Women on Boards Project Announces Consortium With Esteemed Private Equity Firms and an Inaugural Cohort of 20 Consumer Companies to Spark Industry-wide Movement Towards Greater Gender Diversity

Initiative Focused on Increasing Female Board Representation

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Women on Boards Project (WOB), a nonprofit with the mission of empowering women business leaders and improving diversity and inclusion at the board of directors level, announces today the launch of a partnership with leading private equity firms and an inaugural group of 20 companies to increase gender diversity and inclusion on consumer private company boards.

The WOB Project’s newly formed partnership with leading private equity firms includes powerhouses such as VMG Partners (a co-founder of WOB Project), L Catterton, Swander Pace Capital, Alliance Consumer Growth, TSG Consumer Partners, Encore Consumer Capital and CircleUp. These firms represent a movement to drive change within the private equity industry to bring diversity to boards, recognizing that diversity improves business results.

To start, 20 private consumer companies – including aden + anais, Mented Cosmetics, Urban Remedy and SimpleMills – have signed on to the WOB Project, committing to enhancing gender diversity on their boards. The WOB Project will support a new cohort of 20 companies every six months to participate in the initiative pro bono by helping them identify strong, diverse candidates for their boards. For each company, WOB Project will collaborate on a candidate scorecard, compensation parameters, interview and research strategy. From there, WOB Project will provide 5-10 candidates that fit the criteria and will continue to support each company as they work to enhance gender diversity on their respective boards. The WOB Project has developed a strategic partnership with theBoardlist and their community, which comprises 14,000 women, along with the community that WOB Project has developed as veterans within the consumer industry.

“Women currently drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing,” said Cassie Nielsen, co-founder of Women on Boards Project and Vice President of Talent at VMG Partners. “Without immediately addressing diversity and inclusion in our boards and leadership, our companies and industries will not meet the needs of our consumers and drive the innovation and fact-based decision making needed to drive growth and profitability in this evolving marketplace.”

“As we spoke with CEOs and private equity firms in our industry, we recognized the urgent need to address board representation, so we launched the Women on Boards private equity consortium and 20-company initiative. The purpose of Women on Boards Project is to create an industry-wide change,” said Sheryl O’Loughlin, co-founder and co-chair of Women on Boards Project, former CEO of REBBL Inc. and Clif Bar and co-founder of Plum Organics. “We are so humbled by the outpouring of support we have received and are energized to jumpstart this movement and make significant strides towards greater gender diversity.”

“We are honored to partner with the Women on Boards Project,” said Robert Brown, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Encore Consumer Capital. “In order to take brands within our portfolio to the next level and ensure all represented at the company have a voice, we need to make sure we are hearing from a diverse team. With the help of this initiative, we will be able to find the perfect candidates for the boards of companies such as Ancient Harvest.”

“We are honored to be among such phenomenal company within the private equity consortium, and TSG is committed to advocating for this change within our portfolio and throughout the industry overall,” said Jenny Baxter Moser, Managing Director at TSG Consumer Partners.

“We are thrilled to be part of this important initiative and look forward to continuing our portfolio’s journey toward gender equality both at our boards and company management,” said Heather Fraser, Managing Director and CFO at Swander Pace Capital.

For more information on Women on Boards Project, or to become a partner, please visit WOBproject.com.

About Women on Boards Project:

Women on Boards (WOB) Project was created in 2020 by industry leaders to increase the number of women serving on boards while also expanding diversity including race, ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, and sexual orientation, gender fluidity.

The board of the Women on Boards Project includes:

  • Kara Cissell-Roell, General Partner, VMG Partners
  • Mita Mallick, Head of Diversity and Cross Cultural Marketing, Unilever
  • Brianna Rizzo Brown, Principal, Talent, Stripes
  • Alex Hanifin, Vice President Marketing, the Good Crisp and former CEO Alpine Start
  • Melissa Facchina, Founder, Siddhi Shots
  • Cassie Nielsen, Vice President of Talent, VMG Partners
  • Sheryl O’Loughlin, former CEO of REBBL Inc. and Clif Bar and co-founder of Plum Organics

For more information, please visit WOBproject.com.

About Women on Boards Private Equity Consortium:

The WOB Private Equity Consortium is formed of the below industry leaders who are committed to diversifying the boards of their portfolio brands. For more information on the Women on Boards PE Consortium, please visit WOBproject.com.

About Women on Boards 20 Company Initiative:

The WOB 20 company initiative will select 20 companies every six months to help them find the right candidates for their boards. For more information, or for consideration for the next initiative, please visit WOBproject.com.


Denisa Caldova
Baldeep Tahim


Denisa Caldova
Baldeep Tahim