Boards are our business
Our Commitment to DEI and ESG

Our Commitment and Contribution to Equitable and Sustainable Governance

At WATSON we see governance as an evolving field. How organizations think about their purpose and impact is changing, and so too is how boards and executives bring that to life through governance and leadership.

We’re privileged that the organizations with whom we work trust us to help them understand what is important to them, how they want to lead in a changing world, and the implications for their governance and leadership – and we learn from them in turn.

We work to listen, learn and be at the front of change, so we can be a voice that speaks up for the things that are important for our society. We know that to do this well we need to look first to our own capabilities and practices. As such, we have a dedicated cross-practice team focused on how we:

  • Embed ongoing learning at WATSON: we continuously build our awareness, knowledge, and understanding
  • Hold ourselves accountable: we evaluate ourselves and survey our own team about their experiences, acknowledge our limitations and blind spots, and stay both humble and accountable
  • Evolve our work: we make sure that how we guide our clients, what we put in our frameworks and how we approach our projects is thoughtful, progressive and forward-thinking
  • Contribute positively: we want to be trusted partners and leaders for all aspects of governance and leadership, bringing a lens of equity and sustainability to all that we do
  • Create and support impact: we value the insight that people bring through their lived experience and we amplify important messages and stories, adding insight to help our network evolve governance and leadership for the future

Our WATSON team is diverse in terms of racial, ethnic and cultural background; economic background; education; age/generation; and sexual orientation – and we believe we would all benefit from it being even more diverse. We continue to strive to attract and grow people who bring different lived experiences; this is a priority in our recruitment and development. We also work with a valued team of WATSON collaborators who contribute to our work and add to our diversity.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

Our commitment to advancing governance and leadership is inseparable from a commitment to DEI. It is central to our corporate purpose that we advance a society where every member has full opportunity to thrive and contribute.

We help organizations embed DEI in their governance and leadership, within the scope of our practice areas.

  • Exploring with boards how they can become more diverse, equitable or inclusive in their own recruitment, onboarding, evaluation, and succession practices as well as their dynamics and practices in the boardroom
  • Developing frameworks, structures, and practices for boards and leaders to bring more diversity, equity and inclusion to their organization, at the level of oversight for people strategies, culture and metrics
  • Partnering for director and executive search to find candidates with diverse backgrounds and lived experience, including broadened sourcing, blind selection processes and other activities
  • Developing and reviewing practices such as executive succession planning, performance evaluation, and structure to build in DEI concepts
  • Facilitating work to address issues of culture and inclusion; identifying and addressing root causes with a lens of strengthening organizations for the future
  • Helping boards and executives weave DEI concepts into how they evaluate themselves and prioritize development and performance

Environmental Social and Governance (ESG)

ESG is about the consideration of environmental, social and governance factors in measuring an organization’s sustainability and societal impacts along with financial factors when reviewing investments and making decisions. We have a deep commitment to sustainable organizations that make a difference to our societies and our economies for the long term; this is embedded in our own corporate purpose.

We help organizations understand how to evolve their governance to reflect these considerations – in terms of process, frameworks, mindset and leadership. Examples include:

  • Facilitating board and executive discussion and/or learning about how to bring ESG to life in governance
  • Updating a board skills matrix to reflect new areas of expertise required
  • Searching for directors who can bring new expertise to the table
  • Helping bring ESG to life at the executive team level through succession planning, top team structure and top team development
  • Facilitating stakeholder mapping, strategic planning and other processes with a strong ESG lens
  • Supporting updates to board structures, processes and materials, such as committee structures, terms of reference, and governance capacity
  • Weaving ESG concepts into board, director and CEO evaluation processes