SVLG Launches Diverse Board Member Accelerator Program — New “Next Generation Board Network” to diversify corporate boards in Silicon Valley, caps busy first year of SVLG CEO Ahmad Thomas

SAN JOSE, CA (August 19, 2021) – The Silicon Valley Leadership Group today announced the launch of an industry-leading board readiness program for diverse executives, the SVLG Next Generation Board Network (NGBN). This year-long program identifies and accelerates corporate board preparation and networking opportunities in Silicon Valley for a diverse cohort of high-potential leaders. The program is sponsored by EY and Equilar. The initiative’s launch is the latest in a series of moves by SVLG CEO Ahmad Thomas and marks his first full year as head of the leading business group.

“As I’ve seen throughout my life and especially in this first year leading SVLG, representation matters, and it’s critical in our positions of leadership,” said SVLG CEO Ahmad Thomas. “SVLG’s Next Generation Board Network connects that next cohort of diverse board candidates in Silicon Valley to the skills, resources, and most importantly the sustained network of mentors to guide them as our board directors of the future. I’m incredibly proud to be part of an organization committed to changing the face of business leadership and making our companies more competitive with more inclusive workplaces for underrepresented communities.”

“EY is committed to activating and engaging diverse teams to create better and more inclusive workplaces for all. We’re proud to sponsor SVLG’s new initiative to prepare this cadre of emerging diverse leaders to succeed in future board roles and help change the face of business,” said Ibi Krukrubo, EY San Jose Office Managing Partner and Member of SVLG’s Executive Board of Directors.

“With Equilar’s cutting-edge technology solutions, we’re helping companies in Silicon Valley and around the world identify and recruit diverse leadership talent for their boards. SVLG’s Next Generation Board Network will help ensure that these diverse board candidates have the skills, networks, and resources necessary to help them succeed when they assume corporate governance and board oversight roles,” said David Chun, Founder and CEO of Equilar and Member of SVLG’s Board of Directors. 

In a program starting this fall, the SVLG Next Generation Board Network will direct a series of focused sessions, with C-suite mentors accelerating executive leadership skills for dozens of NGBN fellows. Participants will be drawn from underrepresented groups and selected by leadership affinity organizations including Ascend, Athena Alliance, Boulé, Latino Corporate Board Directors Association, and Out Network. All fellows will be invited to join Equilar’s Diversity Network database highlighting minority and female candidates to recruiters.

The program comes on the heels of California’s AB 979, the landmark legislation to diversify corporate board rooms. Last year, SVLG was the first and only major business association in California to support the bill. In 2021, SVLG also established Pledge 25×25, which challenges Silicon Valley and Bay Area companies to fill 25 percent of their executive positions with hires from underrepresented groups by the year 2025.  

In Ahmad Thomas’ busy first year as SVLG’s CEO he has led the business group across a range of initiatives, from its backing of successful ballot measures to save Caltrain and protect local water infrastructure in November to advocating with member company Google to equitably transform San Jose with the approval of Downtown West. SVLG’s recent Race to Net Zero event featured all three of the Biden Administration’s top climate leaders including Climate Envoy John Kerry, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and EPA Administrator Michael Regan. This follows other SVLG events with Administration officials including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Biden Administration Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“It’s been a challenging and rewarding first year and I’m humbled by the support of our board and members,” said Thomas. “At the end of the day it’s really all about how we can foster the unique innovation ecosystem of Silicon Valley, and make it a great place to live, work, and do business.” 

About SVLG:

Silicon Valley Leadership group is California’s most dynamic business association. Building on four decades of success in championing the solutions that make Silicon Valley the best place to work and live, we promote solutions focused on fostering business competitiveness and the region’s innovation ecosystem. Collectively, SVLG members provide nearly one of every three private sector jobs in Silicon Valley and contribute more than $3 trillion to the worldwide economy each year.