Boardlist Wants to Be the LinkedIn For Female Director Candidates
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy’s vision of a world where women hold an equal share of corporate board seats just got one step closer to becoming reality.
On Tuesday, the Joyus founder and chairman announced the official launch of the Boardlist, a tool designed to connect boards with qualified female candidates. The site, which debuted in a private beta last July, now includes more than 1,000 female board candidates and is hosting 40 active candidate searches, says Singh Cassidy. The tool is also going international: A beta version of the Boardlist will expand to Europe, with 100 women nominated so far.
While last year’s beta version was invite-only, the newly launched U.S. Boardlist will let anyone who is looking for board candidates to register to search the database. Users can also apply to be nominating members, which allows them to suggest and endorse candidates. Women who would like to be considered for open seats must be nominated in order to be added to the database, but once nominated, they can fill in LinkedIn-style profiles that list their board experience, expertise, interests, and a short bio. Profile pages also show any endorsements and nominations.
The Boardlist community—made up of endorsing members as well as candidates—includes the CEOs of Airbnb, ZocDoc, Lyft, and TripAdvisor, as well as venture capital firms such as Accel Partners, First Round Capital, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
The site had its first big win last October, when it helped place Karla Martin, director of global business strategy and strategic planning at Google, on the board of Challenged, a social awareness app. Currently, there are roughly a half a dozen “late stage” searches on the Boardlist, says Singh Cassidy, meaning candidates are “actively interviewing” for open seats.
Right now, 39% of Boardlist candidates already have board experience, according to information shared with Fortune. Forty-one percent of candidates have an MBA, while 25% have a STEM degree. Of the 40-some board searches currently active on the site, 27% are for public companies, 30% are for early-stage startups, 18% are for late-stage startups, and 5% are for nonprofits.
The Boardlist also announced two new supplemental programs. The first is a series of board-readiness workshops—designed to prepare women to serve and operate effectively on boards—which will debut this spring.
The second is a corporate program, with eBay and Marketo as founding partners. The program will allow the companies to nominate senior female employees to the Boardlist, as well as send them to the board-readiness bootcamps and other development programs.
The need for Boardlist and other similar programs is clear: If women continue to join corporate boards at the current rate, it will take more than 40 years for boards to reach a 50-50 gender split.