Outside Voices: Why Boards Need to Hire More Marketing Experts

MediaLink’s Wenda Harris Millard argues more CMOs are needed as directors because board positions at Fortune 500 companies remain largely homogenous

You don’t have to be a CEO to understand why uniformity is problematic. A group of people with similar backgrounds, experience and positions will generally deliver a like-minded approach to addressing corporate challenges. But as business issues grow increasingly complex, the best solutions are often the result of disparate perspectives and healthy debate.

Diversity, however, is a broader requirement than simply slotting someone of a different gender, race or sexual orientation into a leadership role. In fact, approaching diversity as a box to be checked risks tokenizing the effort and the people involved. The true value of diversity comes in bringing new ideas, experiences and cultural fluencies to the boardroom and the executive suite.

In my role as vice chairman of MediaLink and throughout my career, I have participated in the digital revolution and have observed and coached companies through disruption. I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact of brilliant marketing initiatives to invigorate and fortify resilient, profitable businesses in periods of rapid change.

Leaders committed to future-proofing their businesses should take a page from the marketing industry as they adjust the composition of their boards. Diverse skill sets and backgrounds aren’t the only strategy to staying ahead in a world that seems forevermore defined by disruption. But it’s a productive place to start.

 

To read the full article on The Wall Street Journal, click here.