In this episode I visit again with Rakhi Kumar, the Managing Director, Head of ESG and Asset Stewardship at State Street Global Advisors. We discuss the firm’s role in advocating for greater Board of Director Diversity. With a campaign which began with the ‘Fearless Girl” statue in Wall Street, to pushing companies in the US, UK, England, Canada and Japan to include more female candidates at the Board of Director level; SSGA continues to be a leading advocate for a wide variety of Board level ESG issues, including gender diversity.

We discuss Kumar’s role as an asset manager for SSGA, why Board’s should seek both racial and gender diversity and the results SSGA has seen to-date. She also discusses five questions laid out by SSGA State Street President and COO Ron O’Hanley, for companies to use in thinking through how to improve gender diversity at the Board level. He gave this information at a speech to the fourth biennial Breakfast of Corporate Champions hosted by the Women’s Forum of New York on November 14, 2017.

First, are you assessing unconscious gender bias in the director search and nomination process? And if you think your company is the exception on this issue, you probably haven’t spent enough time examining it.

Second, are your companies actively assessing the current level of gender diversity within your management ranks? It’s not only about the board. Are you keeping diversity metrics around the percentage of new hires, managers and executives?

Third, are you acting on those metrics? Are you establishing goals to enhance gender diversity on the board and within senior management? Are you tying those goals to business scorecards, performance and other key metrics?

Fourth, do you have “diversity champions” on the board and within management? I don’t mean token figureheads — but leaders who are engaged on this issue and who support the initiatives to meet these goals.

Fifth, is gender diversity something your company actively communicates about to employees, shareholders and the broader public? The conversation about gender diversity in the boardroom shouldn’t be confined to the boardroom.

For additional information on SSGA’s Board gender diversity efforts, see the following:

SSGA Report: Q3 Stewardship Activity Report

Expanding the Call for Board Gender Diversity, speech by Ron O’Hanley

SSGA White Paper: Gender Intelligence: Bridging the Gap with Research, Science and Relevance