Press Release: 2021-04-07

Commit to Action on Board Diversity

Commit to Action on Board Diversity
April 06, 2021

Dear Chamber Members, 
We are writing you today to share the five-year diversity goals that our Board has unanimously voted on for the Chamber and to ask for your partnership.

As we reflect on the past year – the pandemic, our nation’s reckoning with centuries of racism, and the economic impact of these crises – we are compelled to ask what more we can do together to create economic opportunity and a more competitive region.  As the convener of the business community, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is in a unique position to lead and effect true change. 

We have done so in several ways:   

--The Pacesetters program is designed to use procurement as a tool to create equity.  Through this initiative, we have seen that leadership is essential at every level of an organization. 

--The Inclusive Managers and DEI certificates directly impact equity in the workplace by training our managers and the workforce of participating members. 

Today, we present a new challenge – to work toward representative leadership in our board rooms throughout our membership and the business community. 

Our Chamber fully embraces the need for board diversity.  The business case for a diverse board is clear: equity and inclusion are critical for our region’s economic growth and competitiveness. A board with appropriate representation of women and people of color is vital to business success.  This is especially urgent as we rebuild a more resilient and equitable post-pandemic economy. 

We began our own journey to create a more diverse Chamber Board of Directors in 2016. Over the course of five years, women on our Board increased from 23% to 40%, and people of color increased from 12% to 20%. Through intentional planning with our Board of Directors and after a unanimous vote earlier this month, we set new five-year goals and are holding ourselves accountable by making them public: a board that is 50% women, 17% Black, 10% Asian, and 10% Latinx by 2026.  

We embrace the Chamber’s role in providing the tools, data, and oftentimes the push necessary to ensure that Boston’s business community leads the effort to attract, grow, and retain the best talent to Greater Boston. A key to making meaningful progress for women, Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and people of color is providing business leaders and companies with the tools and incentives to create culture change and achieve these critically important goals so that everyone can thrive.

We ask that you join us in this effort.

Being a Chamber member means boldly stepping into action together. We encourage our members and prospective members to join us in this effort: commit to creating more diverse boards and make your goals public, whether your organization is publicly or privately held, a non-profit, or a foundation. By joining our efforts to increase Board diversity, your company is investing in the competitiveness of the Commonwealth and the future of commerce. We will survey our Chamber members annually to assess the impact over the years and coordinate with key partners to improve the outcomes.

We are thrilled to partner with existing community organizations and members that are already doing this work and can refer companies to prospective board candidates. The Last Mile provides pro bono services to companies seeking diverse women directors. Organizations like The Partnership, Inc., ALPFA Boston, Amplify Latinx, Conexión, NAACP Boston Branch, Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, and many others are coming together to create a growing list of people of color more than ready for board roles. 

We have an opportunity to usher in a renaissance for Boston that will inspire generations to come. As a member of the Chamber, we need you to lead with us so we can, together, make the greatest possible impact. 

We look forward to our partnership.

James E. Rooney           Micho F. Spring

CEO & President             Chair, Board of Directors