March 9, 2021 – Chicago-based executive search firm DHR International has partnered with the Harvard Business School Latino Alumni Association (HBSLAA) to create “21 in ’21” – a program aimed at placing 21 Latinx executives in board roles before the end of this year. DHR will engage its Latino Diversity Network of board-ready executives and its clients to bring more Latinx executives to public and private company boards across sectors. “It’s an honor to partner with HBSLAA on our 21 in ’21 program, demonstrating our commitment to increasing Latinx diversity in the boardroom,” said Keith Giarman, managing partner for the global private equity practice at DHR and a Harvard Business School alumnus. “The economic value of the U.S. Latino community in 2017 was $2.3 trillion, comparable to the world’s eighth-largest GDP in the world according to LDC Latino Donor Collaborative. This group will continue to drive the economy, and companies that understand the Latinx perspective will be poised to succeed.”
Today, Hispanics represent 18 percent of the U.S. population, yet only 2.7 percent of board members at Fortune 1000 companies are Latino, according to a report by KPMG and Latino Corporate Directors Association. At the same time, research from McKinsey & Company shows that diverse firms outperform their less-diverse competitors by up to 36 percent in profitability. While all industries have a need for greater diversity, the 21 in ‘21 program will place a focus on the private equity sector, where Latinx representation is especially low and there is a great opportunity to effect change. Thirty Percent Coalition states “sound corporate governance practices that include diversity as a priority is also rapidly becoming a prerequisite for institutional investors who represent today 80 percent of the equity market cap.”
“With an increased national conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are pleased to launch 21 in ’21 in partnership with DHR,” said Lulu Curiel, president emeritus of HBSLAA.
Moving the Needle
“By engaging HBS board-ready alumni and board decision-makers, we will move the needle on driving diversity into the boardroom,” said Melissa Hart, HBSLAA board member.
Leading this effort for DHR is Mr. Giarman; Christine DeYoung, managing partner for the firm’s commercial growth practice, private equity practice leader, and an HBS alumna; and Heather Smith, a partner for the firm’s global board & CEO practice. Working with them is Lizette Ibarra, managing partner of DHR’s Miami office and a leader within the firm’s diversity practice with deep connections to the Latinx community. The team brings demonstrated experience placing board directors for public and private companies across industry sectors and market capital size to drive shareholder value. They are also advocates for diverse candidates, sharing their expertise to ensure more executives are board-ready.
The Harvard Business School Latino Alumni Association is a non-profit organization with the aim to connect, empower and advocate for Latinx business communities. The organization is dedicated to creating a community that brings together alumni, current students, prospective students, and faculty to increase its influence at Harvard Business School and in the national Latinx business community. The HBSLAA works to achieve its mission by connecting the collective HBS Latinx community (prospective students, students, alumni and faculty), empowering its alumni by creating learning and development opportunities and a platform for them to grow from graduation-to-retirement, and advocating for communities of color across Harvard University and globally.
Since 1989, DHR International has been a leading, privately held provider of executive search solutions with more than 50 wholly-owned offices spanning the globe. DHR’s consultants specialize in all industries and functions, providing senior-level executive search, management assessment and succession planning services tailored to the qualities and specifications of its client base.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media