Corporate gender diversity mandates are beginning to take hold in the United States, with the state of California being the first to pass a law to require publicly traded companies in the state to have at least one female director. To better understand how diversity works in the boardroom, Wharton management professors Stephanie Creary and Mary-Hunter McDonnell, along with Sakshi Ghai LPS18, research coordinator for Wharton People Analytics, and Wharton doctoral student Jared Scruggs, interviewed 19 board directors across the U.S. The main takeaways? Social diversity (race/ethnicity, gender, religious and age diversity), professional diversity, and an egalitarian atmosphere are the most important when building a successful board. Read more about their findings in Harvard Business Review here.

This is far from the end of Creary and McDonnell’s research: The professors are now recruiting active board directors for a survey study that builds on their findings so far. If you are interested in participating, please contact Ghai at They are also exploring future collaborations with the Executive Leadership Council Inc.—an organization that prepares black executives for service on corporate boards—and the Athena Alliance, which aims to accelerate gender diversity on corporate boards and is led by CEO Coco Brown C92.