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Boardroom diversity and the impact of mentoring

Contributing to greater diversity and representation in corporate governance and leadership is crucial, and yet despite some level of success, Board-level roles are still dominated by middle-aged men. According to research by FTSE Women Leaders, over one-third of all leadership roles in FTSE 350 companies are female, and businesses are being urged to double down on their efforts to reach the 40% target by the end of 2025.  Only 7.5% of Board-level roles in the FTSE350 are held by people of colour and there is no data at all on neuro-diverse numbers, say Diversity UK.

There is myriad research to show that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are essential for business success and should therefore be part of board-level conversations. Organisations that invest in diversity are better able to attract and retain top talent, encourage greater innovation and increase competitive advantage. The McKinsey Diversity Report states that:

'In the United Kingdom, greater gender diversity on the senior-executive team corresponded to the highest performance uplift in our data set: for every 10 percent increase in gender diversity, EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) rose by 3.5 percent’.

DE&I can play a key role in shaping the perceptions of stakeholders positively, fostering trust, credibility and strengthening long term relationships. But with more scrutiny than ever from customers and investors, what does it take to really shift the dial for high performers from diverse backgrounds looking to advance to Board-level?

An experienced business mentor with insight and in-depth knowledge of DE&I can be a game changer. Here are five ways mentoring can help diverse leaders achieve Board-level roles: 


Understanding your strengths: helping you to surface and understand your own strengths, motivations and capabilities and those of others, revealing the sources of individual, team and organisational energy can be key to developing the strategic thinking, decision making and problem-solving skills essential for effective board governance and leadership. 

Building confidence: providing support to enable you to develop the confidence and assertiveness required to navigate boardroom dynamics, organisational politics, and advocate for yourself in discussion and decision making. 

Access to knowledge and networks: A mentor who has board experience can provide wisdom and insight into the intricacies of these roles, including the expertise necessary for success, introducing you to influential leaders, board members and industry experts who can expand your professional networks and open doors to board-level opportunities. 

Overcoming barriers: Helping you to recognise and address unconscious bias and stereotypes can empower, challenge and help overcome barriers to successful progress towards board level roles.

Preparing for board interviews and selection processes: Providing guidance and support throughout the board selection process, helping prepare you for interviews, articulate your value proposition using the right language and position you as a strong candidate. 


‘My mentoring program has given me so much more than I imagined. I feel re-energised; I have a more confident voice and my perspective matters, so I can add value, see a clear way ahead and help others understand how to do the same’


Diversity in board level roles extends beyond social responsibility; it encompasses and reflects cultural nuance and understanding, consumer preference and market segment insight, encouraging innovation and enabling more effective growth strategies. A diverse board not only enhances sustainability and profitability but also provides competitive advantage, making it crucial for organisations seeking long-term viability and robust relevance in today's fast-moving, dynamic and interconnected global economy.

Image by MomentousPhotoVideo


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