Big Lots sees gender diversity on board as ‘strategic advantage’

Marianne Wilson
Marianne Wilson profile picture
Big Lots board members (from left to right) Nancy A. Reardon, Marla C. Gottschalk, Cynthia T. Jamison, Wendy L. Schoppert, Bruce Thorn, Kim A. Newton, and Sandra Campos represented Big Lots at the Women’s Forum of New York’s 2021 Breakfast of Corporate Ch

Big Lots has been recognized for advancing women’s leadership in the boardroom.

The discount retailer was honored for its boardroom representation at the Women's Forum of New York's 2021 Breakfast of Corporate Champions.The Nov. 10 event recognized 243 large public companies with at least 35% of board seats held by women. Big Lots was one of 44 large public companies with a female board representation of 50% or more. Six of Big Lots’ 10 independent board seats are currently held by women.

“We salute Big Lots for their impressive success to achieve greater gender balance in their corporate boardroom," said Breakfast of Corporate Champions founder and chair, Janice Reals Ellig, CEO, The Ellig Group. "As part of the Women's Forum of New York's ongoing Corporate Board Initiative, we're proud to honor Big Lots as an important member of the 2021 class of Corporate Champions who are determined to lead the way."

Women make up roughly 70% of Big Lots customers and a majority of the company's more than 35,000 associates.  As part of its overall diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, the company has an employee resource group dedicated to women, where ideas and opportunities related to personal development, cultural belonging, and the company's future growth strategies.

"We see gender diversity in our boardroom as a strategic advantage," said Bruce Thorn, president and CEO of Big Lots. "We believe that diverse perspectives across all aspects of our business make us stronger, and bring us closer to our customers, associates, and communities. Every difference makes a difference. It's just smart business for us to build that into how we operate every day and at every level."

"We're proud of the diversity, equity and inclusion work that we're doing, but there's always more work to be done," Thorn added. "We'll continue to seek opportunities to amplify diverse perspectives and lift up under-represented populations."

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Big Lots operates 1,421 stores in 47 states.