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May 22, 2023

Board Diversity Delivers Results for Startups

board meeting

Editor’s Note: The following is a transcript from the Norwest Nowcast above where Norwest Talent Principal Kris Snodgrass shares examples of the stellar business outcomes that Norwest portfolio companies have realized from bringing underrepresented executives onto their boards and advisories.

Hi, this is Kris Snodgrass with a Norwest Nowcast about the real business results that our portfolio companies have realized from having diverse boards and advisories. I’m a big believer that diversity drives not only better outcomes, but also breeds innovation. Our portfolio companies that have brought underrepresented leaders onto their bench of advisors and boards are seeing evidence to bear out that belief.

I’d like to take a minute to acknowledge and celebrate just a few talented executives who are adding tremendous value as board members and advisors.

Headshot of Benefit Cosmetics CMO Stephanie Davis MichelmanFirst up, Stephanie Davis Michelman. She’s CMO at Benefit Cosmetics and serves on the board of series C omni-channel hair color brand, Madison Reed.

Amy Errett, our CEO at Madison Reed, attests that Stephanie brought tons of market intel in the beauty industry around retail strategy and provided valuable product feedback. As an African-American woman, Stephanie’s input was particularly impactful on how Madison Reed can improve not only their overall experience but also their product for women of color.

According to Amy, Stephanie has also met with their CMO and their CPO several times to provide marketing guidance and will be weighing in on their diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts.

Headshot of Invitation Homes COO Charles YoungNext up, Charles Young, COO at Invitation Homes. As an advisor to the founders at ADU-construction startup, Abodu, Charles provides leadership and company-building support to the executive team, leveraging his highly relevant industry experience.

Charles guided Abodu on its approach to entering new geographic markets at a high strategic level, all the way down to the nuances of operating in the East Coast versus West Coast metros and how to overcome those challenges.

Charles also helped vet Abodu’s org restructure by exploring the pros and cons of various models they were considering, which was incredibly helpful to the first time founders who brought on Charles at the series A.

Headshot of Jennifer Ceran, Former CFO at SmartSheetsThird, Jennifer Ceran joined the board at smart camera and home products startup, Wyze, at their Series B. Jenny is the former CFO of SmartSheets who took them through their IPO, so she’s added incredible value with her guidance around financial discipline. And she also helped recruit key hires, including women executive roles, to add more diversity to the company’s leadership.

I can share many more examples but suffice it to say that diversity yields results. So don’t wait until your company’s in later stages to add diversity to your board or advisor set.

Let’s move the conversation forward by discussing results. What business outcomes have you been seeing from underrepresented executives serving on boards and advisories? Let me know in the comments.

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