OnBoard is a brilliant chronicle of the rise of Black women on America's boards and the evolution of board diversity from Patricia Roberts Harris in 1971 to the present day, as seen through the eyes of a group of fearless women organized during the Summer of 2020 to create change. Merline Saintil, a former Tech COO and Robin Washington, a former CFO, were well-known in the boardrooms of America. During an ordinary phone call between the two women, something extraordinary happened– the movement to create an organization to expand the opportunity and exposure of Black women who can impact America's boards. Black Women on Boards, the now global organization of 200+ members, was conceived at that moment.
The film paints a telling picture of America's corporate boards through the pioneering Patricia Roberts Harris, who became the first Black woman to sit on a board in 1971, and the compelling stories of contemporary Black women who are a part of the BWOB movement. The film unpacks the importance of diversity on corporate boards and how it can benefit businesses and the recently overturned California law, which required minimum requirements for female directors and directors from underrepresented communities on their boards.
Written and directed by Deborah Riley Draper, known for critically-acclaimed films, including fashion cult classic Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution and the seminal sports documentary Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, the film beautifully unpacks the story of Black Women on Boards, a movement 50 years in the making and over 400 years held at bay.
Merline Saintil never met Patricia Roberts Harris but understood that Mrs. Harris placed a fixed line 50 years ago for Merline to discover and then amplify and multiply. "I always knew I would build something impactful – many thought it would be as a Tech COO. It turns out that it would also be for building an ecosystem for accelerating outcomes for current and future business leaders," said Saintil. "OnBoard is as much a business story as it is the story of understanding the importance of truly democratizing the American dream." Shannon Nash adds “Today, unlike before this film, when you google the first Black woman to sit on a board, Patricia Roberts Harris is the first name you see. We literally changed Google!”
Executive Produced by Shannon Nash, an award-winning filmmaker whose film Colored My Mind, won the American Pavilion Film Award in Cannes, public company board member, tech CFO, attorney and CPAand former Tech COO and prolific board member Merline Saintil, who has taken six companies public in partnership with Coffee Bluff Pictures. OnBoard is a powerful and inspiring film about change, access, and the future of business and the journey of Black women and America's boardrooms.
See IMDb page for Lacy Barnes (Producer) here.
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