Ensuring Gender Diversity in our Organization

Yesterday we received an email from a woman who had visited our website for the first time, and while greatly interested in our programs, was struck by the lack of gender diversity on our Board. One of our board members, Zeno Franco, wrote her a response that we find valuable to share with our entire community.

“I understand that you had some concerns about the gender balance of the Heroic Imagination Project board.  I am sorry that you took the message that we don’t value gender equity from our website.  It is not only something that is important to us, it is something that we’ve acted on as deliberately as we can at this stage as a young non-profit organization.  If you take a look again, you will see that one board member is a woman (Adi Seal) who was carefully selected for both her skill-set, and her perspective as a female, LGBT business leader:  http://heroicimagination.org/board-bios/

Moreover, the prior board, which stood up HIP as a formal non-profit entity had Zoe Weil as one of its senior leaders:  https://humaneeducation.org/who-we-are/meet-zoe-weil/. The current board has continued to actively seek out Zoe’s advice and guidance as we move the organization forward.  In fact, in my view this organization owes its current success to Dr. Zimbardo’s understanding of the value Zoe would bring to the board conversation.  The impact of her guidance can not be overstated.

As we have achieved some major milestones recently, one of our next tasks is to engage with women leaders who can provide key board experience and expertise.  Recruiting will likely be measured, but meaningful, with the ultimate goal of achieving roughly equal balance over the next 12-24 months.  Our goal is to recruit the *best* people, rather than simply adding women to the board for the sake of gender balance alone — so this process will take some time.

However, I can personally assure you that diversity on the board has been first and foremost on Dr. Zimbardo’s mind, and he has made it clear to me that we must achieve this if HIP is to “walk-the-walk” of being a heroic organization.

I say all of this to assure you that as an organization we are being deeply thoughtful about these issues.  We are also taking deliberate action to back up these ideals so that HIP is a powerful voice against those who would reduce the role of women in our public discourse.

~Zeno Franco

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