The Importance of Boardroom Diversity

By Lynne Cadenhead

Lack of diversity is a problem…

Boards are the mind and will of a company, and they perform better when they include the best people coming from a range of backgrounds and perspectives. The boardroom is where all strategic decisions are made, risk overseen and governance applied. Therefore, it’s vital that an effective and balanced board consists of a diverse blend of high-quality individuals bringing a mix of experience, skills and backgrounds to the table.

Women bring specific benefits to companies, yet women still remain woefully under-represented in the board rooms of most UK companies and organisations. At our current rate of change, it’s going to take over 70 years to achieve gender-balanced boards in the UK! This despite the fact that various studies have shown companies with more women on their boards perform better operationally and provide a better return on investment.

The value of your unique perspective…

I remember the first board role I had about 20 yearsago. I turned up, shaking with trepidation, surrounded by some well-known, influential captains of industry, squeaking out answers every time I was asked to comment. After a few meetings, the Chairman took me aside and told me, quite directly but very tactfully, that I wasn’t contributing as much as he thought I would. I replied that I felt quite intimidated by the depth of knowledge and experience of others around the table and I just couldn’t match that. “Mmm,” he said “but you’re not here to be the same as them or say the same things as they say. I brought you on board to be different because you are different.” Continue Reading →