On December 1st, 2020, Nasdaq filed a proposal with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to “adopt new listing rules related to board diversity and disclosure. If approved by the SEC, the new listing rules would require all companies listed on Nasdaq’s U.S. exchange to publicly disclose consistent, transparent diversity statistics regarding their board of directors. Additionally, the rules would require most Nasdaq-listed companies to have, or explain why they do not have, at least two diverse directors, including one who self-identifies as female and one who self-identifies as either an underrepresented minority1 or LGBTQ+. Foreign companies and smaller reporting companies would have additional flexibility in satisfying this requirement with two female directors.” This proposal captured the zeitgeist of early December’s financial headlines, and with good reason.
Two days later, during our Silverline Capital Markets Innovation Summit, we were thrilled to host Kaley Karaffa, Senior Director of Board Engagement from Nasdaq and Equilar’s VP of Strategic Initiatives, Belen Gomez for a lively discussion about the SEC proposal and the announcement about their partnership to power pragmatic change in the executive and board search process through the Equilar Diversity Network.
The two women experts shared insights about why they thought proposal is so important, and how public and private companies of all shapes and sizes can address diversity through data-driven methods. Here’s the full conversation, on demand.
Curious about Silverline’s relationship with Equilar, how we got started and why it’s so important now in light of this news with Nasdaq? Here’s a little bit about our history together!
Equilar is the silver lining of diversity data
At the beginning of 2020 in pre-pandemic days, I had the pleasure of meeting Equilar CEO David Chun for breakfast near our office in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. In retrospect, I feel a not-insignificant amount of nostalgia for morning jam sessions such as this — they are always a fantastic way to connect and share big ideas with colleagues and partners. Over this particular meal, though, I knew I’d met a very special founder and CEO. David’s unmatched enthusiasm, humility, and sense of humor was infectious. I was immediately compelled by his company’s mission: to drive corporate governance change through data. Where do I sign up to help out?
Over the past year, it’s been a delight working with David and his team at Equilar. We helped advise on the launch of their incredible ExecAtlas product on the Salesforce AppExchange, hosted a CEO panel on how Enterprise Relationship Management drives high performing cultures, published a best practice guide for Financial Services, and formally launched our partnership in fall of last year.
Driving diversity in corporate governance
For me, working with Equilar has felt in large part like a master class in learning about what the next generation of impact reporting will look like, and figuring out how to put that data into action with the power of the Salesforce platform. It’s also been a joy to meet the leaders on his team like Belen, who are developing these incredible partnerships with firms like Nasdaq. I am convinced that the data Equilar harnesses about relationships and compensation, board composition and voting, and their commitment to the Equilar Diversity Network will change the landscape of executive and board recruiting forever. And it’s not just about diversity for diversity’s sake, it’s about growth, performance, and impact.
In August of last year, California lawmakers sent a bill to the governor that would require public companies to have at least one board member from an underrepresented community by the end of 2021. According to a McKinsey & Company report, companies with diverse boards are 43% more likely to achieve financial performance above the median average.
But as the world faces unprecedented disruption and a secondary pandemic of women leaving the workforce at serious personal financial cost, Corporate America is under more pressure than ever to address the need for diversity, particularly at the executive and board level. Our nation is in the midst of a social movement focused on racial equality, and executives must keep pace with developments in equality or they may face potential backlash.
The technology takeaways
I was delighted to host this conversation about demand for data in such an important and newsworthy cycle during the Innovation Summit. Personally, it was one of the highlights of my career. I’m so inspired to be in the same orbit as these incredible individuals driving change and forward progress. But how can we put these concepts to action through technology?
At Silverline, through our partnership with Equilar, we can get your firm’s Salesforce environments integrated with Equilar’s powerful datasets and implement their AppExchange app for your teams. Our Enterprise Relationship Management offering will help you analyze your client and relationship data, evaluate and align your data architecture, and set up the right security and data governance necessary to unlock the power of Equilar data.
The data revolution is unfolding with changes seen in every business sector. By combining the practical value of a CRM with the relationship, diversity & market data insights of Equilar, we help our clients map the relationships they have, uncover new relationships that will drive business development, and provide tools to help power the next – more diverse – generation of corporate governance.
Want to get started? We’re here to help!