Younger Directors Next Frontier in Push for Greater Board Diversity

Chicago Tribune features Next Gen Board Leaders

The Chicago Tribune highlights Next Gen Board Leaders and examines why age is becoming such an important factors in the push for board diversity. Click here to read the article on the Chicago Tribune website.

By Ally Marotti

The desire for greater diversity on corporate boards is extending to another category: age.

With a greater ability to adjust to technological changes and different perspectives, younger board members can wield great value, said TK Kerstetter, CEO of educational platform Boardroom Resources.

The Georgia-based company, along with Nasdaq and Chicago-based executive search firm Spencer Stuart, last week launched Next Gen Board Leaders, an initiative to teach existing boards the value of younger members.

Typically, many of the people on the board, in their business experience, haven’t had to deal with the digital or the cyber issues. They often don’t have as much hands-on experience as these younger movers and shakers do.

Next Gen Board Leaders plans to provide information for those interested in increasing age diversity on boards. It is also meant to provide a place where younger board members — think those in their 30s and 40s — can confab and learn from one another.

Excluding a younger generation of members “affects the ability as a board to create value for the company long-term,” said Caroline Tsay, 36, who serves as a director on the boards of Chicago-based Morningstar and Virginia-based Rosetta Stone.

Tsay also serves as chair of the Next Gen Board Leaders Advisory Council, which will create content for Next Gen Board Leaders’ website and social media accounts, she said.

“I just wouldn’t be on the boards that I’m on if it weren’t for the fact that investors, shareholders, board members were looking for this experience,” Tsay said.

Susan Chapman-Hughes, 48, a director from Chicago-based sandwich chain Potbelly, is also on the advisory council, which is composed of 10 members.