Promoting Board and Leadership Diversity — Toni Hardy-Waller

Point of View
3 min readNov 22, 2022

“The dictionary definition of leverage is “to use something to optimize your advantage.” For our purposes, it is about sharing insights that will better prepare, position, and promote you the reader into roles you have earned, helping to guide America’s healthcare institutions.”

As the Founder and CEO of the Leverage Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing African Americans to Governance and Board roles in healthcare, I believe strongly in the work we do. At TLN, we release a quarterly newsletter for our members and other readers.

Each issue contains updates on the work driving the mission of TLN; shares proprietary conversations with key leaders and influencers; and provides timely information on the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the highest ranks of the healthcare industry. Our commentary is authentic, transparent, and straight up, with no chaser.

We have released a number of issues of the newsletter, here are a few excerpts from the first one.

We were founded before health disparities entered the national lexicon. We have known for many years that until we have diversity at the highest levels of health systems, payers, pharma, and vendors, the vulnerable population, particularly Black communities, will continue to experience inequities. The current healthcare environment and the Social Justice Movement have lit a fire under efforts to make healthcare leadership better reflect the communities being served.

In Spring 2021, we released a report carried out with our friends at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and McGuireWoods which revealed how much scope for improvement still exists. Here is some of the work we have done since:

  • Back then, our Healthcare Board Initiative graduated its 3rd cohort of 14 qualified board candidates. Three of the members were appointed to public or private boards even before completing the program, and two are actively interviewing for board seats.
  • We launched the Emerging Leaders program. It was aimed at fulfilling our promise of promoting Black executives to the top jobs of healthcare organizations, accomplishing in the C-suite what we have been doing in the boardroom.
  • Our partnership with the Equilar Diversity Network gave our members visibility in search results from hundreds of organizations looking to diversify their boards.
  • Last but not least, we received a $200,000 grant from the WK Kellogg Foundation to help carry out our expanding mission.

Click here to read The Leverage Network Issue 1.

Click here to connect with Toni Hardy-Waller on LinkedIn.


Toni Hardy-Waller is a change catalyst actively working to improve diversity in healthcare, for patients and employees. Toni founded Strategic Healthcare Transformations (SHcT), a national consulting firm assisting health systems in the development of post-acute continuums of care and population health strategies. She is also the CEO of The Leverage Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing African Americans to Governance and Board roles in healthcare. With 30 years of experience in healthcare leadership and experience on various boards, she has made it her mission to make people’s voices heard.



Point of View

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