Accelerating Diversity in Boardrooms

By Giving List Women   |   May 20, 2024
Him For Her celebrating the milestone of 100 new voices in the boardroom by ringing the Nasdaq Closing Bell during Women’s History Month. (photo: Nasdaq)

The idea for Him For Her began in 2016 when Jocelyn Mangan, founder and CEO, got a fellowship at the Aspen Institute that tasked fellows to start a venture they believed would change the world. “I decided the boardroom was where I wanted to focus, because I knew if you want to change the world, you have to start at the top,” says Mangan. “The average person should care about the boardroom because the board sits above the CEO and makes decisions about the products and services we use every day,” adds Mangan. “The last bite of food you took is tied to a corporation who is influencing how it is made and gets to you, or how safe our cars are, or what medicines are available to us.”

Change Starts at the Top

Mangan established Him For Her as a social impact organization aiming to connect women leaders with board opportunities and to accelerate boardroom diversity not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s good for business and society at large. Women are 51% of the population, yet 91% of executive board seats are held by men. Dozens of studies and decades of research show that diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams and are likely to make smarter decisions. 

“Companies will have better business results if their board represents the audience they’re selling to,” says Mangan. “There are also ties between having women involved in decision making and improving climate change.”

The Myth of the “Pipeline Problem”

During her fellowship research, Mangan interviewed about 100 CEOs and board members, all of whom happened to be men because men continue to hold the majority of CEO and board positions.

“They all said, ‘I would love to see it change, but I don’t know how. How can I help?’” says Mangan. “Then I asked, ‘Where did you find your last board member?’ And I got 100 versions of a personal network story – private dinners, golf games, ski weekends, hunting trips. That was when I realized that it wasn’t a pipeline issue; it was a network problem. We just needed to find authentic ways to get new people in these small, trusted networks where board members are found. That’s how we started.”

Today, with more than 7,000 board-qualified women in its network, Him For Her is illuminating that the lack of representation of women on boards is not a pipeline problem, but a network problem. The nonprofit hosts roundtable discussions to expand networks for current and aspiring board members, makes introductions to connect companies with board-ready women, and tracks progress of private-company boards. To date, Him For Her has been directly responsible for more than 100 board appointments. 

“There are enough talented people for every open board seat, but the work is hard because it’s systemic and takes time,” says Mangan. “It requires patience and stubborn optimism. We’ve been able to attract our own team that exhibits those qualities, and the other key to our success has been partnerships from the business community. No one person or organization can do this work alone. Him For Her hopes to be the driver because it is a problem that is solvable.”


Him For Her

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Chief Business Development Officer: Crista Bailey


Him For Her is a social impact venture aimed at accelerating diversity on corporate boards. To bridge the network gap responsible for the sparsity of women in the boardroom, Him For Her engages business luminaries and partners with 100+ leading private equity and venture capital firms to connect the world’s most talented “Hers” to board service.

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