The Future of the Boardroom — Maryann Bruce

Maryann Bruce — an experienced corporate board director and a dynamic and collaborative board leader, has had years of experience during her tenure as a Fortune 100 Division President and CEO. Through her work, she has collected numerous career and life lessons.

We are in conversation with Maryann Bruce to know more about her experiences and views on company boards.

In the second part of the conversation, Maryann shares her views on the future of boardrooms.

You can read what she said below, or watch the video.

“I believe that the future of the boardroom will not only be diverse, but will be inclusive. Companies will lead with purpose and more companies will become benefit corporations, also known as certified B Corps. For a long time, boardrooms were primarily male, pale and stale — white men, over the age of 65. There were commonly jovial, affable places, where directors were like minded and knew each other extremely well. Now don’t get me wrong, an affable atmosphere is certainly nice. But it can occasionally cause unintentional consequences — such as groupthink. Tight knit boards often feel like they have an obligation to get along with the CEO for a variety of reasons.

“Good governance doesn’t call for dissension in the boardroom, but it does call for diversity. Diversity of thought, diversity of background and of experience. Robust discussions about challenging issues, require deep insight, multiple angles and collective experience. Great ideas often emerge when board discussions disrupt common thinking patterns. New perspectives make companies open to a wider array of customers. Getting multiple opinions is just good common sense.

“In addition to diversity, boards need to ensure an inclusive culture. A place where all members feel like they belong and where their individual voices are heard and acknowledged, that they are not marginalized or discounted and that they don’t have to conform to others for their opinions and ideas to be valued. If we leverage this diversity on a board, I am convinced it will ensure better decision making. In my opinion, diverse boards will not thrive unless they are inclusive as well. Board diversity and inclusion are not just the right thing to do, they are the business smart thing to do.

“Furthermore, companies need to lead with purpose. They need to use their resources, money and influence to support their customers and the environment and help society move forward. A benefit corporation governs itself under triple bottom-line, to give social and environmental considerations equal standing with profit goals. Specifically, these business balance purpose and profit by legally requiring companies to consider the impact of their decisions on workers, customers, suppliers, the community and the environment.

“B Corp leaders use business as a force for good. They commit to do no harm, they see sustainable wealth creation and they treat all stakeholders with equal respect. In the future, I believe these mission driven, triple bottom-line companies will become the norm, rather than the exception.”

Thank you, Maryann.

You can read the first part of the conversation here.

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