The Power of Diversity is Being Amplified in the Market

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Diversity is a hot topic that is not going away…nor should it. It is going to become an expectation by consumers that your brand takes a stand and then follows it up with actions.

While many companies have claimed to be diverse, the reality is, for many, it has just been lip service. Currently, 75% of the companies listed on Nasdaq do not meet this requirement.

On December 1, 2020, Nasdaq Inc. proposed a rule requiring that all companies listed on the Nasdaq exchange will have to publicly disclose their board diversity. It would be a requirement that there be a minimum of two “diverse” directors, including one female and one who self-identifies as either “an underrepresented minority" or LGBTQ+. The potentially awkward aspect of this proposal is that if a company does not meet the requirements within a specified timeframe, they will have to explain it in public disclosure. Could you imagine having to be the person that has to answer media questions about why??

This is a bold move. It would be one of the biggest moves ever made to diversify corporate boardrooms.   

"Nasdaq's purpose is to champion inclusive growth and prosperity to power stronger economies," said Chief Executive Adena Friedman. "Our goal with this proposal is to provide a transparent framework for Nasdaq-listed companies to present their board composition and diversity philosophy effectively to all stakeholders; we believe this listing rule is one step in a broader journey to achieve inclusive representation across corporate America."

To be clear, this is only a proposal. It still must be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While it is sad, that it has taken the events of 2020 and a proposed formal regulation to make this a topic of discussion, at least it is a topic of open discussion. This time it is different and we’re seeing actual changes—from the rebranding of products, promotions of diverse employees, to a change of politics.

For your brand to be relevant and grow in 2021 and beyond, you will have to take a stand because consumers are choosing brands that reflect how they see themselves. Sterile brands will go by the wayside. Brands with passion, purpose and drive will lead the way.

Banner Image for Melanie Asher's INSIDE OUT project about corporate board diversity.

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