Building Inclusive and Diverse Non-Profi Boards with Ronnie Haggerty and Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew

January 5, 2021
Sonia Gossai

There are many challenges in achieving inclusion and diversity on boards. Many non-profit boards struggle with putting together a balanced board of diverse voices, including younger board members. Ronnie Haggerty, Vice President of Community Relations for The United Way at Greater Houston, and Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew, Vice President of Community Affairs for the Strategic Alliances at the State Fair of Texas, joined Weaver’s Alyssa Martin on the show to discuss these issues and provide insights and tips for boards looking to create inclusive and diverse boards that can lead non-profits to success.

“The reality is in today’s world boards simply are not diverse,” Haggerty said in a sobering statement. “We have an aging, white, board representation in communities like Houston, which is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. Only 35% of board members report that their board composition represents the demographics of the populations they serve. And only a quarter of those boards place a high priority on diversifying those organizations.”

There’s a lot of work to do to make these non-profit boards relevant in today’s world. Dr. Booker-Drew took the issue an additional step further. “When you look at diversity, not only from a board perspective but senior leadership and sometimes even staffing in our non-profit organizations, there is a problem. Many of our non-profits, particularly those led by people of color diversity, are important in those organizations because there are networks they typically don’t have access to. It’s also important to pay attention to the role of age and even ideology. Sometimes we tend to get people who think like we do. The challenge in that is we have blind spots.” It is critical to bring in people with different viewpoints, different geographies, and different ages, in addition to color diversity, to create a well-balanced board.

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