The needle is starting to move for Latinos on corporate boards.
After a major push from both legislators in a number of states and organizations including Nasdaq that petitioned to add board diversity reporting as a requirement of being listed on the exchange, 82 Latino directors were appointed to public company boards in the first quarter of 2021, compared with 19 Latino appointments in the first quarter of 2020. The number of Latina directors increased fivefold year over year, from seven to 35.
In September, California legislation amended a previous Corporations Code that called for parity for women in the boardroom. This amendment called for representation from other underrepresented minority communities, not just gender diversity.
The amendment was passed, in part, because, while women were appointed to boards under the original legislation, 70% of them were white women — Latinas made up 3.3%. Though Latinos are 20% of the country’s population (and are the fastest growing ethnic group), they make up just 3% of Fortune 1,000 boards, according to a study from the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA).
Of all Latino appointments in the quarter, 40% of them were first-time directors.
“I think that is a very encouraging trend,” says Esther Aguilera, president and CEO of LCDA. The LCDA has been in operation for five years and is now a resource for both search firms and companies. She said LCDA was able to place its members in 65 of the 82 seats.
However, she says, if Latinos were appointed to 82 seats every quarter, it would still be dozens of years before there was parity.
“We need to change the paradigm that this growth should be the norm, not the exception,” she says. “Especially because there is ample supply of business talent in our community.”