Pinterest announces first Black board member

Pinterest has appointed Andrea Wishom, president of real estate company Skywalker Holdings* and former Harpo Studios executive, to its board of directors. The appointment makes her Pinterest’s first Black board member and third female board member.

Pinterest added its first female board member in 2016, when it appointed Michelle Wilson, a former Amazon executive. Wilson was also the company’s first outside board member.

“I’ve spent my entire career inspired to take on challenges both creatively and culturally,” Wishom said in a statement. “I’m particularly interested in Pinterest’s expansion into content and media. I’m equally interested in Ben’s vision of having a new type of conversation between employees and the board itself. Part of meeting this moment is looking outside the expected and bringing different perspectives to the table. There are real challenges to address, and that responsibility is not lost on me. I’m committed to listening and sharing my perspective and providing guidance as Pinterest continues to make positive strides forward.”

Wishom’s appointment came following months of meetings with candidates, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann said in a statement. He said Wishom stood out for several reasons.

“She’s an expert in creating positive and inspirational content for global audiences, and a passionate advocate for building a company culture of respect, integrity, inclusion and support — areas in which we must innovate and improve,” Silbermann said. “Andrea has spent her career outside of Silicon Valley and has a vision for reimagining the board/employee relationship.”

This announcement comes a couple of days after Pinterest employees staged a virtual walkout to demand systemic change as it relates to gender and racial discrimination. The walkout was a direct response to former Pinterest employees speaking out against gender and racial discrimination. Last week, former Pinterest COO Françoise Brougher sued the company, alleging gender discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination. Prior to that, Aerica Shimizu Banks and Ifeoma Ozoma also accused Pinterest of discrimination.

“These are not isolated cases,” workers wrote in a petition. “Instead, they are representative of an organizational culture that hurts all Pinterest workers, and keeps us from achieving our mission of bringing everyone the inspiration to create a life they love. We recognize that Pinterest has been a leader in diversity and inclusive hiring, with the diversity goals for new hires. It’s become clear that this is not enough, and that the diversity goals need to apply from the top down, not just the bottom up. Not only will diverse and inclusive leadership prevent discrimination and harassment among workers, it will help us build a product that is relevant on a global scale.”

Employees are demanding full transparency about promotion levels and retention, total compensation package transparency, the people within two layers of reporting to the CEO to be at least 25% women and 8% underrepresented employees and a commitment to a diversity goal for the third layer reporting to the CEO.

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Skywalker Holdings is a trampoline company. While that is true, Wishom works for a different Skywalker Holdings.