ALEXANDRIA, Va. – SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management), a global trade association supporting HR and business executive members, together with the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the authority on boardroom practices representing more than 23,000 board members, and Vista Equity Partners (Vista), a leading global investment firm focused exclusively on enterprise software, data and technology-enabled businesses, today announced the launch of a new program to increase diversity among directors serving on the compensation and nomination committees of private and public company boards.
"Now more than ever, companies are beginning to realize that it is critical that we have representation from HR around the board table. Diversity across perspectives and backgrounds as a strategic imperative is a necessity in the boardroom and gives companies a distinct competitive advantage," said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, SHRM president and chief executive officer and external board member at iCIMS, a Vista Equity Partners portfolio company. "It's a privilege to partner with NACD and Vista on this new pipeline program that will empower the talented but underrepresented individuals in our business community from diverse backgrounds and create expanded opportunity for the company boards on which they serve."
The program announced today provides individuals from underrepresented backgrounds with access to 12 months of detailed curriculum tailored to preparation for board service on compensation, nomination, and governance committees, with a focus on general business, human resources and committee readiness. SHRM will lead the program in identifying and sourcing high-performing, diverse executives. Vista and NACD will partner to equip the cohort with a deep understanding of the responsibilities associated with effectively fulfilling a board role and ensure exposure to corporate board opportunities through their broader ecosystems.
"Paramount to Vista's DE&I [diversity, equity and inclusion] efforts is building a diverse pipeline of talent within the Firm, our portfolio, and the business community at large," said Bessie Watts, Director of Vista's External Board of Directors Program. "By working with SHRM and NACD to establish this new program, we are helping to create a diverse pipeline of talent for board oversight roles, which, alongside our other programs and initiatives, will ensure diverse backgrounds and perspectives are represented at all levels of an organization."
These new efforts build upon a program established last year by Vista and NACD that seeks to increase diversity among professionals who wish to serve on the audit committees of private and public company boards. The first cohort in this program—announced in November 2021—is in the process of completing its curriculum, and its members are working toward earning NACD Directorship Certification® credentials.
"NACD has been at the forefront of building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive boardroom, and we are excited to continue this work through our partnership with SHRM and Vista," said Peter Gleason, NACD president and CEO. "With the new program, we will offer executives from a diverse set of backgrounds access to our premier director education, including the opportunity to earn their NACD Directorship Certification® credential, continuing education sessions, extensive networking opportunities, and access to NACD's leading governance research and resources."
Despite the record number of new directors from historically underrepresented groups during the 2021 proxy year, the overall representation of some demographic groups on S&P 500 boards trailed their representation in the U.S. population (42 percent). Even with the progress made that year, people of color made up only 21 percent of all S&P 500 directors; just 49 S&P 500 companies (10 percent) were led by Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino/a, Asian, American Indian/Native Alaskan or multiracial CEOs; and 8 percent of independent board chairs and 10 percent of lead independent board directors were from historically underrepresented ethnic or racial groups. (Source: U.S. Spencer Stuart Board Index 2021 Highlights, p. 3.).
SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. More than 95% of Fortune 500 companies rely on SHRM to be their go-to resource for all things work and their business partner in creating next-generation workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at SHRM.org and on Twitter @SHRM.
For more than 40 years, NACD has been on the leading edge of corporate governance, setting standards of excellence that have elevated board performance. NACD arms today's directors with insights and education that drive their mission forward, while preparing a new generation of boardroom leaders to meet tomorrow's biggest challenges. NACD is a community of more than 23,000 directors driven by a common purpose: to be trusted catalysts of economic opportunity and positive change—in businesses and in the communities they serve. To learn more about NACD, visit nacdonline.org.
About Vista Equity Partners
Vista is a leading global investment firm with $96 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2022. The firm exclusively invests in enterprise software, data and technology-enabled organizations across private equity, permanent capital, credit, and public equity strategies, bringing an approach that prioritizes creating enduring market value for the benefit of its global ecosystem of investors, companies, customers and employees. Vista's investments are anchored by a sizable long-term capital base, experience in structuring technology-oriented transactions and proven, flexible management techniques that drive sustainable growth. Vista believes the transformative power of technology is the key to an even better future – a healthier planet, a smarter economy, a diverse and inclusive community and a broader path to prosperity. Further information is available at vistaequitypartners.com. Follow Vista on LinkedIn, @Vista Equity Partners, and on Twitter, @Vista_Equity.
Vista Equity Partners
Brian W. Steel