Our Research

A national leader in qualitative board diversity research

“When we conducted our first study, boards were still asking why – why women, why diversity? Now they are asking how – how do we find and welcome talented and diverse candidates? How do we foster a more inclusive culture and benefit from the more robust discussions that diversity brings?

Our new study is designed to answer those questions and more.”

Cate Goethals, Founder

The Better Boards Gender and Racial Diversity Study: From Why to How

Uncovering the “how” of gender and racial diversity in the boardroom

Our large-scale qualitative research brings together 100 thought leaders on boardroom diversity – half men, half women, 40 percent from an under-represented group, in line with the U.S. Census. All sit on at least two diverse boards and share what they have learned in personal interviews – how these lessons have improved their boards and expanded the breadth of their influence. Interviews uncover best practices on recruitment, onboarding, inclusion, board culture, board leadership, and the impact of changing board composition on governance and relationships with key stakeholder groups.

BBI will translate their wisdom into frameworks and tools that will benefit full boards, organizations, and new and aspiring directors.

Our initial research findings will be released in Q1’22.

Previous Better Boards Research

The Better Boards Women in the Boardroom Study, examined the “why” of gender diversity

Since statistical public company research repeatedly demonstrates that boards with women on them are associated with better business results, Better Boards set out to find what this looked like in the eyes of more than 100 sitting directors.

Key Findings about Women Directors

  • asked more and different questions
  • focused more on people
  • were more likely to see past the quick big win to longer-term implications
  • prepared more thoroughly for meetings
  • were more concerned with ethics and conflicts of interest
  • were less emotional

Outcomes and Impact

The first Better Boards project study touched off multiple initiatives, including the first dedicated women board director development program in the country at the University of Washington Foster School of Business. This program is now much imitated with great success in leadership development and placement of women directors, resulting in the graduation of over 350 women, with dozens placed on boards.

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Better Boards Initiative research is funded thanks to generous support from donors, corporate sponsors and partners.

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