There is no better way to celebrate Women’s History Month at RubiconMD than by announcing the incredible addition of Nikia Bergan to our Board of Directors.
It’s no secret to anyone that Gil and I deeply care about diversity and inclusivity - we’ve invested in it from day one. That being said, while we tend to fare better than many tech startups in terms of gender or racial diversity across all levels, we recognize that there’s one place where we’ve historically lacked gender diversity: the boardroom.
Unfortunately, this is also the case in most companies across the globe. The Deloitte Global Center for Corporate Governance report ‘Women in the Boardroom’ showed in 2019 how women hold only 16.9% of board seats worldwide.
This reality is even more dire when it comes to startup boards. A 2019 Crunchbase study of Gender Diversity In Private Company Boardrooms showed that across heavily funded startups, only 7% of board seats are held by women. One could argue that this is due to the vast underrepresentation of women in investing, but the study also shows that even for independent board seats, there are four male directors for every one female director.
Given we have such a diverse workforce, having diversity in the boardroom matters even more. As Professor Francis Frei describes in this HBR article, “diverse teams can underperform homogeneous teams if they’re not managed actively for differences among members.” If we want to unleash the impressive talent of our diverse workforce, we need diversity of all kinds in our boardroom.
Nikia, who is a major proponent of gender diversity at her company, GetWellNetwork, emphasizes the strategic importance of female leadership in healthcare businesses: “women make 80% of healthcare buying and usage decisions for themselves and their families, and represent 65% of the workforce. If we want to improve the way in which care is delivered we need to better address the unique drivers of decision making for female healthcare consumers.” And for us, though women represent only 37% of the total number of physicians across all specialties, there is significantly higher female representation in primary care, where women make up 45% of physicians, 63% of physician assistants, and 83% of nurse practitioners. As a company supporting primary care clinicians, the strategic value of female leadership at all levels is clear.
For all of the reasons listed above, it matters to us on a personal level to keep pushing for gender diversity on our board. We were fortunate to add our first female board member, Laura Veroneau, in 2018. She led the Optum Ventures investment into RubiconMD and quickly became one of our most active and valuable board members. Following our Series C fundraiser last year, the board agreed to add an independent board member and we kicked off our search.
Last fall, we were introduced to Nikia Bergan and were immediately impressed by her talent, professional accomplishments, and contagious energy. Her leadership style, deep healthcare knowledge, and experience scaling businesses will certainly help us take RubiconMD to the next level.
Meeting Nikia and a select group of senior female leaders through this search was an absolute privilege for me and Gil, as well as a source of inspiration and motivation to see how talent, courage, and hard work have taken these women to the top of their organizations, a path that is not trivial in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Bringing Nikia onboard represents a very important milestone for us but the journey doesn’t stop here; at RubiconMD, we remain committed to building a diverse and inclusive culture across all levels of the organization.