Hello and welcome to the second day of this year's Virtual On Board Conference on Nonprofit Board Service hosted by the Rustandy Center of the Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I am Fadzai Nyamasve, the General Manager of Growth and Diversification at Transnet, which is a South African based rail and port and pipelines company here in Johannesburg. I'm also a current Booth Executive MBA student and the first ever recipient of the Chicago Booth 30% Club Scholarship for women.
The 30% Club is a global organization that believes that gender balance On Boards and in senior management encourages better organizational leadership, governance, and performance. Its mission is to reach at least 30% representation of all women on all boards and C-Suite globally. In pursuit of this goal, they've established partnerships with business schools to increase the number of women enrolled in graduate management education and executive programs. I'm excited to be part of this cohort and part of the rising business leaders. And on a personal note, I am a strong believer that diversity without inclusion does not do us justice. So I really am looking forward to today's topic in terms of fostering an inclusive environment.
This past year brought a renewed attention to a lot of the organizations diversity, equity and inclusion commonly known as DEI efforts. From a global economic crisis perspective it is really long overdue from racial justice organizations that have been challenged from a DEI strategy to action.
As you can tell, I'm really passionate about this topic which is why I'm excited to be joining you for today's On Board sessions. Now it's the 8th year that the On Board conference is built on the belief that nonprofits and their board of directors have the potential to drive
social and environmental change. In pursuit of that change it's important that nonprofits walk the walk. When it comes to fostering diverse, equitable and inclusive environment and for their boards of directors and for their teams to thrive.
If you're here today, you care about this topic too whether you lead DEI initiatives in your current role or are dipping your toes into the topic for the first time today is a great opportunity to learn more about what you can do in your day to day move for the need.
Today's session will keep you with some tangible resources to do so. And to do so, first, we will kick off with our keynote featuring UK based diversity and culture expert Pavita Cooper. Then we'll transition into our breakout session. The Convergence of Inclusion and Leadership led by Nakia Green. And if you didn't register for the breakout session but you'd like to join, you can do so by navigating to the "Old Sessions" page on the Cvent Attendee Hub and selecting "Add Session."
With that, I'm delighted to introduce today's keynote speakers. Caroline Grossman and Pavita Cooper who will discuss how nonprofits can move from building a diverse board and team to building inclusive environments where everyone can thrive. Caroline Grossman will moderate today's conversation. Currently the Executive Director of the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Strategy at Chicago Booth. Also a partner at Social Venture Partners Chicago and a board member of Ameritas and passport resident of the PlayMakers Laboratory Theater.
She will be joined by Pavita Cooper, currently the founder of More Difference also on the steering committee of the 30% Club. Commissioner to the board of the Equity and Human Rights Commission, trustee of the Chartered Management Institute at the old Victoria Theater and was awarded Woman of the Year at the Asian Business Awards in 2017. I encourage you to check out their full profiles on the speakers page of the Cvent Attendee Hub. So, I personally looked at it. And it's fantastic to know the breadth and the width that these speakers have today.
After Caroline and Pavita discuss a series of questions we'll leave some time for you to take questions from all of you and feel free to submit a question at any time using the Q and A feature on the right-hand side of your web browser. We'll try to get to as many questions as possible. And with that, let's dive into our session today.
Thank you very much.
Thank you so much, Fadzai. It's a lovely introduction and a great way to start. And I am coming to this session straight from my Booth class. I've just been with MBA students all morning. Who've been navigating questions of sustainability and also how the interplay there between diversity, equity, and inclusion, and sustainability. And it's just incredibly invigorating to start the day with students. And for me, this is lunchtime for many of you it's after work but to be with all of you. So thank you for joining us.
Pavita, you're founder of More Difference and have been an advisor to C-suite Executives and corporate and nonprofit leaders on governance issues and talent. Can you tell us just to start about the scope of your work there and some of your lessons learned?
Yes, thank you very much, Caroline. Great to be with you all today. First off, congratulations it's always wonderful to meet our scholarship winners we have all around the world and it's always a thrill to sort of be, to meet them in person, although today, a bit more virtually.
So the scope of my work is very broad. It sort of covers everything to do with issues that boards and executive teams and top teams are grappling with around sort of their talent and culture issues. And increasingly, as you can imagine in today's world right equity and diversity and inclusion. But what does that always come down to? Well, effectively, it comes down to big people challenges. Who are their best people? How do they make sure that the pool of talent rising to the top is as diverse as possible? And they have the skills needed for that organization to deliver against their strategy.
It's very broad, I work across all sectors. Profit, not-for-profit, government organizations, large listed institutions. And you can imagine that all of them think they're all very individual and unique in their challenges, but of course they're not because invariably, when you lift the lid on any company, you really get a good look inside the problems are pretty much universal.
Got it. It's interesting.
So can you tell us about what is the 30% Club? Why did it start? And what's their focus?
So, I've been involved since the beginning. So, 11 years ago, our founder Dame Helena Morrissey who's now in the House of Lords in the United Kingdom. She was a banker in the city and I also worked in banking at the time. And I think she just had a bit of an epiphany, really. She was asked on many occasions to go and attend women's group sessions, talking about diversity and how do you get more women on boards.
And she said, she sat on one panel looked at to the audience and realized everybody on the panel was a woman. And everyone out of the audience was a woman. And of course she was struck by it, well, we're not going to fix this. If this keeps happening. If it's just women talking to women about an issue that the whole population needs to think about how do we address the balance in society?
So she came away from that and with a group of other like-minded women, a small group of us, initially. She came up with this idea of rather than trying to sort of fight from within the system approaching the Chairs of some of the largest institutions initially in the UK to say, look, the reality is you're all men but we need you to work with us to fix this. So that was the birth of the 30% Club.
And the reason we came up with the name 30% Club, it wasn't anything scientific. It's just that we knew as you will all know that you need critical mass in any group there to be a change. And so 30% was a notional number around which we convene to say, once we get at least 30% of women onto these boards across these biggest companies will have a critical mass that will start to make a difference. Now we've gone way beyond that. And 11 years we've surpassed 30% and parts of the world ahead of 30%. But at the time we felt that it was good just to have that as a goal. But our goal is now obviously to get to equity.
And some of the principles of the club were, it's not a, we're not a charity, we don't sort of take any money off anyone. We're a campaigning group. So we all have day jobs. So we will do lots of other things. We do all of this in our free time. And our principle was be a voluntary led approach not to sort of try and impose or influence government to impose quotas. And it was all about men and women working together rather than being angry. Women shouting at men saying, you're not doing what you want. And if you want to find out more, have a look at the website, we're in 15 chapters around the world now. Over 1500 members and in the UK, particularly there are no more boards across the whole of the FTSE 350, which are listed businesses that are all male boards anymore. So it's taken 11 years, but we've made some progress.
So I think a lot about how leaders foster change. And I think that you made a very deliberate decision on the approach that the 30% Club was going to take and you've met your target, but I'm curious how you thought about the trade-offs between that approach like having folks be volunteers versus advocating for quotas. What were some of the factors that went into your decision and what did you learn along the way? What did you need to optimize?
So, we've learnt a lot along the way. And obviously the other thing I would say is that 10 years ago in this country, particularly and elsewhere there were multiple institutions and individuals who were advocating for the same thing. So I'm not in any way suggesting that we must attribute all the success to us. There was a combination of, it was a zeitgeist moment, really particularly in Europe around needing to create change.
So for us, we were further behind some Scandinavian countries and they'd had a lot of success. As you will know those of your interest in this subject area, that there were many women on boards and culturally also, society has a different view about the role of men as parents in Scandinavian society. So men want to be more engaged and it's encouraged.
I'm not saying in the North America or in Asia or in Britain, that isn't the case but certainly, there's more pressure on men to sort of be seen to be the breadwinner while women to take on the primary caring role. And that isn't the case in Scandinavian countries, it's more shared. And as a result, they were able to progress that agenda at a more accelerated rate than certainly we had seen.
But what we also saw is this phenomenon of just a few women then getting all the top jobs and rotating around many of the boards. And I have to say that initially in the UK, when women started going onto the boards here the same thing happens. So if you talk about there being an echo chamber of, an elite group of privileged White men, getting to the top you then ended up with a privileged group of elite White women getting to the top, where basically it was the same group of women on multiple boards, which doesn't actually help the problem.
So that was one learning that if we're going to do something how do we make sure that all women are represented? We didn't really emphasize that enough at the beginning. And that's very much in what we talk about now. And by all women, I mean, ethnicity, in terms of sexuality in terms of all backgrounds, social mobility not just an elite group of women who have the same access to the men at the top path.
I think the other thing is we underestimated how much resistance there would be, even from some of the men. I think they thought that we would just go away. They thought it was a knitting group. We had quite a lot of abuse and a lot of leaders that we wrote to wrote back to us and said, thanks, but no, thanks. I don't wanna be part of this. However, there was a turning point, again, we had a critical mass and the media were behind us and suddenly it was the big institutional newspapers like the Financial Times, printing images of all male boards and saying, hey guys, what are you doing? Suddenly, you couldn't wait, the Chairs to see I was gonna wait to get their picture taken with us, because they wanted to be attached. And, and next to us, when they were talking about their diversity agenda.
And it wasn't like that at the beginning. I mean, I remember any media interview any interview that I went. All I got asked about was the business case. And it just got so exhausting. Nobody asks about that now. So I think there've been many, many learnings along the way about how we've self-organized some principals endured and others we got to adapt. So for example, very recently, we've increased our goals to include ethnicity which has been something we've been grappling with for a long time, because at the beginning we were a single issue campaign, but it's just, it felt like the right time because it's very important to us.
That's great. And certainly, the world does in the midst of a racial reckoning, we are on this Zoom joined by people who are all over the world. The majority I believe are here in the U.S. where I am or in the UK and EMEA, where Pavita is. And, the eyes of the world were on the Midwest, certainly the eyes of the U.S. this week as the trial of Derek Chauvin who was in indeed convicted of murder of George Floyd last summer. And I think that those of us living through this racial reckoning in the U.S. know that it has permeated so many of our organizations, I just talked a little bit about what it's been in the U.S. in the last week, in the last year.
How have you seen it play out? I mean, you talked about expanding your goals as an organization beyond single issue. Single issue is very powerful. Single issue allows you to set a goal and achieve it. It's Michael Porter, the strategy guru from HBS would argue that single issue is very powerful, but in expanding how has that played out? And what is the current state of the racial reckoning in the UK?
So I think as you'd imagine the events following the murder of George Floyd here a year ago, there was a ripple effect across the world, is that quite right it should have been. And I think the pandemic, the fact that a lot of people were at home, they had more time watching TV. They were furloughed. They were able to go out and protest in the streets. There was just this light moment in time where 'cause as we all know this was not a unique incident in the U.S. that had been, unfortunately many other cases similar but there was just this moment that when you saw the ripple effect in the U.S. it was felt the same way. I can't tell you how profound it was.
In the week afterwards that when I was working with organizations I had CEOs calling me saying, look in good faith, I wrote out to my people to sort of in solidarity to say, we are with you. We understand that many of you these would be triggering and want you to know that we remain committed all our efforts around equity, around race. And in many institutions, it was a huge backlash people just saying no enough, enough talk now. And it was very powerful. It was very profound. And I think there was to a degree some leaders underestimated how deeply people had felt this because they were seeing in themselves their own lived experiences.
So this year, I think has been very important in terms of a lot of organizations have talked about what they call, we doubling our efforts around the issue of race but they've gone beyond words to actually listening to the individuals in their organization trying to really understand the issue. And then we've seen it played out more broadly in the Press. So today, the church of England has come out and said, we're not doing enough around, being more inclusive around the senior roles for Black leaders in the church. One of the government bodies come out and said that, there was a big review about the thought that all the people of color that fought in the first world war they weren't commemorated appropriately enough. So now it's sort of, it's very deep and very far reaching, so it's not dissimilar to what you were all experiencing in the U.S.
Yeah. So we actually have a question coming in and On Boards. I wanna just clarify for the group that right now we've been talking about there's corporate boards, there's nonprofit boards. The focus of this conference is nonprofit boards but so many of these themes and questions apply to both. So I will dive in and get into dynamics in the nonprofit space more specifically but I wanna stay a bit longer in the more general space of boards representation, equity, inclusion, and actually wanted to hear from, go to the first question that has come in from the group.
So, just as a signal, if you ask your questions and you send them, I'll try to weave them in not just wait for the end. What was critical to making and exceeding the 30% goal of women on boards? Do you think that will be effective and now bringing more leaders of color onto boards?
Definitely. (phone beeping) Sorry, I switch this off. That's my son just arrived home downstairs obviously asking me where the candy is. (laughs)
So, I think in terms of the 30% Club the key things that really made the difference. First of all, was the data. Because when we start at the beginning, we sort of said, we stated out loud and said, if you look at the top, the very big companies, which would be equivalent of the Fortune 500 in the U.S. Here it's the FTSE 100, it's the 100 most, the largest organizations. They had less than, representation of less than 8% were female on their boards. Now that's just dire. That's saying that there is not insufficient talent across the country, in terms of women with the right skillset, the right experiences the right aspiration, the right ambition, the right sort of drive to want to go and do those roles. Now, we all know that fundamentally, that wasn't true but without being able to shine a light on that data and say, well, why is that? We couldn't take the conversation forward. So then we have to say to organizations, we've had to work really hard to crunch that data. It's all readily available now because everyone's got it. So you need to do that for your businesses.
So we basically put a lot of pressure to say, organizations need to start to understand for themselves what do those numbers look like at the top? And then once we'd done that, we said that, now you need to understand what those numbers look like at every level because this is about representation at every level. Then we will, us and others were lobbying government to say, now we need to advocate and force gender pay gap reporting. So data was a really critical part of that.
Then we also recognized that there was some softer stuff around leadership and inclusive culture that was really important. So specifically we knew that in many organizations to get to be CEO you have to be CFO first. And that this applies whether you're in a not-for-profit or in a list of business there are certain jobs that make it more than likely that you're gonna get to the top. And of course, what did we see? Women populating, HR, marketing, comms, CSR, all the sort of subject matter areas that maybe don't necessarily get to the top. So we were able to use that data to say, what is it gonna take for you to put women into really big commercial roles that allows them to elevate to the top?
So those are the sorts of things that we did. And we also started having conversations about some of the myths, I suppose, that exist around why women weren't getting to the top. So lack of confidence, child-rearing and we did lots of research that really unpick that. And we talked about it a lot. We went to the media, we went to the Press. We went and spent lots of time at organizations talking about this. So it was multiple factors and we're using the same approach now when it comes to ethnicity but the problem is the representation is even lower and the gap is even bigger.
So, how does this, how do these dynamics play out in the nonprofit space? Tell us, if you could tell us maybe first about your non-profit engagement and then yeah, very much how these dynamics play out?
So I have a lot of experience in not-for-profit space. I mean, at the currently I'm a trustee on a number of organizations that are not-for-profits institutions as an exec, as a non-executive myself. So, I have that responsibility as a non-executive director in those institutions and I've had several in the past and I also engage with them from an advisory capacity where they'll bring me in to help them think about their challenges and issues.
The first thing I will say that you won't be surprised to hear me say. There is less difference than people assume there is. People always start by saying, Oh, you don't know where we're different. So as you know, I'm on the trustee of the Old Vic and one of the trustees said to me recently, Oh, well, it's different here because, these all lovies it's all theater, it's all very going darling, darling and it's harder to engage these people on these issues. Well, I say, no, it's the same. Whether it's a banker, someone very creative in the arts industry or in the music industry. I do some work in media and in music as well. It is no different.
Now, clearly the governance structures are different. So if you're in a listed business, either in the U.S. or in Asia or in Australia, or in Europe there are some legal requirements on you as a director. So in the UK, what's starting to happen is a lot of the investor groups are starting to apply pressure on diversity and voting against companies that cannot demonstrate around their sustainability agenda, around diversity. So if they don't have a person of color they don't have sufficient female representation. So there are actual hard leavers that they can pull to start to sort of say, we'll poke you where it hurts. Basically, if you don't comply, as we all know, if you're not-for-profit institution that doesn't necessarily exist in the same way it's all about guidance, complying with, it's a comply or explain type approach. It's what a charity commission might say, we expect you to do this. It's advisable, it's best practice. So you have to create that tension internally. And I think that's where the role of a good non-exec comes in to say, look, we have to create this change agenda ourselves. We've got to agitate to say this isn't good enough. So what are you going to do about it? If you were commercial business, it's just you would be allowed to carry on in this way. But as I say, I think there's less difference some people assume.
Right, could you tell us more about your work with the old Vic? I mean, I'm sorry, as an American I love thinking about the London theater scene and community, and I will stop there but I do think that this year globally we know that not that the arts and performing arts have suffered so much. And with so many non-profits in that space I'm sure there are many on this call on the Zoom that's joining us today who are dealing with that. And I'm wondering how you've needed to engage on that front.
Well, something to cheer you all up I will tell you that last night, and I was on a Zoom session with Daniel Radcliffe, A.K.A Harry Potter and Alan Cumming. When I told my children, they both appeared in Endgame which is one of the most famous Beckett plays ever. They said to me, "You mean he was in a Marvel movie?" (laughs) No. (mumbles)
Harry Potter, yes, yes. So basically, I'm on a Zoom with someone who was on a Zoom with Harry Potter and that I think, that's great. That's...
So they're both in the US at the moment because they're both filming and doing stuff in the U.S. though one's in New York, one's in LA, but of course, what they were doing is sort of meeting some of the, not just the big donors but some of the people just everyday people who've made a commitment to sort of buy the lowest level of membership to someone like the Old Vic, to sustain it during this really difficult last 12 months. And actually someone who maybe has just bought that most entry level of being a friend of a theater or music institution or a ballet institution anything to the arts is doing their bit to keep it going. So what I loved about what the Old Vic did is it wasn't just the biggest donors. It was a representation of people, mom-and-pop in North London, somewhere sitting on their sofa with a dog talking to Harry Potter as well as obviously lady so-and-so who may have, donated a whole loo or whole annex.
It's really interesting. But I think the thing that really struck me was that they've given their own time for free and they really committed 'cause they want the theater to keep going. They were really grateful that the people who support the theater have allowed it to keep going. But I think what I've learned in my tenure at the old Vic is that some of the people who've come as trustees come from really established businesses. A couple are really serious bankers. They know how to raise money. They've got wealthy friends and neighbors and other people have different skills. Somebody is an Australian who worked with the Australian government he knows all about public and corporate affairs. We all bring something different, but in this crisis we've all been able to lean in and provide a specific skillset.
So they've been doing a lot of work on themselves around their own anti-racist strategy what they're going to do to activate to ensure that there are no issues in their own institution and I've helping them with that. And you think it's really creative area this, well, this really, this icon of British creativity and theater wouldn't have those issues but of course they do as all organizations do. So I've been working with some of the front of house team and some of the actors around their own experiences and what it's been like for them. So I think for those of you who are already very engaged in not-for-profits you'll know that sometimes from the outside looking in you kind of think what can I bring? But what you realize very quickly is you can bring a huge amount.
Got it. Yeah. That's really exciting to hear. And the progress is something to be hopeful about. So, our questions are coming in on and lots of questions on diversity. So I wanna keep plugging away on that theme.
So here's a question about critical mass. Once you got to your goal, you got to 30% have any CEOs thanked you for the added value that was created and did anyone convert? So were any CEOs who gave you resistance, have any of them become major champions for diversity?
Yes. Many of them have become huge advocates. To be fair, the biggest champions are the champions from the beginning. They were the ones who were the outliers and they were the ones…
So what we did is we used Chairs to recruit other Chairs. So rather than us saying, we'll go and partner someone, we did a spreadsheet. And we said, the Chairs who were on board early who did they know well enough to be able to pick up the phone to at the weekend, on a Sunday who do they know well enough to ask someone else to connect them with, and who do they not know? So we've kind of made sure we sort of plotted the whole of the FTSA 100 to say, let's cover everyone. And the problem is they were the ones getting resistance. So when they were picking up the phone they had some people that said yes, readily others who it took longer.
I would say it is hugely politically incorrect for any of those individuals to say in public now they don't think this is a good thing. I'm sure there are people that have personally have different beliefs internally but they're all everyone's got the t-shirt now. And they're sort of no, I'm on board. I've got pink laces whether I'm for the women, whatever.
So I think what happened around the critical mass thing is that we got there eventually it was hard but the problem is we then fell into this trap of what we call, "One and Done." So what some boards did they said, when I got a woman on that was great. And here, like in the US there's a term system. So, you have a term of three years and in most places you have to do either minimum of three years and you can do two terms maximum three terms, which is nine years. But in some organizations, if the woman was leaving or stepping down, they would sort of say, well, I brought the woman on the board, have done it now.
So we actually saw a progress falter and stall, and actually reverse. We had several per points. Over the last 10 years, we'd take two steps forward one step back, one step forward, two steps backwards because that's exactly what was happening. And what I described in the Scandi countries that at the very beginning, the same woman populating three or four boards, which isn't progress. And so there were issues around this which is actually saying the one and done is not helping we need more than one woman on the board. And we also know, as we know for any diversity issue is that if you put someone as a singular token person in an environment and it's not welcoming and they're the only person, two things can happen is if it goes wrong, they get blamed. And secondly, it's a very difficult place for them to be.
So did we get credit? In some instances, it wasn't necessarily us, but was there an acknowledgement of the fact that this was progress? Yes, and in fact today, the head of the bank of England said, even in banking here, if there had been more women across the biggest financial institutions during the financial crisis, it wouldn't have been as bad as it was because women are more risk averse. They're more cautious and more inclusive. So people are now publicly coming out and saying, we are we are at fault. And we don't do as well when there aren't as many women around.
So, it's interesting. You focus on how to get women on to boards. You focus on those challenges. You talked about how there was an issue of one and done. You talked about how diversity and inclusion and expanding away from it, just being women was critical.
But I have a question that takes us back to basics which is that for this same elite group of women who are sitting on all the boards, it wasn't hard but where do you get started if you wanna be on a board? Whether it's a corporate board, where there is in fact usually a financial benefit to being on a corporate board or a nonprofit board.
And so, one of the folks who's in the Zoom asked a question that was, what advice do you have for women interested in joining company boards but unsure how to go about pursuing these often closed opportunities?
So, I think the first thing is, it's really essential that you get some board level experience and it's a bit like being a teenager, 14, 15 year old trying to get your first job. Weekend holiday job. And they keep saying to you, well, have you got any experience? No, well then we can't hire you. If you're 14, how can you get a job if you haven't had a job? So it's that same thing. And so I always say to women I think it's really important to find an experience a context somewhere that you can go and take your skills. And I personally think not-for-profit is a brilliant place to start. Now, I'm not saying that women should lower their ambition and assume that, they can't get onto list of businesses. Of course you can. I say the same thing to men though, so when men say to me, I'm struggling to make that first transition. I say, well, if you don't have, there was some people if you've been the chief financial officer for HSBC across all of Asia based in Hong Kong, you're gonna walk your way into a first non-exec position because you've had such a complex and vast experience in one of the most complex organizations across geographies. Your job, your business card tells people you've got the skillset. If you don't have that. Then I think not-for-profit is a great place to start.
So, whether that's in a local health trust, if it's at your local school, as a board of governor, board member, whatever as you call them in the U.S. they have the same in Asia, the same in Australia, it might be at a local community type of thing. It might be at a charity. It might be in an environment something you're already involved in that is a brilliant place to start, because what you're able to do is talk about that experience. We had a problem. We had to fire the CEO, we ran out of money. We realized that there was an integrity crisis. We had a PR issue. So you can actually talk about this stuff. So I think that's a great place to start.
I think the other thing to do is to look at the sorts of environments that you want to go into and be really clear about skills required and close those skills gaps. So if you know that you have no governance or risk experience, you're going to have to go and get someone all the big four audit companies all run really good programs for women on their staff like how to get on boards, women on boards. There's a catalyst in the US, Huge, there's lots and lots of places you can go and close your skill gaps. So they would be my two or three top tips.
That's really helpful. So here's a question that really resonates for me as someone who I have a Booth MBA, I'm a Booth alum. The majority of Booth students always are male. It's not an even gender breakdown ever. So, that is in one respect where I come from. And now I work in higher ed and higher ed is over-indexed and has a higher percentage of staff and the higher ed sector are women. So we have someone saying that she's on a board with an over-representation of women. They're struggling to recruit men, specifically men of color at all levels, board, staff, volunteers.
I don't know about the sector that this person writing the question is coming from but we perhaps we can imagine that it is from one of these sectors that historically has more women than men, and is indexed in that respect. And she says, or she, the questioner says, they're the ones that have joined tend to have shorter tenures, what can we do in inclusion to help retain our board members?
So this is, you described a brilliant problem in reverse and in education this is often the case in schools as my two boys go to a local, a boys school and they have a brilliant representation of male teachers but they're in a private education system. The state system and the government schools it's impossible to get young male role models into schools. That's obviously in a city. So important part of the puzzle about how do you build positive impact and have young boys see other positive role models. And so, this is endemic across many sectors and many parts of society whether it's under-representation.
So I think there's a couple of things, one is, thinking about what you're trying to attract. So often what boards do is they'll set, I think quite unrealistic expectations about what it is they think they need in terms of skills. And when I often look at the list, I sort of say, why do you want all this? That's sort of like a shopping list of they must have this and they must have this. The reality is you don't need many of those things on board. So we need experienced Chairs. It happened to me a couple of weeks ago, my board I don't need someone who's an aviation specialist because we've got a 100,000 of those around here. We need someone who's got great people skills someone who is a great problem solver someone who can connect with the people in our organization who're people business we want someone who's willing to sort of learn and understand about the organization, help us solve some of these tricky issues that we've got coming up. We've got to big digital agenda or something.
So I think taking off the blinkers and sort of saying, let's be realistic. What are the skills we don't need? And then when you redefine what the role looks like recruit to that, stop worrying about content or sector expertise and focus on the type of person that you want, because then you're more likely to attract someone who's attracted to your charge. In any organization but particularly a nonprofit mission is critical. And there's no way I could give all the time I do to the old Vic. And it sounds very glamorous, Harry Potter. A lot of the time we just looking at the numbers and can we keep the lights on? Can we paint? Can we afford the new annex? How do we keep our outreach program going? And it's pretty gruesome just analytics and how to monetize them on a business. And then there's a pockets of cover. And we all know that's the same with any organization and institution. So I think if you focus on the mission of buying people who are totally on message and committed to the mission you're trying to deliver you're more likely to get people who are interested.
So in your environment, if you do have supporters or people on the periphery or people that are loosely involved and you can see they're interested then try and recruit those rather than finding the shiny, bright, business graduate star who's already on the ascendancy and is looking at you thinking, Oh, no, I'm too busy. I haven't got time for that.
Yeah, well, it sounds like whenever you need I'm not gonna make light of your answer. It a very important topic but it does sound like whenever you need someone to dive in you shouldn't just grab Harry Potter but also Hermione Granger gotta pull her in. So, but I think you're right. It's really helpful to think about it in that way.
So I'm struck by where you started by talking about how you started with a single issue focus and a single issue metric. And it's very easy, if that is your structure, 30% women then you have something that's very easy to work towards, but also very easy to measure. As we think a lot about measurement at Chicago Booth. And as you start to expand and make your goals more nuanced and complex, it can get harder to measure. And so representation is always the easiest thing to measure. Once you get into true with equity and inclusion it gets harder. How have you thought about measurement relative especially to equity and inclusion?
So a couple of things, I think, I just want to stress that, that 30% number 'cause people get really hung up on it. For us it was the floor, not the ceiling. It was the minimum we were aiming for because in parts, when we're in Japan we're in South Africa, we're in Australia, Canada. There are some countries that exceed 50% already. So in the example that one of your colleagues just gave on the board that there on more women, so that does exist. It's the floor, not the ceiling. The second thing is representation can mask bit deeper issues. So in the UK, for example the issue of race on board is quite deep, there is not sufficient representation. So we are basically at about 14% of the population here is what we call Bain which is Black, Black African Caribbean, Asian minority ethnic--people hate the term. So like everybody else where we're moving to all sorts of different language but it's just a shorthand for what we call here.
But the problem is you might say, okay there is Bain representation on some boards, although one in five boards have nobody of color on their board which is pretty shocking for a country that is as diverse as ours. But the bigger issue is that where there is representation it's heavily dominated by Southeast Asian men. And it's the same in your country. If you look at all the big tech firms that all Indian men because their mothers basically say, work hard study hard, go to US, go to business school because that's a cultural dynamic at play.
In this country, It's the same thing. There are probably more people of Asian descent like me. My parents were Indian who have managed to succeed and get to the top even though it's still a tiny, tiny, tiny number. But when you look at the issue of Black people, it's even worse. So,
as of this, as of now, we've got a problem where for the first time in six years in what we call a top three senior roles. I.e.: the Chair, the CEO and the CFO. There are no Black leaders. I mean, just think about that. No Black leaders.
So that suggests that in all our organizations that for the people, given that we've got really good representation at graduate entry, all the big firms are running, a blind CVS, blind criminal processes. They're bringing in plenty of diverse talent. Nobody getting to the top is Black. Why is that? And we all know that logically, that is not right. So that's why I think the numbers can hide some of the more tricky issues that we're dealing with. So that's important, which is why, as you say measuring inclusion and diversity is very important. So most organizations for last 10 years focus on issue of diversity which is the input inclusion as the output. So now all the measures are much more on inclusion which is about inclusive leadership. Can I bring my whole self to work? What is the gap between who I am, my lived experience versus who shows up to work? To what degree can I talk about myself? And the whole Black Lives Matter movement has created a conversation about leaders basically, having to say, I'm really curious as to what is it like for you because I've never, ever, ever been asked before. Most people I speak to say, nobody's ever asked me that question. And that is the job of a manager to understand that anyone who comes from whatever minority group as opposed to the (indistinct) group what is their experience in that institution?
Yeah, so we've a couple of questions that pick up on relative to professional development for boards nonprofit, for profit.
One is around what kind of professional development do you recommend what should boards be doing to equip themselves to work more effectively in this space? And then also, what do boards, what do you do when a leader of an organization or board doesn't buy in to trainings and how do you overcome that?
So the first thing I would say is that in terms of boards, I mean, I think it depends on the size the scale of the board, how much money you've got, frankly if you're a small charity, you're not bringing in catalysts for two days training. I think what you do then is you lean on your network and particularly this is where the non-execs can help. So recently what I've done at one of the charities I work with, they said to me we'd really like to know what best practice looks like.
So I've reached out to six, really big global corporations and I've gone to their global heads of DNI who I know really well and said, as a favor to me I want you to spend some time with their head of HR. And that's what they're doing. So as colleagues, they're sharing, so this is what we do. This is how we grapple with the issue. Let's talk to you about our journey, what we've been on for 10 years, how long, what worked, what didn't work, where we got it wrong where we really basically focused on the wrong things. And that's been really powerful, sometimes there will be other independent consultants that can come in and maybe do a session with the board.
I personally think, the data is already in the organization. So either someone from within the organization or from outside facilitates playing back your own data and your own story and your own insights about your own people. When it comes to either an executive and non-executive or a Chair hasn't brought in there's only one way to move them over that line. And that's through connecting with them emotionally on the issue. And the only way they can do that is by hearing about people's real experiences. There's not a leader I've ever worked with who has moved until they've already connected at a very deep emotional level with whatever the issue is.
So, Pavita, what advice do you have for boards as they go about developing and implementing DEI practices?
So it's the same as we'd ask, if someone says, what should an organization do? I just say the organization is an artificial construct. It isn't a real thing is it? It is the 2,000 people, the 200 people the a 100,000 people that make it up. So just looking to the CEO and people always say," Oh, the top team if they're not brought in, if the CEO isn't brought in." Yes of course you need the top team to be brought in but it is the behavior and actions of every day that managers take around the interaction with the people that work for them. That makes a difference. People don't leave organizations, they leave their bosses and the same applies in a non-for-profit environment.
So if you're on the board you can't just look at your Chair and say, "Oh, well, I'm sure at some point this year the Chair is going to stick this on the agenda." You need to be saying, we've had six board meetings so far this year, we've had no conversation about what's going on inside the organization around race given what's happening more broadly in our society. I've never seen any data on inclusion. I don't see the staff survey questions in there relating to this. Could we perhaps table this, I'd really like us to have a detailed debate.
So I was saying the same thing, which is at the board. It's not just the Chair, every individual non-executive directors look at themselves and say, what is my role here? What questions am I asking? What insight can I bring? What experience do I have for my other businesses I can bring in here. And do I know, like in this country the boards in regulated businesses the non-exec directors are legally bound to basically be able to speak for what's going on with the people in your organization. So if they're on the risk register, if there's an issue around diversity, there's issue around culture the board is the one who's held to account. So, individual non-executive directors have to go deep in the organization, meet people and actually ask themselves, what does it really like here? So you should be doing the same in a not-for-profit environment.
Yeah, well, thank you so much. That is, I think that's a wonderful note on which to end. It really helps us all of us think about ways that we can bring some of these practices into our own organizations in a variety of ways. So thank you. I can't thank you enough for joining us for such a meaningful discussion and to all of you here on Zoom this evening, this afternoon I think our friends in Asia are asleep. So I'm going to just leave it with evening and afternoon not the middle of the night, but to thank you.
So, our next session starts at 12:30 Central. It starts at the half hour mark, wherever you are unless you're in India, which is confusing. But it starts in 10 minutes. So we're gonna take a quick break, stretch, grab some food, grab a beverage, walk around and then you can join the next session, “The Convergence of Inclusion and Leadership,” and you can do so by navigating to the "My Schedule" page in Cvent and clicking "Join Session."
We'd love to hear your feedback about today's sessions. It helps us so much as we plan for the future. So please take a survey for each session they're not long but it really helps us, again, navigate to the "My Event" tab and select "Pick Survey." So thank you. And we hope to see you at our next On Board session.
And Pavita thank you so much. On one hand I wish we could stand up together and chat and chat with whoever comes and approaches us and have that piece of things. But on the other hand, I'm thrilled that I'm sitting here in Chicago and you're in London and we're having this conversation. So it's really, it's an opportunity and a silver lining. And I just thank you so much for your time.