Director Institute

It's Time to Take a Bold Step Forward

Accelerate the development of diverse executives for corporate board service

There are many efforts underway to advance diverse executive leadership and corporate board diversity, but even the combination of everything that is being done today will be insufficient to meet expected demand for parity on leadership teams and corporate boards.

Companies are showing improvement in their desire and ability to accelerate the development of their diverse executives, but it remains at a pace that is insufficient to meet both near-term and long-term demand.

Boards and CEOs are making strong progress in appointing diverse executives into the boardroom and leadership roles—but more needs to be done

Boards and CEOs understand the strategic value that diversity brings to boardrooms and leadership teams and are dedicating more resources and seeking new ways to expand their pipeline of diverse executives.

Heidrick & Struggles is actively partnering with clients to assist them in preparing their diverse senior leaders for internal succession planning, as well as for board governance roles.

A comprehensive development program preparing diverse executives for broader operating roles and corporate governance

One way to enhance the diverse talent pool is with Heidrick & Struggles’ Director Institute. This program was established to help accelerate the development of diverse leaders, who have been recommended by their CEOs, for broader operating, P&L, CEO and corporate director roles – providing them with valuable skills and extending their governance experiences beyond participation in their own companies and boardrooms.



Director Institute Program Overview

The Director Institute is a fully integrated apprenticeship, utilizing a Board Observer role, and pairing CEO-recommended senior executives from diverse backgrounds with boards of relevant but non-competitive companies for an exceptional learning and networking experience.

During the program, participants will:

The Director Institute program is a win-win for sponsored executives and participating clients, where Heidrick & Struggles leverages its unique experience and capabilities to create compelling pairings that provide exceptional experiences for everyone involved.

Sponsored executives are personally selected by the CEO of their sponsoring company, and once accepted into the program, bespoke pairings are made, taking into account the background and experiences of the participants together with the interests of each host board.

Recent pairings include executives being matched from technology to professional services, industrial to energy, and retail to hospitality.


Program Benefits



Company and Executive Eligibility

Eligible clients include US-headquartered public companies. Current participants include companies with revenues over $1 billion, with many Fortune 1000 clients participating.

Program participants must be personally nominated by their CEO and will be assessed to ensure they are appropriately calibrated for the program. Eligible executives will be a current direct report to their CEO, or one level removed, with proven board exposure in their own boardroom.

Founding Program Advisors


Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University

Knowledge Center

Moving from a seat at the table to the head of the table: Lessons from female board chairs

Despite recent progress, the position of board chair is still rarely held by women. We spoke with a number of current and former female chairs at large companies around the world on their experience getting the top job and how to thrive in the role.
Read More

Board Monitor US 2019: What’s changed in 10 years, what hasn’t, and what’s next

Board diversity is at an all-time high—but there’s a long way to go. In this 10th anniversary Board Monitor report, we examine decade-long trends in board appointments and explore the potential for increased diversity over the next 10 years.
Read More

Evolving D&I to drive performance: A leader-led, business-driven approach

Corporate leaders are in a quandary: feeling stuck by the lack of significant D&I progress despite meaningful investment and uncertain what to do next. What’s needed? An innovative approach to getting unstuck and gaining traction, driven by hard business considerations that will accelerate corporate performance.
Read More

Director Institute Leadership

Kamau Coar

Kamau Coar

Chief Legal Officer and Chief Inclusion Officer Learn More
Bonnie W. Gwin

Bonnie W. Gwin

Vice Chairman
North America
Learn More

Contact the Director Institute

Contact the Director Institute for Program Information and how to Participate

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