And the inaugural NACD NXT winners are the boards of Foot Locker, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Newmont Mining, and TrueBlue. The announcements were made tonight at the NACD NXT Recognition Gala prior to the opening of the 2018 NACD Global Board Leaders’ Summit at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. The awards program was hosted by NACD in collaboration with Deloitte.
“What if women and minorities had had a seat at the table 30 years ago?” Emily Chang, anchor of Bloomberg Technology and author of Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley, said in her opening remarks as emcee of the awards ceremony. She suggested that including women and people of color in leadership roles could have stoked greater innovation at technology companies, but from the perspective of the end user experience, made for more inclusive online environments. “It takes corporate leadership and it takes board members to have those conversation because if we don’t have those conversations, the voices of women and minorities will be left out.”
The winners were selected from a pool of 25 corporate boards that were nominated by NACD members and then vetted by the NACD NXT steering committee. Those boards were then evaluated by a highly esteemed panel of 12 judges: Irene Chang Britt, Martin M. Coyne II, the Hon. Cari M. Dominguez, Daniel R. Hesse, Reatha Clark King, Lester L. Lyles, Kathi P. Seifert, Sonya F. Sepahban, Suzanne M. Vautrinot, Keith C. Wetmore, and Paul S. Williams.
The judges made their decisions based on written statements submitted by each nominated board that articulated: how the board, defined, developed, demonstrated, and achieved diversity and inclusion through measured steps; how the board addressed board recruitment and long-term value creation through a thoughtful recruitment process and in the face of disruptive forces; and how the board achieved a result deemed extraordinary in the context of diversity and inclusion.
And now, a look at the winners and the qualities that established them as exemplars of diversity and inclusion practices.
- Newmont Mining Co. The large-cap gold and copper producer was chosen for its superior articulation of its values and the achievement of a wide-ranging diversity and inclusion program from the board level through its global corporate operation that includes metrics and goals for compensation, business resource groups, formal reporting and engagement, and an imaginative board “people policy”, all of which make it a standout in its industry. “This is what miners look like,” Newmont Mining Independent Chair Noreen Doyle said in her acceptance speech, joined on stage by two other women from the Newmont board. “Diversity is important from the top of the house to the face of the coal mine.”
- Foot Locker. The 100-year-old mid-cap specialty athletic retailer was chosen for its devotion to diversity and inclusion, which is clearly systemic and strategic for the board, management, and operations. Foot Locker reports in its proxy statement that it believes that diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, age, viewpoints and experiences is in the best interest of their company, shareholders, and other stakeholders—and a winning strategy against a backdrop of a disruptive retail environment. “I think we’re doing good things and we need to do more,” the FootLocker representative said in his acceptance remarks. “We have had female representation since 1974 and our first African American director joined us in 1981. Thank you all and we appreciate the recognition.”
- True Blue. This small-cap provider of specialized workforce solutions was chosen for having a truly broad definition of diversity and for leveraging cutting-edge tactics to intentionally diversify its work force with a goal of empowering workers, enabling the less advantaged worker and addressing disruption. True Blue’s efforts began at the board level, but extend to the C-suite and throughout every level of hiring. True Blue accomplished a total transformation and is, in the company’s own words, “healthier today because the board had the foresight and commitment to diversify.” A representative of the company made the following remarks in his acceptance speech: “TrueBlue has always been a champion of inclusion,” “Our board has made a real effort to reflect that diversity across our entire company.”
- Liberty Mutual Insurance. The private global insurer was chosen for its high-level understanding and long-term commitment to diversity, both of which make them a role model for companies seeking to leverage diversity and inclusion to compete in an industry beset with disruption. Liberty Mutual Insurance is an excellent example of a company in a highly regulated business sector that has the business results to demonstrate the value of diversity. “We sought a board to outpace our competitors and capture the broadest array of talent,” a representative of the company said in his acceptance remarks. “We accept this award celebrating our progress and understanding that there is still much left to do.”
The NACD NXT Recognition Gala served as the formal announcement and kick-off of NACD NXT, a multi-year initiative designed to equip board directors to better navigate the rapidly changing business environment and challenges of the future. In addition to an annual awards ceremony that recognizes boards that demonstrate leading practices on this front, this initiative will provide case studies and practical tools to help directors and boards lead with confidence, and help prepare the next generation of board leaders through scholarship and education.
“On behalf of NACD and our selection committee, I want to congratulate these standout boards for their vision and commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Peter R. Gleason, CEO and president of NACD. “Showcasing high-achieving and visionary boards is a key element in our effort to guide boards through a turbulent business environment to a successful future.”