Corporations facing nationwide racial protests coupled with an expanding coronavirus pandemic, more than ever must consider gender, ethnic and cognitive board diversity as they face a wide-range of challenges, many of which they have never faced before. Meanwhile, boards and, in particular, nomination subcommittees, often have a “check the box” attitude towards finding directors, frequently putting aside qualified candidates because they don’t have prior board or executive experience. This panel will review how boards can do a better job finding candidates and discouraging nomination bias, while finding qualified nominees. Participants will review situations in which activists succeeded at installing directors with diverse and strong business backgrounds onto corporate boards. Strategies for developing boardrooms that are willing to keep CEOs on their toes amidst the volatile corporate environment will be examined along with innovative recruitment techniques for how boardrooms can overcome a system and culture that often discourages dissenting director voices.
Tanuja Dehne is the President & CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in Morristown, New Jersey. Established in 1974, the Dodge Foundation has distributed nearly $500 million in grants and technical support to New Jersey nonprofits, with a focus on the arts, education, the environment, “informed communities” (including local journalism), and poetry. As a former Dodge Trustee, Tanuja helped shape the foundation’s new strategy, which envisions “an equitable New Jersey through creative, engaged, and sustainable communities.”
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