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Leadership and Representation Promising Practices

Leadership and Representation, for the purposes of this playbook, includes ensuring diverse representation in our businesses at all levels that is propelled by inviting diverse perspectives to every conversation and every table.

1. Increasing diversity of Board of Directors or Commission

  • Conduct a self-assessment of the Board’s strategy in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Discuss, understand and acknowledge its own culture and values.

  • Take a critical look at the Board makeup and identify gaps that exist in representation.

  • Send out a simple survey to Board members asking them to share key demographic information about themselves.

  • Compile information in a matrix (link to matrix example) and compare to demographic data in the community to ensure that the Board makeup is representative of the community.


  • Find and recruit diverse Board members who complement the culture. Consider the composition of the Board to strategically reflect the community you are located in, the clients you serve, or the makeup of your staff and commit to making adjustments accordingly.

  • Reach consensus among the Board regarding the expectations it has for the Board nominee and what the candidate must bring to the Board.

  • Develop pathways for the Board to tap into new, diverse networks of qualified candidates. Focus on the numerous diversity focused organizations.

  • Encourage current Board and search committee members to network within the diverse community to attract diverse candidates.


  • Write equitable representation in your Board into the organization’s bylaws or strategic plans.

  • Create a forum where your Board gets feedback from diverse staff or community leaders to help inform their decision-making.

  • Consider hosting these opportunities routinely to build rapport between leadership and diverse populations.

  • Maintain communication with the feedback group sharing how their feedback is being implemented.


Discovering: Starting journey and creating equity pathways


Exploring: Perfecting the elements and moving the equity needle


Leading: Meeting metrics and scaling equity best practices

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