As gender diversity makes a strong push in the boardroom–largely supported by institutional investor voting actions–it can appear as if racial diversity is being left behind. Latinos are one such underrepresented segment. Despite 18% of the population being Hispanic or Latino, this segment holds less than 3% of Fortune 1000 company board seats.
In this episode, Esther Aguilera, President & CEO of the Latino Corporate Directors Association, discusses how her organization is working to increase both demand and supply for Latino talent in the boardroom. The business case, she explains, speaks for itself:
Latinos hold over $2 trillion in purchasing power…Companies, especially consumer-facing companies, recognize that. Latino consumers are driving growth in all mass-consumer categories. They’re being targeted as a customer, but [they’re] not being drawn into the boardroom.
Institutional investors continue to flag board composition and board diversity as important areas of focus. Last year, investors like State Street Global Advisors withheld votes or voted against directors on boards that had insufficient gender representation. Yet, as the AFL-CIO’s Brandon Rees explained on a recent panel, investors don’t feel like they have the necessary data on race/ethnicity to push for targets in a measurable way: “We’re not asking directors to take a DNA test… but that they self-identify and that it be aggregated as part of a board matrix.”
Efforts like the Latino Corporate Directors Association are welcomed by many boards and nominating & governance committees who see these diverse, untapped talent pools as key to long-term board and company strategy.