Accelerating Board Diversity with Nasdaq — Jerusha Stewart

Corporate America has been presented with a mandate to diversify their boards. In August 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved new listing rules regarding board diversity and disclosure for Nasdaq-listed companies. The new regulations require boards to include at least two diverse directors: one woman and one member of an underrepresented community. If a company fails to comply with this minimum level, they will be compelled to reveal the reasons for their not doing so and thereby be subject to public scrutiny.

It is clear that we have quite a way to go to achieve equity. While Black directors were 33% of newly added independent directors in 2021, the fact remains that 79% of all directors on corporate boards are still White men. Board diversity is on the majority of board agendas at present. The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) 2021 Annual Corporate Directors Survey identified the single most important attribute being prioritized in boards’ next director searches as racial and ethnic diversity (25%). Boards aren’t ready to put mandates in place, yet they do see tackling board succession as a way to address the issue. That same survey found that 47% of board directors believe that at least one fellow board member should be replaced. At Take Your Seat (“TYS”) we support boards in finding ways to “give a seat, add a seat, make room” for the present pipeline of diverse talent.

As part of our efforts in promoting qualified Black board candidates, I am extremely confident in our recent partnership with Nasdaq. TYS will provide inclusivity training and thought leadership to Nasdaq clients and listed companies. Nasdaq will join with TYS in amplifying topics relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, we will host a co-branded networking event to build relationships and expand the networks of candidates and board members alike. Perhaps most directly linked to our core mission, TYS will share board ready candidates with Nasdaq for sourcing requests from their listed companies.

Boards around the globe are definitely exhibiting more agility, tech-savviness, risk awareness, forward-looking perspective, and resilience. The Nasdaq Center for Board Excellence outlines four key areas in focus this year as boards continue to steer companies through challenges and find opportunities. You can read more about these areas here.

As a member of the Nasdaq Center for Board Excellence’s Insights Council, I’m proud to share these insights and work with other leaders who are committed to driving board excellence, advancing corporate leadership, and championing authentic connections. I’m certain that our partnership will bring even higher visibility to our TYS community members and partners.

To read more about Take Your Seat’s partnership with Nasdaq, click here.

About Jerusha Stewart: Jerusha is a mission-focused entrepreneur creating opportunities for a more equitable future. With a vast background in law, sales, public relations and marketing, Jerusha is well-versed in creating innovative problem solving initiatives and implementing successful communication strategies. Most recently, Jerusha has dedicated herself to her latest mission, Take Your Seat, a Public Benefit corporation focused on recognizing the wealth of global Black talent and accelerating inclusivity in corporate boardrooms to maximize corporate performance.

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