Our Ethos

The Board Diversity Action Alliance believes that corporate diversity and board diversity go hand in hand – leadership starts at the top. There exists a growing body of research that supports that diversity of perspective makes for better decision making and drives better outcomes. To best serve all stakeholders, companies need to understand their employees’ communities and have a clear point of view. However, despite the years of focus on diversity, the pace of change has been glacial. If companies seek to achieve greater diversity, the work has to start with the board.

Our Mission

The Mission of the Board Diversity Action Alliance is to:

  • Increase diverse representation on corporate boards of directors in the U.S.
  • Increase the disclosure of the self-identified race and ethnicity of directors on corporate boards.
  • Promote accountability measures on corporate diversity, equity and inclusion.

Founding Partners

The Board Diversity Action Alliance is led by Ursula Burns, Gabrielle Sulzberger and its founding partners, The Ford Foundation, Teneo and The Executive Leadership Council

Founders

Ursula Burns
Ursula Burns
Former Chairman of the Board & CEO, Xerox Corporation
Current Board Director, Uber, Nestlé, ExxonMobil & Datto
Senior Advisor, Teneo

“We know that leadership starts at the top and presence makes an impact. If the outcome we seek is one where companies value the positive differences of the customers they serve and the communities where they operate, then we need to accelerate the drive for more inclusive representation on boards. This is the reason we formed the Board Diversity Action Alliance . . . to engage people and companies in positions of influence to be the change we want to see and push for more progress.”

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Gabrielle Sulzberger
Gabrielle Sulzberger
Former Chair of the Board, Whole Foods
Current Board Director, Mastercard & Brixmor Property Group
Co-founder & General Partner, Fontis Partners

“Ultimately, we believe diversity of background, perspective and experience make for more robust decision making and resilient organizations overall and is therefore in the best interest of all of our employees, customers, and importantly, our stockholders.  This must have its foundations at the very top of the organization and is why Board Diversity Action Alliance is so focused on the diversity of corporate boards.”

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Darren Walker
Darren Walker
President
Ford Foundation

“The mission of the Ford Foundation is addressing poverty, inequality and injustice. We know that to drive more inclusive capitalism for the benefit of all stakeholders, we must address the unbalanced structural incentives that are distorting our economy. This work starts with the board of directors. Foundations, like Ford, must continue to do more and the Board Diversity Action Alliance brings together the right voices to advance this pressing work.”

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Crystal Ashby
Crystal Ashby
Interim President & CEO
The Executive Leadership Council

“It is not an option, but a business imperative, to have Black men and women directors on today’s corporate boards. Increased board diversity as a priority enhances corporate reputation, helps improve company performance and positively impacts board performance. It also sends a strong message to the employee population of a company’s authentic commitment to diversity as demonstrated by the intentional action of leadership.”

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Tonie Leatherberry
Tonie Leatherberry
Board Chair
Executive Leadership Council

“The ELC’s north star is to increase the number of Black executives on corporate boards. As corporate leaders, we have witnessed how board diversity broadens the ability of companies to more effectively meet the market due to an expanded understanding of differing demographics. Without a diverse board, companies risk missing out on diverse ideas that come with a diverse leadership.”

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Declan Kelly
Declan Kelly
Chairman & CEO
Teneo

“Board diversity and especially increasing the number of Black executives on boards is a critical issue for CEOs and corporate directors. Teneo is proud to be involved in driving this important diversity initiative and we will continue to dedicate the resources of our firm to help ensure its success.”

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