Diversifying Boards

Helping organisations build more diverse boards to better serve their customers.

Diversifying Boards
Since 2018, S&You (previously Acorn by Synergie) have been continually supporting the public sector and not-for-profit organisations with the recruitment of Trustees and Non-Executives to join and improve their boards.

Historically, these organisations have simply advertised their board vacancies across traditional channels or relied on their personal networks to attract interest which has led to a serious lack of diversity on boards and occasionally a lack of the core skills required to ensure they're properly governed.


Over the past 6 years, we've supported Welsh Sports Association, Cardiff Community Housing Association, ateb Group, Football Association Wales, Platffom, Cardiff Capital Region and more.

Starting in 2018, we tackled this issue by working with our clients to bring their board opportunities to a much wider audience and by targeting the specific skills their board were looking for.

It required a step change, moving away from mandating previous experience operating at board or a senior level, to instead looking at the transferable qualities that make individuals competent board members.

We still use traditional recruiting tools available to us to target the required professions/skills our clients are looking for, but we also ensure we were engaging with the communities that historically haven't entertained board positions. For example, we have partnered with charities and community groups who work with and support those from diverse backgrounds, or other protected characteristics, so we can reach, engage with, and promote opportunities directly to them.

Through consultation with these individuals, we can open their minds to the opportunity of working on a board, which often they felt was not open to them as they hadn’t previously seen themselves represented on boards and supported them to develop an application giving them the best opportunity to be successful in the recruitment process.

We often deploy asynchronous video interviews instead of the traditional application forms and covering letters, this allows for these qualities to be demonstrated in a more effective manner.

The result of these campaigns since 2018 has been a 100% track record of successfully appointing against board positions we have been instructed to manage, and in many cases, our clients have gone on to recruit more board members than they originally intended to and have subsequently come back to us for future recruitment campaigns.

This shows that there's a huge market of individuals out there with the required skills and core qualities needed to create diverse and competent boards. There's been an opportunity to further develop these skills, especially around governance understanding, internal and external audit, legal liabilities and other areas and we've supported several housing associations in Wales to set up 'Pathway to Board'.

This is a program developed to support those from ethnic minorities and with other protected characteristics, giving them the chance to be mentored by established board professionals and offering a range of workshops to get them ready to serve on a board.

Having supported the initial recruitment during the setup of this program, we continue to support by delivering interview workshops and one-to-one support for those throughout the program. You can check the program out here: Pathway to Board.



Hafan Cymru

“Their professionalism, depth of research and application was exceptional as was the approach they adopted to delivering a long/shortlist.  Their delivery was faultless, they delivered to time providing us with a diverse range of high-quality candidates.”



“The main reason why I keep working with Acorn is the feedback we get from candidates. Even those candidates that were unsuccessful have wanted me to know how Acorn supported them throughout the process and gave them such a sense of positivity.”


Ateb Group

“We received applications from a strong range of diverse candidates and due to the strength of the candidates Acorn attracted and supported to apply, we have recruited more than we originally intended to.”


Melin Homes

“We eventually recruited three new Board members, more than we had originally set out as the list of candidates was so strong.  We are really pleased with the work Acorn carried out and would be happy to use them again.”


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