The Inclusive Leadership Series — Jerusha Stewart
At TAKE YOUR SEAT, we are constantly looking for opportunities to increase the number of Black board directors. We want to get real about race in the boardroom by hosting courageous conversations between diversity professionals, CEOs, board leaders, private equity firm executives, and candidates. Our objective is to make these exchanges personal, not painful. One aspect of our work is to elevate Black leaders; proving that there is an existing pipeline of talent, you just have to know where to look. The counterpart to this is assisting companies in building the diverse and inclusive boardrooms of the future.
As part of our ongoing efforts, in 2021 we created THE INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP SERIES (“TILS”), a six month virtual program that provides a space for cross-racial executive learning for existing board leaders and C-Suite executives. The curriculum has been designed to allow participants to meet and build relationships in real time, thereby expanding their networks. Leveraging the thought leadership of Nasdaq’s Center for Board Excellence, veteran board directors, and governance and DEI experts, TILS assists leaders in creating action plans to build and expand their diverse and inclusive board as a competitive advantage in business. The training is led by Dr. Stacie Walton, Diversity & Inclusion Strategist at Take Your Seat, an expert in cultural intelligence training for all professions.
The TILS program utilizes the six traits of inclusive leadership outlined by Deloitte’s research: Cognizance, Collaboration, Commitment, Courage, Cultural Intelligence, and Curiosity. Over the course of the six months, our deliberately small group of directors have a safe space in which to tackle the challenging and often awkward conversations needed to create inclusive environments for multicultural teams. The participants find support and accountability for actionable plans with their designated cohort members while being supported by their assigned coach facilitators.
The future of Corporate America requires high-performing boards to recognize diversity beyond satisfying compliance targets and government statutes now. A 2020 study by McKinsey & Company found that companies with greater racial and ethnic diversity were 36% more likely to have better financial results than their counterparts. That said, the same study indicated that diversity does not equal inclusion. For companies to truly embrace DEI, they need to understand that while representation matters, it is meaningless without integrating divergent experiences. Diversifying at the top — at the board level — allows companies to gain access to different perspectives and to develop new strategies. By the end of the TILS course, leaders will find themselves better equipped to tap into the ROI of DEI.
The 2022 session of TILS sold out quickly. This not only gives me hope for the future, it reassures me that we at TAKE YOUR SEAT are on the right track.
For more information on our series, please click here.
About Jerusha Stewart: Jerusha is a mission-focused entrepreneur creating opportunities for a more equitable future. With a vast background in law, sales, public relations and marketing, Jerusha is well-versed in creating innovative problem solving initiatives and implementing successful communication strategies. Most recently, Jerusha has dedicated herself to her latest mission, Take Your Seat, a Public Benefit corporation focused on recognizing the wealth of global Black talent and accelerating inclusivity in corporate boardrooms to maximize corporate performance.
Jerusha Stewart - CEO, Take Your Seat
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