The Board Connection, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase the number of women serving on corporate boards and in the executive suite, has merged with the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance at The University of Texas at Dallas.
Kelly Harris, a partner with Dallas-based consulting firm Harris & Dickey LLC and a member of both groups, spearheaded the merger initiative to further the interests of both organizations.
“The benefit of merging with IECG was to expand TBC’s network via the IECG’s wider network of like-minded individuals,” Harris said. “Partnering with UT Dallas gives us a broader platform as well as the ability to have a greater impact on public policy and the resources to elevate information. We have the talent — we just needed a broader reach. Joining forces with IECG gives us a more diverse organization.”
Melisa Denis, a partner in KPMG LLC, a Big Four accounting firm based in Dallas, started The Board Connection in 2009 with a mission of helping women prepare and network for board positions. The organization identifies and connects accomplished women in the state of Texas, expanding their influence within their respective business communities.
“While our members have quite a bit of nonprofit service — that is both valuable and good —the talent and experience of the women of TBC can make a bigger impact in corporate America,” Harris said. “This merger will help us reach that goal.”
The addition of TBC’s members has increased IECG’s roster size from 151 to 185. The percentage of female members has increased from 22 percent to 36 percent.
Dennis McCuistion, executive director of the IECG, sees the merger as well-timed and mutually beneficial.
“We are so active right now and are going to get even more active in helping people actually get on boards,” he said. “With all the programs and events we have now, we can continue to build our members’ skills and get people much more knowledgeable about our new members and their skills. We’re always interested in increasing our gender diversity, so adding them to our group is another contribution we could make on the diversity side, as well as gaining talent. These women bring a perspective that we may not know, and I think that can help us all.”
— Jimmie R. Markham