At BoardSource, we believe deeply in the urgent need for board-level change that enables us — as individual nonprofits and as a social sector as a whole — to serve our communities and address social challenges with relevance, respect, and authenticity. And we believe that the persistent and pervasive lack of racial and ethnic diversity at the board level presents a very real threat to our credibility and effectiveness as a social sector.
This belief flows from our values. But we also understand that for those values to mean something — for them to translate into real action and change — we need to put resources behind them. With that in mind, I want to share with you just one of the ways that BoardSource is investing more deeply in our leadership on diversity, inclusion, and equity (DI&E).
We are building a new staff team that will enable us to align our educational strategy with our DI&E strategy. Principally focused on sparking and supporting widespread change as it relates to board diversity and the board’s leadership on equity, this team will work in close partnership with me and the board on leveraging our platform to create important change at the board level.
Leading this team will be Jim Taylor, who will join BoardSource as our vice president of leadership initiatives and education in December. Jim and his team will work to embed a DI&E lens throughout all of BoardSource’s educational offerings, ensuring that all of the tools and resources that we provide to boards are “connecting the dots” around board diversity and inclusion and are reinforcing the ways in which boards can provide leadership on equity. An important piece of this will be building practical and meaningful entry points to board-level reflection on DI&E — even when it may not be on a board’s short list of priorities.
As a leader, Jim brings tremendous experience and expertise in advancing DI&E, both professionally and in his own nonprofit board service. A true cross-sector leader, he has held leadership posts with AARP, Capital One, Fannie Mae, and — most recently — a key leadership post in Fairfax County (VA) government. In each, his work has been focused on addressing systemic inequities and advancing diversity and inclusion — whether in housing, the health and wealth of seniors, or across an entire community.
While the announcement of Jim’s leadership position marks the end of a thoughtful search, in every other way it is a beginning. It is the beginning of a new partnership between Jim, me, and our entire board and staff leadership team. It is the beginning of deeper and more significant investments from BoardSource in this work both externally and internally. And it is the beginning of a long-term, sustained commitment to putting organizational muscle behind our firm belief that the lack of board-level diversity in the social sector is not just unfortunate, it’s unacceptable.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Jim as we work to engage leaders and organizations in a way that inspires and enables change. And I am excited to hear from leaders like you to better understand how we can support your board’s change efforts.