Social Impact

Increasing Racial Diversity On UK Boards

How we helped Empowering People of Colour design its Board Fellowship Program, supporting their efforts to provide  more opportunities for talented executives

The latest Parker Review, which measures the ethnic diversity of boards in the UK, paints a promising picture, with 96 FTSE 100 companies having at least one ethnic minority director. This is a marked improvement from the first report in 2016, when 53 companies did not have any directors of color. Maintaining this positive momentum is crucial – and one way of doing so is by connecting talented executives with institutions and their boards. Empowering People of Colour (EPOC) aims to tackle these opportunities with creativity and determination.

Launched in 2021, EPOC is a peer-to-peer network that seeks to combat the continued lack of diversity in the UK’s private, public, and not-for-profit boards. It puts high-potential leaders of color seeking board opportunities in front of chairs and key decision-makers looking to create more inclusive organizations.

Thank you for all your great work on EPOC — there is no way we could have achieved as much as has been done without the Oliver Wyman team
Moni Mannings, Founder, EPOC

As part of this drive to help change the future of leadership in the country, EPOC is piloting a Board Fellowship Program to help provide opportunities for senior professionals of color to take on a non-executive role on a board. Oliver Wyman stepped in to provide guidance and tools for the effective launch and management of the program. We worked with EPOC in a targeted four-week sprint where we defined:

• the pilot and program by focusing on its objectives and target outcomes

• the process steps needed to launch it

• the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders

• the immediate actions needed to prepare for the launch.

Oliver Wyman worked closely with EPOC and its key stakeholders to define the program and make decisions around the core design elements. We engaged a variety of experts both within the firm and beyond, by interviewing the chairs of boards and potential fellowships candidates, as well as encouraging firms to engage widely and deeply on the subject. We provided practical collateral and next steps for the program launch, including the creation of key materials such as a practical programme plan, programme charter and clearly defined roles and responsibilities for EPOC and its key stakeholders. By helping EPOC refine its Board Fellowship Program, Oliver Wyman is helping to build networks, create opportunities, and shift the conversation towards greater racial equality.

We are grateful to have worked on building a solution to a huge problem and are excited to see how EPOC and the Board Fellowship Program continue to grow
Abe Louw, Engagement Manager, Oliver Wyman