Black Women on Boards (BWOB) is a new global organization that took notice of the significant gap of Black female executives that are missing from board positions and has taken action since then. Founded in 2020, the organization’s efforts have created more visibility for the underrepresented group — 16 Black women on private, public, and advisory boards to date.
Now, to bring more Black women aboard and empower them in becoming today’s successful leaders, BWOB has announced a new cohort-based board accelerator program for its members with the support of founding partnerships with DCVC, Diligent, Felicis Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, and Sapphire Ventures, according to a press release. The mission behind the program is to place 100 percent of the cohort in board roles by the end of 2022.
“The most recent reports show that Black women account for just 4 percent of S&P 500 board seats,” said Robin Washington, co-founder of BWOB, and a board member of Google’s parent Alphabet, of Honeywell, and of Salesforce, respectively. “We know there’s an opportunity to increase this number on public boards, and to go even further to include opportunities on private boards as well.”
The ultimate goal is for Black women to take space in public and private board seats, and for the cohort executives to be led on track, they will receive mentorship from founding partners. The mentees will also be given exclusive access to CEOs from each venture firm’s portfolio companies, the press release shares.
The Accelerator Program
“I’m thrilled that we have a deep talent pool of Black women executives who are board ready and who have the expertise to truly help companies achieve better business results in an increasingly complex world. I’m grateful for our sponsors and partners, who are committed to ensuring the success of this program,” said Merline Saintil, co-founder of BWOB, and a board member of several public corporate boards including, GitLab, Rocket Lab, and Fortune 500 company, TD SYNNEX.
The organization’s upcoming NFT release is in collaboration with Elise Swopes, who’s artwork will commemorate the accelerator program’s launch, according to information shared with AfroTech. The auction starts on Feb. 10 and purchasing the NFT comes with access to specific BWOB events and exclusive opportunities.
The Brooklyn-based artist shook up the digital space after making over $200,000 from selling her NFTs — in just about ten months — which turned into a bigger door of new opportunities for the 32-year-old, as previously reported by AfroTech.
Swopes has vocalized the lack of representation of those that look like her within the NFT community, and her upcoming drop will exemplify that there’s no limits to what Black women can create when they’re given the opportunity to bring their ideas to life. Her work will be displayed on the NASDAQ Tower during BWOB’s kick-off event on Feb. 8.
BWOB's Launch Event
On Feb. 8, BWOB will be hosting a launch event in New York City to kick off the 2022 Board Accelerator Program and to introduce its inaugural board accelerator cohort. To further bring in the celebratory moment, the organization will ring the opening bell at NASDAQ in celebration of Patricia Roberts Harris, the first Black woman to serve on the board of directors in 1971 at IBM, a Fortune 500 company.