NACD Announces Effort to Accelerate Diversity Among Next Generation of Board Directors

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the authority on boardroom practices representing more than 21,000 board members, today announced a new program to advance boardroom diversity. The program, called NACD Accelerate, will seek new ways to provide high-potential executives with the education and exposure they need to chart a path to directorship.

“NACD has been working to elevate board performance for more than 40 years,” said the Honorable Cari Dominguez, a director of NACD and chair of the NACD board committee on diversity, equity, and inclusion. “The business world has changed over those 40 years, but how boards recruit directors has not kept pace. To prepare a new generation of leaders to be board ready, NACD will collaborate with its members to identify a roster of diverse executives who possess the abilities and business judgment—but who may lack the exposure and governance skills needed—for directorship consideration.”

NACD studies consistently find that boards and investors agree that diversity in the boardroom is a business imperative:

  • Seventy-four percent of private company respondents report that diversity is an imperative for board success, and 69 percent see value in increasing diversity on their own board.
  • Ninety-three percent of directors report that the primary value they see in board diversity is the broader perspective and expertise it fosters.

Source: 2019–2020 NACD Private Company Governance Survey, p. 25.

“Diversity and the broad mix of perspectives and experiences that come with it are essential for the robust, insightful discussions that drive good corporate governance,” said Peter R. Gleason, CEO of NACD. “Yet, even with recent gains, diversity is nowhere near where it needs to be in this age of modern governance. NACD believes that we must build a deeper bench of directors now and ensure that all directors are better prepared to lead companies through challenges and uncertainty.”

The cornerstone of the NACD Accelerate program is NACD Directorship Certification®, which provides foundational instruction and a director-developed exam on corporate governance and the role of the board. Certification empowers participants in the program with the baseline knowledge they need to contribute to the boardroom dialogue on day one.

Once equipped with these foundational skills, participants will gain exposure to sitting directors whose boards would benefit from a diverse pipeline of new talent.

NACD Accelerate will launch October 1, 2020, with the association asking members to nominate qualified, diverse executives who are ready for board exposure. Later this fall, NACD partners and other corporations and nonprofits that are seeking to prepare and place their executives in board seats will join the effort by identifying and nominating participants.

For more information about this program, including benefits, please visit the NACD Accelerate webpage.

About NACD

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) empowers more than 21,000 directors to lead with confidence in the boardroom. As the recognized authority on leading boardroom practices, NACD helps boards strengthen investor trust and public confidence by ensuring that today’s directors are well prepared for tomorrow’s challenges. World-class boards join NACD to elevate performance, gain foresight, and instill confidence. Fostering collaboration among directors, investors, and corporate governance stakeholders, NACD has been setting the standard for responsible board leadership for 40 years. To learn more about NACD, visit