4 Steps for Inclusive Governance and Board Meetings


Foundation: Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund

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There are more diverse corporate boards than ever before, with the percentage of women and people of color on corporate boards increasing by 50% between 2019 and 2021, but how do boards in the social sector handle the challenge of inclusive governance once they become more community-anchored? A new SSIR report suggests four steps foundation, board, and sector leaders can take to make their meetings more inclusive and bring out the best insights from their new members.

The first step is to "break down and applying ideas for inclusive governance into concrete questions and tactics," the report says.

The second step is to "design agendas to create generative interactions rather than stand-and-deliver presentations."

The third step is to "dispensing with pure information relay through pre-reads and preparatory calls."

The fourth step is to "work through dissention as counter-insights arose from diverse experience."

The Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund, for example, started with a "big why" conversation: "How is inclusion of all board members critical to achieving our mission and successful initiatives?" They asked questions such as: "How do our current agenda and board processes create barriers to participation for some board members?" and "What risks do our initiatives or organizations face if we fail to include all perspectives in

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