Illinois recently passed a law requiring companies to report the demographics of their executive team and outline how they promote diversity in the workplace, but does not impose fines for violators. As such, the law does little to guarantee women and minorities a seat at the table, which means that the burden of increasing board diversity falls on the individual company. Women and minorities should seek board positions because serving on a board can enhance professional skills and boost one’s business profile. Boards, meanwhile, benefit from diverse perspectives to inform their decision making. Women and minorities should take a strategic approach to identifying “best fit” boards. Being board-ready is similar to running a campaign or interviewing for a job. Compatible skills, financial acumen and a commitment to active board committee participation are important, as are networking and enhanced personal relationships.
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