We can safely assume that people of color and women are losing ground in the for profit arena and stagnant in the nonprofit circles. The solution to this issue is for both non-profit and for profit leaders and Boards of Directors to be intentional in attracting, building and retaining talent in these underrepresented populations.
I believe that the talent exist, but it is not fully cultivated. If every executive took one woman or person of color, mentored and encouraged them to move up with the company or seek higher levels outside of the company – we would see gradual but significant improvement. We can accomplish this by doing three things:
1. Build Bench Strength –this can be done by providing mentoring and/or coaching, educational investment, and assigning special tasks to help the employee to grow their skills and knowledge.
2. If your organization lacks diversity – recruit it. Intentionally seek applicants via various affinity groups, such as the local or state Hispanic Alliance, the Urban League or the American Business Women’s Association.
3. Create a diverse succession plan – this succession plan would intentionally increase the diversity within the organization and allow for planned upward mobility.
These practices take time, often years, but more than that it takes the intentional commitment of leaders, staff and the board.