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OnBoard: Film on Black Women on Boards Premieres at Tribeca Film Festival

A new film chronicling the rise of Black women on America’s boards premiered this week at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival.

OnBoard showcases the rise of Black women in America’s public and private boardrooms. It follows the evolution of board diversity from Patricia Roberts Harris in 1971 to the present day, as seen through the eyes of Black American women who are making a positive difference in global corporate spaces 

OnBoard Film

Told through the eyes of Merline Saintill, a former Tech COO and Robin Washington, a former CFO, it highlights an ordinary phone call between the two women where 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 (BWOB), the now global organization of 200+ members, was conceived at that moment.

“OnBoard is a must-see documentary, said Nathalie Walton, VP of Brand and Social Impact & Board Advisor at Babylit, who attended this week’s premiere. “The movie chronicles the struggles and triumphs that Black women must overcome to make it in the most coveted room: The Boardroom. It’s hard to walk away from the film not feeling inspired to conquer your wildest dreams.”

Telling the tale of the pioneering Patricia Roberts Harris, who was named to the board of directors of IBM, becoming the first Black American woman to sit on a Fortune 500 company’s board of directors.  The documentary also highlights compelling stories of contemporary Black women who participate in the BWOB movement.

The film also unpacks the recent Los Angeles Superior Court ruling requiring companies to include women on their boards of directors. The court found that the state’s gender diversity rule violates the equal protection clause of the Californian Constitution.

Written and directed by Deborah Riley Draper, critically acclaimed for her previous cult-classic Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution, and her seminal sports documentaries Olympic Pride and American Prejudice.

The film was executively 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 CPA and former Tech COO and prolific board member Merline Saintil, was Nash’s executive co-producer, who has taken six companies public in partnership with Coffee Bluff Pictures.

Director Deborah Riley Draper told UrbanGeekz, “I am always inspired and thrilled to tell a story that centers on the lived experience of Black Women.  This story is about an organization that reaches back and across to create pathways for Black women to bring their invaluable experiences to America’s boardrooms but this is also the story of Black women’s journey in America. ”

OnBoard is a must-see powerful film about change, access, and the future of business.

Video and image courtesy of Onboard



    Zara Shepherd-Brierley
    Zara Shepherd-Brierley
    Zara Shepherd-Brierley is a General News Reporter for UrbanGeekz