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Launch of an Exciting New Public – Private Diversity Initiative – ONBOARD

By on , Ironwood Insights

On October 13th I was fortunate to participate on a panel discussing the benefits of diversity, as part of the official launch of the Small Business Administration’s ONBOARD (Open Network for Board Diversity) initiative.  The event was held at the Library of Congress and attended by business, education and government leaders.

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, center, with ONBOARD partners at program launch, October 13, 2106

SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, in pink suit, with ONBOARD partners at program launch, October 13, 2106

What is ONBOARD

ONBOARD is a public-private partnership that seeks to address the lack of women and other under-represented groups in the leadership of U.S. small business.  Its goal is to increase the number of women and minority members on advisory boards and boards of directors by creating a dynamic platform for accessing this talent.  The ONBOARD platform addresses this gap in the context of high growth small businesses that seek outside talent to better guide their companies forward.

Why I’m excited about ONBOARD

As the Chair-Elect of the Small Business Investment Alliance (SBIA) and a founding partner of Ironwood Capital, a private equity firm where we focus on investments in lower middle market companies, I am very pleased to be part of this effort.

Small business investment companies, together with SBIA,  have been leaders in promoting diversity within the private equity market.  I will be SBIA’s fourth female chair in nine years, highlighting the strength of our female managers;  in fact, one in six of our general partners include diverse partner teams.

Our members are excited that this program, partnering with LinkedIn, will create an on-line resource that simplifies the process of finding outstanding professionals to enhance their portfolio company boards.  We believe that working together with the other seventeen organizations currently participating in the program, we can create awareness and support for an increase in board diversity in the lower middle market which in turn will lead to better outcomes for our portfolio companies.

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