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About the Collaboration

This resource was developed by the Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab and the California Partners Project, with an aim to empower change agents with research-based approaches to advance diverse women’s leadership. We bring together leading experts and people in the field to capture the best ideas for those seeking to diversify their boards. We are:

  • The VMware Women's Leadership Innovation Lab at Stanford University is an impact lab pioneering research to advance women’s leadership. The Lab generates foundational research to advance women's leadership by diagnosing barriers, developing and evaluating interventions to get beyond barriers, and disseminates research-based solutions by bridging the gap between research and practice.
  • The California Partners Project, co-founded by California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Olivia Morgan, is a champion for gender equity within the business sector and promotes the mental, behavioral, and physical well-being of California’s children.  

Who Should Use This Board Diversity Playbook?

The Playbook will be a useful resource for any CEOs, investors, board members, and board nominating committees recruiting new directors to their board - especially those that do not have the resources to hire experts to run the search process. Organizations and educators who work with boards on governance, effectiveness and oversight will also find the community-sourced strategies and tactical advice valuable for their work.

How To Use This Resource

There are four main portions of this resource, each full of information for you to use at your discretion throughout the process of assessing, growing, diversifying, and sustaining your corporate board. Each page includes practical tools for you to employ, tactical suggestions from those who have done the work in their organizations, and insights linking you to further resources and readings to support and expand awareness to set your board up for success. 

Diversity on Boards Definitions

We aim to support boards to diversify and strengthen their membership. Our focus is advancing women on corporate boards. We broadly define the word woman: we include women across multiple dimensions, including race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, and age. We include:

  • People who are gender non-conforming.
  • Transgender women.
  • Anybody who identifies as a woman.

We aim to be as inclusive as possible so that we can see and include remarkable talent across multiple intersections and dimensions of identity. 

We use the terminology underrepresented in reference to the representation on boards themselves and historically marginalized when it comes to identities which have been systematically and systemically oppressed in society. These terms can include - but are not limited to - the identity groups listed above. By focusing on those who have been missing from board service, we aim to help boards maximize their effectiveness.

To find out more or get involved, contact