At Twilio, diversity is a top priority, including at the Board level. I’m proud that our Board of Directors includes three highly accomplished women who bring key skill sets and unique experiences that are invaluable to Twilio. With their collective product, marketing, operational and corporate governance experience at some of the most successful companies during the last three decades, we are fortunate to have the benefit of their perspectives and learnings as we navigate the challenges that come with scaling a high growth company.
Earlier this year, I had the honor of being selected for the 2019 DirectWomen Board Institute class. The mission of DirectWomen is to increase the representation of women lawyers on corporate boards. DirectWomen identifies, develops, and supports a growing group of accomplished women lawyers who provide the experience, independence and diversity required for good corporate governance.
The work that I and the other members of this year’s class have done over the last several months will culminate this week with our participation in the Board Institute on Oct. 3 and 4 in New York City. The Institute is a two-day program intended to provide an orientation and update on key issues facing current and future directors, with the goal of positioning an exceptional group of senior women executives for service as directors of major U.S. corporations.
I became aware of and involved with DirectWomen at the recommendation of one of Twilio’s own directors, Erika Rottenberg, who has served on Twilio’s Board since 2016 and currently serves as the chair of our Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
The effort to achieve diversity in corporate executive positions and on corporate Boards is not just a check-the-box exercise for the sake of being politically correct. According to a report last year by McKinsey and Company, its research into 1,000 large companies in 12 countries found those that were ranked in the top 25% for ethnically and gender diverse executive teams and boards were 33% more likely to post bigger profits than their competitors.
In business, success is about solving problems, meeting challenges and taking advantage of opportunities. In this pursuit of solutions and ideas, a business strategy built upon diversity of thought and inclusion of differing viewpoints cultivates higher levels of creativity and innovation. The wider your spectrum of viewpoints, the greater your advantage in a competitive landscape.
Every company must be intentional in its commitment to diversity and inclusion. It’s no secret that the tech industry has struggled mightily to achieve diversity in its ranks. Token hires are not enough. In order to meet the challenge, it takes a conscious commitment at the executive level, beginning with the recruiting and hiring process, and extending it into an employee’s daily experience. Diversity and inclusion must be top of mind and ingrained throughout the DNA of the company or organization, not just with the talent acquisition team, but with all leaders and managers committed to providing an inclusive environment for all team members.
DirectWomen is a tremendous resource for talent and executives with a broad range of experiences who can contribute to the bottom line of a company, fostering creativity, innovation and success. I encourage you to learn more about the organization and engage with them.