Increasing Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards

By Jailene Adorno

All images courtesy of theBoardlist


When Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, multi-time Silicon Valley CEO, first heard stories about companies wanting more women on corporate boards, but not being able to find any, she became frustrated—it just wasn’t the truth. She decided to create a solution and in 2015, Cassidy founded theBoardlist.

“We’re an organization dedicated to increasing the number of women on corporate boards,” says Lesley Grossblatt, COO and VP of Product at theBoardlist. “We identify qualified women and make them visible and accessible to companies.”

This organization works as a tech platform in which men and women can nominate women for positions on corporate boards. The nomination process is what truly sets theBoardlist apart from other organizations. There are three different kinds of ways to become part of theBoardlist community—as an endorser, a candidate, or a searcher.

Endorsers are the ones who nominate the great female talent. Some are invited by theBoardlist to be endorsers and others apply. To join theBoardlist community, endorsers must have board experience, and either a C-suite executive title or be a Venture Capital investor.

“Once they are accepted into theBoardlist, they can nominate board-ready women,” says Grossblatt. “[The endorsers] tell us who she is and what stage company board she would be best suited for. Endorsing members are contributing their knowledge to the rest of the[Boardlist] community.” 


Candidates are often the founders, CEOs, and other C-suite executives of their respective companies. The searchers are the people who are searching for qualified women to diversify their boardrooms.

theBoardlist community is well connected and engaged—often giving each other the inside scoop on women who would make excellent board members. Grossblatt quoted Apple’s Tim Cook when she explained that being the CEO of a company is a lonely job. However, theBoardlist’s community allows members to connect and share their experiences with other CEOs—it creates a network of true peers.

“Organizations perform so much better when there are different experiences,” says Grossblatt, about the importance of gender diversity in boardrooms. “If you’re not representing the fifty percent, you’re missing out on something.”

In addition to the tech platform, theBoardlist holds several events throughout the year with the support of their corporate sponsors. They have different events for different audiences that focus on the theme of boards. Some events focus on the importance of having diverse corporate boards and others discuss what actions can be taken to build stronger ones. They also have events that gather young women who are interested in joining a board sometime in the future. 

Do you know someone who would make an excellent endorser? Or perhaps a talented candidate who would make a wonderful addition to a corporate boardroom? theBoardlist could help in sharing that wealth of information and identifying who would be a great fit!