History & Mission


OnBoard, formerly the Board of Directors Network (BDN), was founded in 1993 by Margaret “Peggy” (Espinda) LaFreniere. Inspired by a conference put on by The International Alliance for Women regarding women on boards, Peggy and the 37 other charter members started OnBoard. The initial focus was increasing the number of women on corporate boards of both public and private companies.  The mission later expanded to include women in leadership positions because those women were in the best position to fill the pipeline of qualified women to serve on corporate boards.

OnBoard was among the first organizations in the country to recognize that the mission to increase the number of women on boards would require an organized effort. And the first, in the United States, to field a study benchmarking the number of women on corporate boards.  The OnBoard study has been reporting progress for Georgia public companies since 1993. OnBoard was a founding member of ION, the InterOrganization Network, a national nonprofit umbrella organization dedicated to increasing the number of women on for-profit boards and in executive suites.

Today, OnBoard has grown into a prestigious organization as the leading authority on women in the boardroom and executive suites of Georgia public companies. OnBoard advocates for women, inspires them to take leadership and connects them to opportunities.  The organization gives out two awards annually:

  • The Lettie Pate Whitehead Award, started in 2003, is awarded to the woman board member who has served as an outstanding role model for advancing the mission of increasing the number of women in executive leadership and on corporate boards.
  • The Executive Leadership Honor Roll, debuting in 2007, is awarded annually to three Georgia based women leaders to highlight OnBoard’s mission to increase the number of women in executive leadership.


Increasing the Number of Women in Executive Leadership and on Corporate Boards