The Academy for Advancing Excellence and Global Black Economic Forum Announce The Board Accelerator: A Program to Develop the Next Generation of Black Women Boardroom Leaders


The Board Accelerator is an innovative solution to support the next generation of Black women and other marginalized community members to become board leaders

The Global Black Economic Forum and the Academy for Advancing Excellence, a global  leadership development company of the forum that seeks to empower Black people and historically underserved communities to build leadership success, is proud to announce a new service offering – The Board Accelerator – during the Access and Economic Opportunity Summit at the 2023 Essence Festival of Culture. 

The Board Accelerator is informed by Dr. LaTricia Frederick’s research published at Vanderbilt University in 2022, titled “Mocha Pros on the Move”: An exploration of social factors affecting the diversification of corporate boardrooms for African American (Black) women, which determined a solution to closing board-level representation gaps is through exposing members of marginalized communities to board opportunities earlier in their career development. 

“The Board Accelerator program will prioritize developing a pipeline of capable upper-mid-level Black women leaders who are one or two levels below the C-Suite yet prepared to take on higher levels of responsibility.  Far too often we expect excellence from Black women and other marginalized groups without providing the tools, capacity, and support to succeed. With the Board Accelerator, we intend to provide a unique opportunity for Black women to build authentic relationships and obtain sponsorship and advocacy across industries with senior leaders who are active in serving on boards.” said Chief Operating Officer of the Academy for Advancing Excellence Aaliyah Haqq

“We have always known it to be true, but now we have additional research that confirms it: Diverse boards improve business outcomes. They help executives better understand how to win the business and loyalty of customers from various backgrounds. Every successful organization must understand that driving innovation and obtaining higher levels of collaboration requires intentional efforts to empower historically underserved groups. The Board Accelerator is a transformative effort to ensure underrepresented leaders, and especially Black women, have a seat at the boardroom table”, said Global Black Economic Forum President and CEO, Alphonso David.

Elements of The Board Accelerator Program include: 

  • The goal of developing mid-level Black leaders (Director and VP) who have the desire to obtain a board seat (non-profit; private and public boards) in the next 2-5 years.

  • Affording Black women the connections, access, proximity and exposure to succeed as a Board member.

  • Engaging with organizations who have an appetite to test out disruptive strategies that enhance their retention of top talent, reinforce their employer brand and align with broader ESG strategies.

The Board Accelerator operates by bringing together a mid-level manager and a senior executive at the VP level or above to engage in a shared learning experience. Through partner-pair coaching, program participants engage in face-to-face leadership development sessions in addition to group coaching. Through these interactions, participants will expand their networks and share a greater appreciation for one’s abilities to lead in the boardroom. 

At the 2023 Essence Festival of Culture, the Global Black Economic Forum hosted a session at the Access and Economic Opportunity Summit titled “Addressing Inequity on Corporate Boards” to announce this impactful initiative. The panel will feature speakers including Ceci Kurzman, Dr. LaTricia Frederick, Debra Lee, Andrew Davis, and Michelle Campbell.

About the Academy for Advancing Excellence

The Academy for Advancing Excellence is a subsidiary of the Global Black Economic Forum. The Academy is a global leadership development company dedicated to reimagining equity, equality and inclusion. The Academy provides training that drives behavioral transformation, coaching, consulting, thought leadership, and research. The firm has earned a reputation for advancing inclusion through innovative and positive disruptive solutions that address policies, systems and culture. At the core of the solutions is a focus on building accountability so real results can be sustained. The Academy seeks to shift how the workplace is experienced by ultimately shifting how institutions address and are held accountable on issues of equity and equality. 

About The Global Black Economic Forum 

The Global Black Economic Forum is an international enterprise focused on advancing the economic interests of the Black Diaspora and other marginalized groups through global summits, workplace training and leadership development, policy advocacy, and thought leadership.