SurveyMonkey just appointed another woman to its board of directors, bringing gender parity to the online survey platform’s 10-person board. With the addition of Erika Hayes James, the dean of Emory University’s business school, SurveyMonkey’s board now has two black women—the first being none other than Serena Williams.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) August 14, 2018
James is also the first black woman to be named dean of a leading business school. (Emory is currently ranked at No. 20 by U.S. News & World Report.) One of her focuses has been trying to boost female representation and leadership across MBA programs and business as a whole.
“My life’s work is helping women reach leadership positions, and I am impressed by SurveyMonkey’s dedication to creating a diverse and inclusive environment,” James said. “The data captured through SurveyMonkey products provides many insights on employee engagement and diversity and inclusion that can be used to inform decisions and make an impact.”
The appointment of someone like James to a board continues to be rare. As of last year, white men still accounted for nearly 70% of board members in the Fortune 500—and that number would be higher if it weren’t for the fact that more women and minorities have risen to the boardroom in recent years. Even a company like Facebook, where SurveyMonkey board member Sheryl Sandberg also holds a board seat, only appointed its first non-white board member earlier this year. (Including Sandberg, Facebook does have two women on its board.)
Here’s hoping heavy hitters like Facebook take a cue from companies like SurveyMonkey, which are leading the charge where Facebook and its ilk should be.