to this day, and nurtures those friendships.

Behind the scenes, the Golden State Warriors’ General Counsel & VP of Basketball Management & Strategy David Kelly negotiates player and coach contracts, and manages legal and strategic operations for the Warriors’ forthcoming new sports and entertainment venue, Chase Center in San Francisco. He keeps all the balls in the air, so to speak. He, too, has a separate stealth skill he brings to the table: he is a successful hip hop artist. David also gives back via multiple board seats with non-profits, including the United Negro College Fund.

Finally, of note is the man who put them all together, advancing and exemplifying the theory that handcrafted, hand-picked teams are the secret to success: Warriors owner and CEO Joe Lacob (who coincidentally earned his bachelor’s degree from my alma mater, UC Irvine). He hired a general manager, Bob Myers, who had never worked for a team before, and two coaches who had not coached at any level, including beloved Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr. OpenView recently posted these leadership lessons from Steve, and his tips apply to selecting board members: know your values and get to know your team through person-to-person relationships “based on compassion, trust and respect.” Joe also brought basketball legend Jerry West into the front office, not just as window dressing but as a real contributor. The San Francisco Chronicle noted, “One of the best things Lacob ever did was hire a presence who would offer a different opinion,” which is good insight for CEOs who prefer consensus-building boards; getting peak performance out of your team comes when differing opinions are at the table.

As Joe Lacob says, “There is an architecture to building a board of directors.” Unearthing stealth information, experience and passion that is not on a board bio, resume or LinkedIn profile is how you will create a “board of warriors” and succeed, keeping your shareholders profitable and happy.

Kim Clancy is founder and CEO of search firm Hampton O’Bannon Partners, LLC (HOP, LLC. She handcrafts retained searches in the SaaS space, helping CEOs, Nominating Governance Committee Chairs and investment bankers hand select board members for championship-level success.

Legacy of Racism

A recent conversation with my parents revealed a history of racism in my family, some of which I knew and some of which shocked me. The revelations spurred me to conduct further research which not only shed light on my family’s participation in the racism that has historically marred our country, but also helped me understand what motivates me to do the work I do: assisting CEOs in building inclusive boards. I will tell my family’s story here in the hope that it can play a part in defeating the racism that continues to plague our society.

On a visit with my parents, we were discussing my mom’s upbringing and multiple residences in St. Louis. She remembered the address of the home her dad built when she was a young child and I found the image on Zillow. That led to a discussion regarding her dad’s sister, Eva, who also lived in that house as a young adult. My mom’s Aunt Eva, who lived to age 104, was a member of, and spent her last years in a home run by, the Daughters of America, also known as DoA (and not to be confused with the Daughters of the American Revolution, or DAR). We used to get letters from her with the return address of National Home D of A, Tiffin, OH. According to Wikipedia, the DoA was established as the “ladies auxiliary” of the Junior Order of United Auto Mechanics (JOUAM), a youth subsidiary that broke off from the Order of United Auto Mechanics. The OUAM name sounds innocuous to me, like an auto workers’ labor union, but in fact it was founded in the mid-1800s as an anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant organization.

The Daughters of America mission statement declared it to be a “patriotic fraternity, which seeks to aid in preserving and perpetuating the Public School system; to instill a spirit of patriotism into the youth of our land; to place our flag over every schoolhouse; to promote the reading of the Holy Bible therein; and to protest against the immigration of paupers, criminals, and the enemies of our social order.”

The DoA is noted to have been associated with the KKK in the 1920s, and admitted only white American women age 16 or over and JOUAM members. As recently as 1979, documents note that admission in the group was open to “patriotic, white male and female citizens of good moral character, who believe in a supreme being as the creator and preserver of the universe and who favor the upholding of the American public school system and the reading of the holy bible in the schools thereof…” If you have read the book or seen the film “The Help,” the DoA is the secret society to which the women and girls belonged.

I knew from genealogy records that my Irish-American relatives from the late 1700s had owned slaves. Excerpts of two family wills from Fauquier County, Virginia, include assigning “acres and slaves” to one son, “one Negro” each to a boy and two girls, and the remaining eight children received a “good suit of clothes,” “one riding horse,” or a “new saddle and bridle.”

Learning of the DoA’s KKK connection on top of the slave ownership in my family background was like getting pulled underwater, choking on sea water, coming up for air thinking all is okay, and then getting caught by the riptide and pulled underwater again.

The DoA’s white supremacist beliefs are counter to who I am, what I am about, and the polar opposite of the foundation of my work: helping CEOs who are building, growing or refreshing their boards of directors with an eye for inclusion.

I then revisited some of Aunt Eva’s old letters, and I found a few in which she revealed her racism. During her stay at a prior nursing home in St. Louis in the early 1970s, she didn’t like the “riff raff” that came to visit the black residents, and she complained of the home starting to put whites and blacks in the same room. She said if that happened to her, she would move, which appears to be one of the reasons for her relocation to the DoA home in Ohio in the late 1970s.

Our country has deep roots in racism, many years of a white supremacist culture, and inequality that persists to this day; we are all affected by racism in some way, whether we are privileged or not. Someone I know attended a workshop several years ago on white supremacy culture, and I found the material instructive on different ways racism both stealthily and blatantly manifests itself in our daily lives as perfectionism, individualism, fear of open conflict, discomfort with emotions and feelings, and other disheartening characteristics, several of which I regretfully experience within myself.

Would you be willing to join me in overcoming the history of racism in our nation? Below are a few small steps you can make:

• Hire, contract, work or volunteer with someone who doesn’t look like you;

• When there are two empty seats, take the seat next to the person who is most unlike you and initiate a conversation;

• Look your neighbors, fellow citizens and non-citizens in the eye, smile, say hello and take interest in how they are different from you;

• Access your empathy and use it.

Although our history is undoubtedly troubling, and there is still much work to be done, I take heart in seeing signs of progress in the arena in which I work, corporate board membership. The consulting firm Deloitte published a Missing Pieces Report: The 2016 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards, which declared: “There has been an increase in the Fortune 500 of African American/Black women board members by 18.4 percent since 2012.” Let’s keep increasing those numbers!

Kim Clancy is founder and CEO of search firm Hampton O’Bannon Partners, LLC (HOP, LLC). She helps CEOs of public and private companies who want to build, grow or refresh their boards.


All [A]board: Insights and Inspirations for Your Journey to and in the Boardroom

“When a company is trying to fill a board seat, the CEO and sitting board members often inadvertently default to their own immediate circle, and that pool and their ultimate judgments tend to tip toward finding sameness.” Kim Clancy (page 37)

Read the collective wisdom here as composed and published by Farella, Braun + Martel.