Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

SYDNEY, AUS – New Australian company Future Directors Institute has won a place among international giants at the 13th Annual International Innovation in Diversity Awards run by the Profiles In Diversity Journal.

Nominations in 2016 came from Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States, where the top five global leaders in diversity innovation were:

  1. United States Olympic Committee – Diversity and Inclusion Scorecard Program
  2. HP Inc. – HP Reinventing the Standard of Diversity
  3. Cisco – Cisco’s Diverse Representation Framework
  4. Future Directors Institute – Board Kickstarter Program
  5. State Street Corporation – Professional Women’s Network: Mentoring Circles

The Future Directors Institute has been awarded for its work in empowering boardrooms by championing intergenerational and cultural diversity to bring about positive financial, economic and social change through its Board Kickstarter Program.

“Our plan is to build a movement of future board directors who are innovative, influential and feel responsible for the future in an uncertain world,” said Future Directors co-founder and CEO, Paul Smith.  “We want to develop future-thinking individuals who are interested in more than just their career, and we aim to change the traditional makeup of boardrooms around the world over the next 10 years.”

Launched in 2015, Future Directors Institute has mentored over 200 young people 20-49 years of age with professional talents other than standard boardroom skills of law and accounting to include engineers, HR professionals, marketers, digital natives and social entrepreneurs.

“It doesn’t matter how big a company you are,” said Smith, “innovation around diversity is a source of resilience, innovation and strength in the boardroom, and vitally important for the new economy.  Younger people tend to view diversity of culture, race and gender as normal. It’s just basic common sense to have a diverse board of directors that can lead startups, big listed companies, governments or non-profits into the future, who can think like their consumers, collaborate with their people and solve problems in new ways.”

In the next few years, millennials will be the biggest part of the workforce, says Smith, and they feel very differently about work and life in general.

“The average life expectancy of any company is now just 15 years. Big businesses like Dick Smith fail not because of a lack of product, but lack of best practice governance and strategy. Failures are getting faster and faster as industries are getting disrupted. Change is constant, and if you don’t have brains on the board who can cope with change and bring a different way of thinking, there’ll be trouble.”

Smith believes that culture and governance go hand in hand, because culture breeds good performance and good outcomes.

“According to Gallup, globally only 13% of employees are positively engaged at work. That number is staggering. We have two of the Big 4 consulting firms sending us their staff, as they recognise that by training people to be better leaders they are getting more progressive employees.”

The Future Directors Institute also runs a Startup Boardroom program, and is introducing an Influencer Program for managers wanting deeper understanding of how to influence and interact with their own boards in 2017. 


About Future Directors Institute and Profiles in Diversity Journal

Future Directors Institute is an Australian-based business dedicated to building better boardrooms through increased human diversity and more focused organisational outcomes via its Boardroom Kickstarter Program. Formed in 2015, Future Directors Institute has so far trained 200+ purposeful leaders to understand their unique contribution to society, and find their voice on boards that best match their skills and values. The Future Directors Institute is also working to become a B Corporation in the very near future.

Profiles in Diversity Journal is dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion across all sectors around the world. In its 19th year, the publication is widely respected for stimulating organizational change by showcasing visionary leadership, innovation, and commitment to action. Editorial contact: Ruth Hawk, Editor-in-Chief [email protected] +1 412 401 1009 or +1 440 892 0444.


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Paul Smith, Co-Founder & CEO

M: 0416851072


startup, boardrooms, boards, international, diversity, innovation, award, board kickstarter program




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