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Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has called on businesses who pledge to invest in diverse talent to ensure they measure the impact, otherwise it “won’t count”.
The former first lady spoke on a panel called ‘a pledge for change’ at the London Tech Week, which was organised by and centred on a pledge initiative by EQL:HER, a network of female visionaries in the tech space.
Mrs Clinton said that while pledging support is important, “it has to be measured because it won’t count unless you can demonstrate that it’s actually happening”.
The message for the EQL:Pledge is that this is good for everybody. If we can just get a critical mass of people to sign up for it and then to start acting on it... next year you can have a conference where people literally talk about what the pledge meant, how it changed their business, how it changed their perspective.
She added: “You don’t want someone to take the pledge and not change their behaviour. You’re trying to incentivise a change in behaviour…
“The message for the EQL:Pledge is that this is good for everybody. If we can just get a critical mass of people to sign up for it and then to start acting on it… next year you can have a conference where people literally talk about what the pledge meant, how it changed their business, how it changed their perspective…
“And that’s what you want because those stories… are what eventually change those negative messages that we have.”
She added that these negative messages could be cultural biases which may develop from not working with people from different backgrounds.
Mrs Clinton was joined on the panel by Dame Vivian Hunt, a senior partner at management consulting firm McKinsey & Company; Anne Glover, co-founder of technology investor Amadeus and June Sarpong, director of creative diversity at the BBC.
The pledge has called on investors to commit a percentage of their funding to businesses founded by entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, with members of the pledge team connecting the entrepreneurs to the investors.
Ms Glover spoke about the need for the pledge, emphasising that there is a “massive talent shortage” among minority groups.
She said: “One of the things we can all do is encourage the underrepresented groups to go study the fields and the industries of the future…
“If we can encourage underrepresented minorities into those fields, then I think we’re doing everyone a service.”
In terms of ethnicity, the report showed that three-quarters of firms in the FTSE All Share ex-350 have entirely white boards.