Rising Star: Tristan Walker Advances Forward

David Drapkin


Retail executive and diversity advocate Tristan Walker has recently been named to his 2nd public company board this year:

  • Foot Locker (FL) in February
  • Shake Shack (SHAK) in June

At just 35 years of age, Walker becomes the youngest director on both company's boards. As corporations around the country are dealing with both a global pandemic and a social justice movement, younger, diverse candidates can provide the fresh perspective and energy that so many boardrooms likely need. Walker is the 2nd African American on Foot Locker's 11 person board, and the first on Shake Shack's 10 person board.

The Stanford Business School and Stony Brook grad is founder/CEO of Walker & Company (acquired by P&G in 2018), a health and beauty company focused on the needs of people of color. He is regarded as somewhat of a superstar in Silicon Valley. 

Walker hopes to use his growing platform to advance forward racial diversity in corporate America. Speaking to Bloomberg TV, he stresses that he shouldn't be the only call. 

Shake Shack has seen its share of negative press since the onset of COVID-19, and was publicly shamed into returning funds under the government's PPP program.

Foot Locker faces its own issues, the stock has languished amid COVID-19, down ~28% YTD as brick and mortar retail faces a reckoning.

Both companies are putting their money where their mouth is on diversity in empowering influential executives such as Walker:

"This isn't only about just donating to a few organizations, it's actually following up. Are you hiring folks who represent the audience that you're serving? Are you putting folks on your boards who represent the audience that you're serving?" - Tristan Walker