Years ago, during a board recruitment interview, I was asked why I wanted to join the board. I was honest and, much to the committee’s surprise, said, “I want a seat at the table.” The reason for my response was two-fold. First, I understood the importance of someone with my lived experience, as a Black woman, to offer a perspective to the board that was absent.
The board had never had a Black Director. I also discussed the importance of not just recruiting a Black woman to their board, but ensuring that the environment would be one where the advice and perspectives I offered would have value, and would strengthen board governance.
Over 15 years of experience working with organizations to advance diversity, equality and inclusion.
Mante Molepo is a champion of diversity and inclusion, and a tireless defender of human rights.
While boards focus on recruiting Indigenous and equality-deserving people, they may pay less attention to retention. Boards and senior leaders must be able to identify, mitigate and remove the systemic barriers that limit the advancement of Indigenous and equality-deserving groups. I work with clients who want to advance diversity, equality and inclusion but don’t know where to begin; who have developed anti-racism or DEI strategies but don’t know how to implement them; or who have worked to recruit Indigenous and equality-deserving individuals but cannot retain them.
I advise boards and senior leaders on the structural changes necessary to cultivate a culture of belonging, where every member of the organization is treated equitably and can experience full participation and belonging.
I also have extensive networks across communities. Through the Seat at the Table initiative , I support board succession planning by establishing relationships with equality-deserving candidates interested in governance. As a consultant, I challenge my clients to reflect on whose voices are being centered, who in the community they are engaging, and how DEI is being embedded into the very fabric of governance.
Board governance is more than having a seat at the table. It is about bringing perspectives that have historically been ignored and excluded. It is also about optimizing the full potential of boards in order to ensure effective stewardship and oversight.
Membership and Associations
Canadian Association of Black Lawyers
Canadian Bar Association
County of Carleton Law Association
Governance Professionals of Canada
Black Female Lawyers Network
Institute of Corporate Directors
Law Society of Ontario
Ontario Bar Association
Prosci Change Management