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The diversity of business owners strengthens our nation as their unique perspectives are woven into their businesses, communities, and local and regional economies. However, our nation’s rich diversity still is not reflected in the leadership of companies that sell us products and services and ask us to invest. What a loss.
The Status Quo
Today in the United States, women make up 51 percent of the population. We are 13 percent African American, 18 percent Latino, and six percent Asian Pacific Islander. Yet, here it is 2018, and I am only the 10th woman ever elected to statewide office in California – the most ethnically diverse and most progressive state in the nation. The lack of diversity among our elected officials is woefully apparent. However, behind the doors of board rooms and C-suites across the country, corporations are failing to integrate diversity, and decisions are made without the range of perspectives that differing backgrounds bring.
According to McKinsey & Company, a staggering 45 percent of executive teams in the U.S. do not include one non-white member. Only about three percent of senior executive teams actually reflect the diverse make-up of our population. Fewer than one percent of Fortune 500 board directors are openly LGBT.
Equally disturbing is the divide between the way male and female directors view diversity. A PricewaterhouseCoopers report found that 80 percent of women agreed “very much” that diversity leads to more effective boards, compared to just 40 percent of men.