The New-Age Boardroom — Public vs. Private - Julie Roehm

Point of View
6 min readApr 6, 2023
Image from Unsplash by Mitya Ivanov

Today, public and private boards alike, have overcome processes that have become stale and outdated and have embraced new thinking that is often spawned through diversity and inclusion on boards. Although not always implemented in the right way (yet), the intention is there, and it is the job of the sitting board members to further the implementation of these strategies.

One of the most effective ways to recruit from wider pools would be to alter recruitment methods and expand recruitment efforts, as discussed in the Forbes article 7 Ways To Increase Board Diversity.

“One assumption is that new directors must be part of the C-Suite. While this can be a valuable approach, broadening the search beyond the executive level would be beneficial. Create a task force to expand recruitment efforts.”

The article lists the following methods:

1. Formalize Succession Plans

2. Add a new board seat to increase diversity

3. Encourage Transparency

4. Track and Measure Progress

Governance at private and public boards is different — resulting in different kinds of change occurring in both types of boards. I recently read another article Board Governance Structure: Public vs. Private Boards which shares an interesting insight into public and private boards. The article elaborates on how although governance differs, both types of boards do have several similarities.

“The single most important element of governance for any board is creating an environment of trust and respect. The means to that end often look alike: Both must build high-functioning teams, putting each director through a set process of recruiting, orientation, and evaluation. They further share data security requirements, with increasing liability for infractions extending to each and every board member. Only public boards, however, face public-meeting and public-record laws. Only private boards typically pay directors, and they alone have owners on the board. While they may share some governance requirements, different laws, traditions and protocols lead public and private board governance structures to differ in detail.”

Despite these differences, both types of boards recognize the value of diversity — a big step forward from orthodox board thinking ways.

Diversity on boards has an overwhelming amount of benefits, as most of us know by now. A quick recap:

• Better decision-making — A diverse board, populated with women and individuals from diverse backgrounds allows different perspectives — leading to well-rounded decision-making. This can result in a wider range of solutions, a reduction of bias, and even the group-think phenomenon.

• Better Company Performance — Companies with diverse boards tend to show better financial performance and also tend to be more innovative. This usually results in increased success in the marketplace.

• Inclusivity and Representation — Diverse boards ensure that the experiences and perspectives of underrepresented groups are valued in the decision-making process. This usually leads to being able to serve diverse customers and employees better, along with a more inclusive company culture.

I am part of organizations like Beyond Board and the NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors) — organizations that push for diversity in the boardroom.

Beyond Board is a highly curated and exclusive community of board members and board-eligible executives. It is an assembly of today’s most impactful leaders for peer-to-peer networking, renowned thought leaders, and board opportunities. They recruit “through community” with a mission to bring diversity to boards and executive leadership. Through this organization, I have met amazing women and have joined inspiring conversations with leaders across the country about (re)defining the role of board membership.

The NACD is a member organization for corporate directors who want to expand their knowledge, grow their network, and maximize their potential.

Such organizations play a big role in shattering the orthodox norm of boards. Previously, boards were primarily populated with white men, who elected other members from their own networks — making the entire process extremely insular. Now, as mindsets change and horizons expand, boards are electing qualified members from different backgrounds and pools of candidates. I like to think of these as next-generation boards. Boards that reflect the diversity of their companies, providing for a variety of backgrounds and even more importantly, of perspectives.

Connect with Julie on LinkedIn.


Julie Roehm is the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Experience Officer at Party City. She is an innovative customer-centric marketer known for strategizing profitable corporate turnarounds with fast revenue growth via capturing stories that resonate with clients. She was named “Marketer of Year” by BrandWeek, Brand Innovators ‘Top 50 Women in Brand Marketing’, the Tri-State Diversity Council’s “Most Powerful and Influential Woman”, an Automotive News “Marketing All-Star” and one of Working Mother’s “Top 25 Women”. She’s on the forefront of new marketing ideas, and being result-oriented, she uses her vast marketing experience in all facets of business strategy and marketing execution to help deliver the message of the brand.



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