[tc_contributor_byline slug=”susan-lyne”][tc_contributor_byline slug=”sukhinder-singh-cassidy”]
There is a lot of existing data tying board diversity to better company performance, but most of it focuses on companies that are already public. This misses the bigger, and potentially much more impactful opportunity for startups and growth stage tech companies: to build a diverse board now, not later.
For the first four or so years of a company’s life, boards are dominated by investors who, given the ratios in venture capital, are predominantly white males with backgrounds in finance or tech. Yet during that time, the Founder/CEO’s biggest challenges are both deeply operational (who and how to recruit; what to spend for customer acquisition) and deeply strategic (how to create a lasting brand; whether to rethink the business model). In addition, this is a period of constant change, where a Founder/CEO may be at his/her most lonely and grappling with issues he/she has…
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