The nonprofit Susan G. Komen organization's board of directors is mostly Texan, homogeneous and wealthy. Here's how the lack of diversity fueled its misstep over funding to Planned Parenthood, which resulted in a PR fiasco and a marketplace lack of confidence that will be hard to repair.
The organization, which fights breast cancer, reversed its decision to defund Planned Parenthood, but can the damage really be undone? The resulting mistrust from Komen's flip-flop stance and delayed response to protests now has former supporters wary of backing the organization and raising questions.
How could such a poor decision get approved in the first place? The answer could lie in a lack of diversity in its board, according to an article on MotherJones.com by Clara Jeffery.
Calling for an Overhaul
The article delves into the organization's other underlying issues—such as the way donated funds are collected and distributed, its focus on finding a cure over prevention and how the organization threatened to sue other charities for utilizing their "for the cure" phrasing in marketing.
Most notably, it makes the call for a complete Komen overhaul—starting with its "sucky" board of directors, says Jeffery. She notes that the nine board members are mostly white (there are only two Blacks on the board) and most are wealthy Texans.
Ultimately, the article raises important questions about diversity in leadership and thought that is a common topic discussed at DiversityInc. Without more diversity among board members—individuals who can challenge the way the organization has typically done its business—how can Komen adapt and innovate to changing demographics and concerns among the population of women it purports to represent? How can it prevent communication blunders from happening again?
Diversity in Thought
Read these DiversityInc articles on diversity in thought and corporate values for more insight into how crucial diversity is to a business' success and public relations:
Luis Aguilar is one of the most influential Latino attorneys in the country and has served as an executive in major U.S. companies. He talked to DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti about his commitment to diversity at the SEC and in the governance of the country's public companies.
Without a diversity-management structure, there are no checks and balances in place.
They're angry and growing in numbers. What does your organization have to do to not be a target?
Are you violating your values? If you are, you can't hide from the repercussions.
JCPenney's support of Ellen DeGeneres after an attack by an anti-gay organization is a case study in clarity of values and CEO support.
Lowe's publicity nightmare continues after being the only major advertiser to pull its advertising from TLC's "All-American Muslim" reality show.