Tesla Welcomes & Increases Diversity to Its Board in Silicon Valley: Meet CEO Linda Johnson Rice


Well, 2018 seems to be off to a phenomenal start in the diversity department - something I announced I will definitely be focusing more on in 2018 here at Distinction Studio.

The main reason being that I hold the belief 2018 is going to be a pivot year for diversity, and I said that literally days before all of these announcements started surfacing in the media. 

I want to see diversity because it matters to me, and I'm so passionate about it. But the deeper implication for me sharing it is I want you to know YOUR voice matters everywhere. Period. 

In the next episode of "let's diversify more of America, please", Tesla, an American automaker, energy storage, and solar panel manufacturer based in Palo Alto, California, has made a nice stride to diversify its board of directors. 

Tesla is bucking an almost ritualistic trend in Silicon Valley startups of previously only appointing mostly men to its board by bringing on Ebony Media CEO, Linda Johnson Rice. 

Monday, Tesla welcomed her, the only second woman out of a group of nine, and the first African American to hold the role as well, according to Fortune Magazine. 

"Women make 85 percent of the purchasing decisions in the household, so to have that female perspective on a board is beneficial," says Parker, who is also the president and CEO of the Executive Leadership Council. He adds that in black households, the percentage is even higher.

Prior to Rice being appointed, only two women have served on Tesla's board in the company's 14-year history. 

"We're very excited that Tesla has named Linda Johnson Rice to the board," Ronald C. Parker, chairman of the Alliance for Board Diversity, tells CNBC Make It. "Tesla is an innovative company and we'd like to see more blacks and women in these tech spaces."

Probably the bigger implication of this decision however, is the catalystic energy this brings to this company to diversify its hires, too. 

"Companies like Tesla that are innovative and forming their board for the first time have a unique opportunity to be leaders in bringing in diversity, which results in good governance," says DeHaas.

"If these companies want growth, then they need these diverse perspectives to take on new strategies," adds Parker.