[Interview] Marcia Ashong, Founder, TheBoardroom Africa
Marcia Ashong, of Ghanaian nationality, is an entrepreneur with experience in upstream oil and gas law, project management, consulting and business development. She founded TheBoardroom Africa, an outfit dedicated to increasing female boardroom participation in Africa, with her co-founder Tamsin Jones.
Could you introduce TheBoardroom Africa?
TheBoardroom Africa (TBrA) elevates and promotes qualified female talent to boards across the continent.
We break down barriers to help organisations realize the benefits of increased diversity on boards. Through our work, we’ve created a unique pool of peer-endorsed female leaders, and we’re working with leading investors and companies across the region to improve gender balance in Africa’s boardrooms. We’re driving the movement to recognize that when women and men lead side by side, business succeeds and society thrives.
When was TBrA founded?
I founded TBrA in early 2016 and Tamsin Jones later joined as Co-founder in October 2016.
How is TBrA funded, and who are your clients?
We work with clients across the globe, mostly Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), Private Equity Firms, Impact Investors and other organizations and corporations to increase the gender representation on their boards. We also partner with the same to provide training and coaching/mentoring to both our members and their female senior executives on board leadership.
Some of our clients include CDC Group (UK’s DFI and largest investor on the continent), Global Innovation Fund and Catalyst Partners.
What are the goals of TBrA?
We are already on track to achieving our goals, and continue to rely on key influencers in the business world, as well as the engagement of men in the leadership agenda of women.
Our longterm goal is to improve business/organizational performance by accelerating the placement of women on boards, and we achieve this through our leading database of board-ready women continent-wide who we promote for board opportunities by overcoming the challenges they face.
How has the business world responded to your services?
Very possitively, in such a short period of time we have secured a long term strategic partnership with the largest DFI presence in Africa (CDC Group), and continue to make impact amongst our key client group.
What does TBrA need to grow, prosper and reach its goals?
We need to dispel the myth that there aren’t enough qualified women out there ready to take on board leadership. By building the leading network of board-ready women we have already started to break down this myth, but more importantly we are working closely with the business community and key influencers through thought leadership to raise awarness on the benefits of diversity at the top.
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