After years of reporting on the lack of women and minority leaders on tech boards, MassTLC launched the Board-Ready Bootcamp, a bold new initiative that aims to identify, train and help connect nearly 100 leaders a year for board positions in the tech sector.
Seeking to improve board governance and composition at tech companies, the bootcamp initiative leveraged the Council’s executive network by asking CEOs, board members, and other executives to help identify the rising stars within their companies or their networks who would be strong candidates for board leadership.
To model good board behavior, participants were sent a 250+ page pre-read package and homework assignment a week or so in advance. The bootcamp itself provided a high-impact curriculum on board fundamentals, strategy and governance, workshopping and mentoring, as well as visibility and connections with people who could help participants on their board journeys.
As part of the Council’s mission “to accelerate innovation, growth and the development of an inclusive tech ecosystem in Massachusetts,” MassTLC benchmarks participation of women and minorities on tech boards year over year at only 12%. The 2019 bootcamp initiative, which consisted of 95 tech leaders in two bootcamp cohorts, was comprised of 85% women, 33% leaders of color and 3% LGBTQIA leaders. While a goal of the bootcamp is to improve diversity on tech boards, the initiative also addresses the growing need of traditional companies seeking board members with both tech expertise and diverse backgrounds.
Bootcamp participants represent senior tech leaders from many of the region’s leading tech companies, including, Acquia, Adobe, Agero, Akamai, athenahealth, BitSight, Buildium, Bullhorn, Carbonite, CarGurus, CVS Health, IBM, iRobot, Iron Mountain, Kronos, LogMeIn, Lola.com, NETSCOUT, OSRAM, Pegasystems Inc., PTC, Rapid7, Salesforce.com, Teradyne, The Predictive Index, Toast, Veracode, Wayfair, Zipcar, and more. View all the 2019 Bootcamp participants.
The bootcamp kicked off with inspirational remarks and a session on board basics, structure, and governance. With this as a foundation, bootcamp participants interacted directly with practitioners about their experiences and how they brought value to the boards on which they sit. We held group mentoring and workshopping sessions throughout the day for participants to ask questions and work in small groups. The cohort went through mini case studies around leadership and governance and rounded out the day with insights from CEOs on emerging risks, rewards and expectations from their own boards.
The high-impact program wrapped up with an action planning workshop where participants put what they have learned into practice and began positioning themselves to be noticed. Finally, recognizing that visibility and access to the leaders in a position to help is critical, we concluded with an executive networking reception where participants mingled with industry VIPs who could help them on their board journeys.