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InnerCircle 2022: Diversity’s role in modern boards

Employers 07.15.2022 2 MIN

The forces reshaping employer-employee relationships are also impacting boards of directors. To match company leadership with the demands of the modern business, both the makeup and the mandate of boards are shifting. 

From June 8–10, HR leaders from across Corporate America gathered at the InnerCircle conference to discuss key strategies for maximizing potential at their companies. In a panel discussion exploring the dynamics of modern boards of directors, Ilana Wolfe, Head of Corporate Board Engagement at Goldman Sachs, was joined by David Chun, Founder & CEO of Equilar, Edith Cooper, Co-Founder of Medley and board member at Amazon, PepsiCo & EQT Partners, and Byron Loflin, Global Head of Board Advisory for Nasdaq Center for Board Excellence.

Bringing together perspectives from board membership, the financial industry and corporate governance, David, Edith, and Byron discuss how board diversity in skillset, experience and identity contributes to maximizing potential for the company. 


Key Takeaways

  • Visible diversity is critical in the war for talent. In the last 4-5 years, gender and ethnic diversity on boards has significantly increased. Who you have representing you says a lot about your organization—and candidates will look at a board to see if they feel represented.
  • Board members should stay updated on what’s happening in their companies, and need to ensure they’re listening to employees at all levels. Happy employees are productive employees.
  • A shift toward ESG and diversity means that employees and stakeholders have new expectations for the culture of companies.
  • Boards are increasingly looking for members with HR backgrounds. There is more focus on each member’s skillset, with a preference for those with human capital management (HCM) experience due to its increased role in company success.
  • High achieving boards are those that have a close relationship with the CHRO—knowing their name and understanding the important role they play for the company.


There’s an increased focus on the skills of each board member…You’re going to see more and more investors focusing on why certain people are on the board.” 

—David Chun, Founder & CEO of Equilar

As board dynamics shift, it is clear that diversity and HCM experience are driving focuses. Not only does diversity in background and experience give boards an edge with more perspective, it also helps attract top talent. 

Read more takeaways from InnerCircle on talent and culture. Contact us to find out how Goldman Sachs Ayco can support your workforce and your HR team.