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Pinnacle
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Pinnacle was launched by Ascend to focus on Asian American corporate board directors on US company boards.

Vision

Help corporations enhance their business objectives by increasing the number of Asian American corporate board directors.

Goal

Create a platform to network, leverage and support current Asian American corporate board directors; develop aspiring candidates for future board service; and provide thought leadership regarding corporate board issues.

The goal is that each year, the number of new Asian Americans on Fortune 500 boards should reflect the Asian population in the United States. (6.8 percent in 2015)

Background

Currently, Asian American men and women account for only 1.8 percent of the 4,698 Fortune 500 board director seats – in comparison to the 2015 projected US Census Asian population of 6.8 percent. Nearly 80 percent of the Fortune 500 corporations have no Asian Americans on their boards. Of the 399 new Fortune 500 board directors in 2015, there were only 19 Asian Americans (4.8% versus 5.3% in 2014). At this rate, the gap will never close.

Former SEC Commissioner, Luis A. Aguilar, declared that, “The persistent lack of diversity in our corporate boardrooms is an issue that requires continuous focus."

Academic studies as well as SEC-mandated disclosures have demonstrated that ethnic, cultural, and gender diversity of board directors translates into value creation and improved board efficiency & performance.

McKinsey’s study released in 2015 stated “Racial and ethnic diversity has a stronger impact on financial performance in the United States than gender diversity.”

The last Alliance for Board Diversity report (2013) shows that for Fortune 500 companies, Asian Americans are last in the corporate board representation among all races:

  • African American: Men comprised 7.0 percent of the total seats, while women captured 2.2 percent.
  • Asian/Pacific Islander: Men comprised 1.9 percent, while women encompassed 0.8 percent.
  • Hispanic/Latino: Men held 3.5 percent, while women occupied 0.8 percent.
  • White/Caucasian: Men represented 67.9 percent of the total board seats, while women were at 15.9 percent.
  • As per 2010 U.S. Census figures, 31.4 percent of Pan-Asians over 25 have at least a Bachelor's degree in comparison to the national average of 19.8 percent. The Pan-Asian spending power in the U.S. is expected to exceed a trillion dollars by 2017.

    Partnerships in Motion

    Pinnacle is building relationships with National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), Alliance for Board Diversity (ABD) and Stanford University Rock Center for Corporate Governance. Pinnacle has also joined the Thirty Percent Coalition to work the demand side of board diversity. Additionally, to better understand progress made and lessons learned in the board space, Pinnacle partners with diverse organizations including:

  • Black Corporate Directors Conference (BCDC)
  • Catalyst
  • Executive Leadership Council (ELC)
  • Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR)
  • Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA)
  • Women Corporate Directors (WCD)
  • Pinnacle Membership

    Pinnacle has two categories of membership: Experienced public company board directors and aspiring board directors. Pinnacle uses the “pull” from the experienced and the “push” from the aspiring to create momentum for change. Members are encouraged to support Pan-Asian initiatives such as Pinnacle by becoming Lifetime Members of Ascend.

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