October 29, 2020
How Predominantly White Boards
Can Better Recruit for Racial Diversity Without Being Disrespectful to People of Color
Take it from Jim Taylor, good intentions can still be really offensive. In this Board Source article, Jim Taylor, describes his experiences as a sought after board member, being recruited for 13 different boards. He is a black man. He shares the reasons why he chose to join some boards and not others and what specifically was offensive to him in the board recruitment process.
Beyond his story, however, are the helpful recommendations Jim Taylor provides to help predominantly white Boards effectively meet the worthy objective of diversifying their board while demonstrating sensitivity and respect for the people of color they are trying to recruit.
"There’s a better way for predominantly White boards to plan and execute the process of recruiting people of color to join their boards – a way that honors the vital importance of the task to the board’s continued effectiveness and respects the full value of the skills and attributes people of color can bring to boards. "
Those recommendations include:
Reflecting on the importance of diversity to your school's work
Expanding and diversifying your network of potential board candidates
Building an inclusive and welcoming board culture
"Being thoughtful and intentional about why diversity matters to your board and organization, and how the board is committed to cultivating a truly inclusive board culture – a board culture in which every board member’s perspective is welcomed, respected, and valued – is the only way to effectively diversify the board. Any board that fails to apply a more intentional, considerate approach in its outreach to people of color will struggle – deservedly – to recruit and retain people of color as board members."