Board of Pensions earns national recognition for diversity and inclusion work

September 30, 2020
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The Board of Directors of The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been recognized nationally for making diversity and inclusion a priority — both throughout the agency and in its own makeup. The Board is one of 10 finalists for the annual NACD NXT awards, presented by the National Association of Corporate Directors, whose membership represents over half of the Fortune 1000.

"As an agency of the Presbyterian Church, our business mission aligns with our theological conviction that every person has equal dignity in God's eyes and that we must not grow weary in doing what is right," said Rick Bold, Chair of the Board of Directors. "That includes us ensuring that the agency staff and our Board of Directors are diverse, talented, and encouraged to actively participate in sharing the full spectrum of their gifts with the Board."

For more than 20 years, the Board of Pensions has far exceeded the General Assembly's goals for diversity in staffing. Those goals call for a staff that is at least 40 percent female and at least 20 percent people of color.

Of the 10 new agency Directors in 2020 (eight elected and two appointed) half are people of color and half are women. The General Assembly elects the agency's Board of Directors from the General Assembly Nominating Committee slate every two years. In 2019-2020, the Board of Directors built strong relationships with diverse candidates, then supported the Committee in nominating them.

In response to the recommendation of the General Assembly in 2018, the Board of Pensions hired the Reed Development Group to perform a race audit of the agency. Based on those findings, the Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Leadership Council was launched to advise senior management on understanding and enacting diversity initiatives and demonstrating inclusive leadership. Kimberly Reed, a nationally recognized leader in organizational transformation, is facilitator for the 16-member council, which reflects a broad representation of Board staff.

Ms. Reed has also led agencywide conversations and implicit bias training. Additionally, employees have access to a robust curriculum concerning workplace bias and anti-racism training through the Board of Pensions employee e-learning platform. On June 18, 2020, the agency released a statement on dismantling structural racism. That statement and other resources are available at pensions.org.

The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer, President of the Board of Pensions, said, "The work we have been doing is strengthening the Board. A diverse workplace makes us better through the sharing of ideas that come out of unique experiences. To get there, every employee must feel safe participating and know that they're being heard, especially by leadership."

"It's up to the Board of Directors to promote a vision that elevates culture, and we are fortunate to have strong agency leadership supporting that effort," Mr. Bold said. "Frank and his team are deeply committed to a workforce that is diverse in a multitude of important ways and one in which each employee's contribution is heard and valued. This is the way to make diversity count."

The National Association of Corporate Directors will announce three winners of the 2020 NACD NXT awards October 13. The winners will be featured in a video retrospective at the virtual NACD Summit 2020 and highlighted in NACD Directorship magazine. NACD has more than 21,000 individual members and more than 1,500 organizations.

For more information, email the Board of Pensions.