Friday's WSJ reported that Calpers is yet again exercising its clout on issues related to board composition. This time, Calpers is taking the bold step of creating a broad database of pre-screened candidates that can be tapped to serve as potential directors. But this isn’t just any database. First, it’s being called 3D for “Diverse Director Database”. Second, it’s being created not just to source great potential board candidates (with the usual expertise in finance, management, industry knowledge), but also candidates from “historically underrepresented groups, including women and minorities”.
This is a giant step toward recognizing the importance of diversity on corporate boards but also for the fundamental importance of critical mass. Developing systems endorsed by powerful organizations provides the necessary tools for nominating committees to make smart decisions about board makeup. Calpers 3D plan will give corporations fewer excuses around sourcing gender inclusive talent. In short, ignoring the importance of gender diversity and thus, critical mass, just got harder.