NACD Launches Effort to Promote Inclusive Governance


Press Releases

Two-Thirds of Directors Surveyed Report Barriers to Inclusivity

  • NACD will bring together experts, tools, and resources to help boards create an environment in which all voices are heard and valued.

  • The Center will harness the expertise of leading diversity and inclusion experts and will convene diversity organizations.

WASHINGTON, DC (September 21, 2021)— The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the authority on boardroom practices representing more than 22,000 board members, today announced the launch of the NACD Center for Inclusive Governance (the Center). The Center directly addresses the need for boards not only to diversify, but also to ensure that those new and diverse voices on boards are heard. Further, the Center is designed to make certain that boards have the know-how and measurement tools they will need to ensure that those new perspectives and ideas are incorporated into the problem-solving and strategic thinking that form an integral part of board governance.

A recent survey from Deloitte indicates that the percentage of women and minorities on Fortune 500 boards has increased by almost 50 percent—from 25.5 percent in 2010 to 38.3 percent in 2020. But preliminary results from the forthcoming NACD 2021 American Board Practices and Oversight Report indicate that two-thirds of directors cite barriers to inclusion. Specifically, survey respondents pointed to a lack of prioritization (among other board issues), as well as board dynamics, as impediments to inclusivity in the boardroom.

The Center will address those barriers by presenting the latest expertise from renowned inclusion experts, by bringing diversity organizations together to work collectively, and by providing the top-notch research, guidance, and tools for which NACD is known.

The Honorable Cari Dominguez, NACD board member and former chair of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, will guide the Center. Dominguez has a background in employment law, talent management, human resources, executive search, financial services, and corporate governance. She will guide a growing and distinguished list of advisors, including these:

  • The Honorable Luis A. Aguilar, Former Commissioner, US Securities and Exchange Commission

  • Esther Aguilera, President and CEO, the Latino Corporate Directors Association

  • Dr. Rohini Anand, Founder and CEO, Rohini Anand LLC; Former SVP Corporate Responsibility and Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo

  • Lori George Billingsley, Global Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, The Coca-Cola Company

  • Emily Chew, Executive Vice President and Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Calvert Research and Management

  • Jeannie H. Diefenderfer, CEO, the Center for Higher Ambition Leadership

  • Tracy Gee, Chief People Officer, NACD

  • Fabrice Houdart, Managing Director, Global Equality Initiatives, Out Leadership

  • Michael C. Hyter, President and CEO of the Executive Leadership Council

  • General Lester A. Lyles, US Air Force (Ret.); Independent Consultant; Former Vice Chief of Staff, US Air Force

  • Katie Rowen, SVP, General Counsel, and Interim CHRO for Vontier Corporation; President and Director of the Vontier Foundation

  • Lisa Spivey, Executive Director, NACD Northern California Chapter

  • Joseph R. Swedish, Past Chair, President, and CEO of Anthem; Director, IBM, CDW, MesoBlast, and Centrexion

"I have devoted my career spanning the public and private sectors to advocating and advancing diversity and inclusion," said the Honorable Cari Dominguez, NACD board member. "I am proud to chair the NACD Center for Inclusive Governance because it will advance actionable strategies for diversity and inclusion, working with boards to create an environment in which the contributions of all members and stakeholders are welcomed and valued, which will lead to better, stronger governance results."

The Center will benefit from a rich collaboration among a growing number of diversity organizations, such as Ascend Pinnacle, C200, Out Leadership, the Executive Leadership Council, the Latino Corporate Directors Association, and the US Chamber of Commerce, who will partner with NACD to share the lessons learned by their individual organizations.

"The Center for Inclusive Governance at NACD will leverage our deep expertise and capabilities in advancing thought leadership and fostering leading practices and exchange, as well as provide boards with the guidance and tools they need to evaluate their own level of inclusivity," said Peter R. Gleason, president and CEO, NACD. "And, importantly, it will unite partners and allies who champion diversity in their individual organizations to work collectively to benefit the governance community."

To learn more about the NACD Center for Inclusive Governance, click here.

About NACD
For more than 40 years, NACD has been on the leading edge of corporate governance, setting standards of excellence that have elevated board performance. NACD arms today’s directors with insights and education that drive their mission forward, while preparing a new generation of boardroom leaders to meet tomorrow’s biggest challenges. NACD is a community of more than 22,000 directors driven by a common purpose: to be trusted catalysts of economic opportunity and positive change—in businesses and in the communities they serve. To learn more about NACD, visit

Press Contacts
Susan Oliver