E.E. Ward Moving & Storage Company: A True Family Business

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OAKLAND POST — Entrepreneurial journeys may vary, but all who have started businesses have at least one thing in common: They can look to the experiences of those who came before them for inspiration.  There have been many great African-American entrepreneurs through history who have blazed trails for today’s successful business owners. One of them was John T. Ward.

Tamara Shiloh

Born in Richmond. Va., in 1820, Ward, founded E.E. Ward Moving & Storage Co. in 1881 with two horses and a wagon. What started out as a stop on the Underground Railroad has flourished into what is now the oldest African American owned-business in the United States.

Ward’s family has longstanding roots in Ohio dating back before the Civil War.  Ward was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, which ran through Columbus. During the war. Ward received government contracts to haul munitions, supplies, and equipment for the U.S. Army.

Ward began preparing what would have been his “business plan” for a moving company as early as 1859.

He performed contracted hauling jobs for wholesale and produce houses, and transported goods and merchandise from warehouses and storage yards to commercial sites and markets.

After the war ended. Ward’s son William joined him in the moving industry. But William later left for a position at the Union Transfer and Storage Company, where he navigated the tanks, becoming teamster, work supervisor, foreman and rate clerk. In 1881, the father and son team connected their experiences and opened Ward Transfer Line, a wagon transportation business in downtown Columbus.

Ward’s youngest son, Edgar Earl. at age 18, joined the company in 1889, assuming its management. It was then that the company name was changed from Ward Transfer Line to E.E. Ward Transfer and Storage Company. The company, in every sense of the word, had become a family-owned business. (read more)


Diversity Emergency

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Data indicates the nation’s EMS workforce is largely white and male, holding potentially harmful consequences for public health.

AS A BOY GROWING UP IN St. Louis, Larry Penton was fascinated by comedian Bill Cosby playing a wisecracking ambulance driver in the bawdy 1976 comedy “Mother, Jugs and Speed.” He often found himself thumbing through medical journals his mom, then in nursing school, brought home from time to time.

But young Larry couldn’t imagine himself, an African American kid, inside an ambulance, adrenaline surging, siren screaming, racing to help someone in an emergency. Back then, he thought that job was for white people, or for black actors playing fictional ones on screen.

“I didn’t think black people qualified for it – it was something that we didn’t do,” says Penton, 48, who grew up, finished school and went on to a career in information technology. “I thought it was an anomaly when I saw Bill doing the movie. But I thought, ‘Hey, he’s an actor – he’s playing a role.'”

A recent study, however, indicates Penton’s childhood analysis of the emergency medical services profession wasn’t off base. It indicates that, although more women and Hispanics are completing certification training in recent years, the profession is largely white and male, and struggles to put more minorities and women on the job – particularly African Americans.

Doctors Wanted

That lack of diversity may perpetuate persistent health disparities between whites and minorities, according to the study, published this summer by the journal Prehospital Emergency Care. (read more)

College athletes selected to join NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After thorough evaluation of athletes from universities across the country, NASCAR and Rev Racing have chosen seven participants to join the 2019-20 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program.

The former collegiate athletes were selected based on a fitness assessment held in May at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. The assessment tested their agility, strength and flexibility, followed by the participants learning the different crew member positions during a pit stop simulation.

Those selected will relocate to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a six-month pit crew training program led by Phil Horton, Rev Racing’s director of athletic performance. They will train to become tire changers, carriers and jackmen, with hopes of one day earning a spot on a national series race team.

NASCAR Drive for Diversity provides opportunities for women and minorities to pursue career opportunities in NASCAR on pit crews, in the driver’s seat through the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program and off the track through the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program.

“We are inspired by the level of athletes we’re seeing enter the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program,” said Jusan Hamilton, NASCAR’s director of racing operations and event management. “With a wider range of colleges and universities partnering with NASCAR and Rev Racing on this program, the talent pool continues to expand and so does the pathway for each of the new members to achieve success with top race teams.”

Dalanda Ouendeno is among this year’s NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development Program participants. Ouendeno was a standout defender on the University of Miami women’s soccer team before trying out for a pit crew development role with Rev Racing. (read more)

Lee Daniels Launches Diversity-Focused Career Workshop For Creative Development


The career workshop gives aspiring creatives from underrepresented backgrounds an inside look at the entertainment industry under the mentorship of experienced and acclaimed professionals. Chosen individuals will have the opportunity to attend various workshops, meetings and experiences with Lee Daniels Entertainment and Represent executives. The workshop will also include studio visits and an exclusive trip to the working set of an upcoming Lee Daniels Entertainment Television production.

“It has been my goal to create opportunities for diverse creatives and to tell inclusive stories,” said Daniels. “I have always been about giving all creatives a chance and the Lee Daniels Entertainment Creative Workshop is another step in driving Diversity and Inclusion in Hollywood.”

Those who would like an opportunity to take part in the Lee Daniels Entertainment Creative Workshop (aka LDE Creative Workshop) must follow Lee Daniels Entertainment and Represent by OMV on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. To be considered, you must submit an Instagram, Facebook story or post 15-second video on why Lee Daniels Entertainment and Represent by OMV should select you for this experience. All submission videos must activate the @tag for the official Lee Daniels Entertainment and Represent by OMV social accounts.

Fifth Third Bank Named to Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index

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Company Recognized for Creating an Inclusive Workplace

Fifth Third Bank is pleased to announce that for the second consecutive year, it has been recognized by Diversity Best Practices, a division of Working Mother Media, for creating an inclusive workplace. Fifth Third was among 80 organizations nationally to earn the honor.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190819005454/en/

“We are honored to be included in the 2019 Diversity Best Practices Index,” said Stephanie Smith, vice president and chief inclusion and diversity officer, Fifth Third Bank. “This recognition supports our commitment to inclusion and diversity across Fifth Third and how we work to improve lives. We look forward to doing more and while we take this as an opportunity to celebrate, we are focused on how to continually foster an inclusive environment for all.”

Diversity Best Practices uses an inclusion index to help organizations understand gaps in demographic representation and create a road map to drive internal change and solutions through proven best practices.

This year, 148 organizations participated in the index, a 17% year-over-year increase. Results reveal opportunities for all organizations to target their diversity and inclusion efforts for greater effectiveness. An index, unlike a list, does not have a set number of organizations to recognize. Instead, a threshold percentage is set, at which point any participant with that percentage or better qualifies for the index. Fifth Third was one of the companies that met or exceeded the threshold.

“The Inclusion Index continues to grow as more and more organizations are willing to be transparent about their progress and workforce demographics,” says Deborah Munster, vice president, Diversity Best Practices. “I applaud their D&I efforts and will continue to set a high bar in order to drive change and accountability.”

Some of the key findings from the 2019 Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index include:

  • Recruitment: 43% of all participants mandate diverse candidate interview slates, while 86% of all participants train recruiters to ask culturally competent questions of diverse applicants.
  • Advancement: 61% of all participants have diversity in their executive succession planning.
  • Company Culture: 75% of all participants hold managers accountable for diversity and inclusion and 35% of all participants compensate managers for diversity and inclusion results.

The Inclusion Index Data Snapshot featuring highlights from the report can be found here.

Eight Steps To Start Or Grow A Diversity And Inclusion Initiative

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One of the best ways to recruit, engage and retain employees is to create an inclusive workplace culture. Most organizations are already on the diversity and inclusion bandwagon, but small- and midsize companies may be considering how to build it into their programming or expand an initiative already in place. While there is no one way, the following eight steps are sure to provide a powerful start and keep you on track.

Lead from the Top: Moving the needle takes a commitment from the top down. Any chink along the chain could impede progress or, even worse, sabotage the credibility of the initiative. The best way to gain commitment is to make diversity and inclusion an organizational goal and include it in performance metrics. Some business areas will require more specific measures, such as recruiters ensuring a diverse candidate pool and hiring managers avoiding homogeneity. Check out this article suggesting eight steps to setting meaningful diversity and inclusion metrics.

Rely on Experience: Building a successful diversity and inclusion initiative requires a unique set of skills. Successful diversity practitioners offer leadership, influence, collaboration, strategy and strong communications skills — written and spoken – in addition to having an excellent command of diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism. If you don’t already have a subject matter expert managing diversity and inclusion, hire one. And if you do have someone in place, ensure resources are allocated to continue their training and networking with leaders in this space.

Measure Employee Attitudes: Surveying employees to gain insight into the corporate culture is critical. Questions should help establish the level of understanding employees have about the subject, how inclusive they believe the culture to be, the level of trust they have in the company and their management and their perception of organizational commitment. Consider including scaled responses to an age-related question like, “I understand the value that people of different ages can bring to work.” Or “I enjoy working with colleagues older than me.” Use pulse surveys for intermittent checks, but administer employee surveys annually to measure progress toward goals. (read more)

Why Leaders Need to Care about Diversity

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Eileen Murray is the co-CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates—one of a handful of women to reach the pinnacle of the finance industry. Since she started working in the industry, the percentage of women in senior leadership roles has grown from less than 1% to closer to 20%. But she says that the top leaders at financial firms need to do more to foster diversity—or risk falling behind in the race to innovate.

The numbers tell the story of the challenge. While 90% of financial services firms claim to value diversity, “women still represent fewer than one in five positions in the financial-services C-suite,” according to a survey by McKinsey. The New York Times reported that “less than 10% of United States portfolio managers at mutual funds and exchange-traded funds are women.” A study by Oliver Wyman said that if trends continue, women will reach 30% of executive committees in financial services…by 2048.

Eileen Murray, co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, has watched the slow evolution of the industry over the course of her career, and says, “I know where we are. I know our reality. Now how do we change that and make the reality something that we’d all be proud of?”

Murray argues that it is essential for the most senior leaders in a firm to make diversity a priority. “If top leaders don’t make it a priority, it won’t get the kind of action and traction it needs,” she says. “The leaders need to be there through innovative change, in my opinion, to basically work through the challenges and difficulties.”

And those leaders need to think hard about how to weave diversity into the strategy of the firm and the incentives of all its employees. “Start to remunerate them for it. If you incentivize people, they figure out a way to get through obstacles. They figure out a way to get what seems impossible done,” says Murray.

Murray spoke with Yale Insights about the benefits that accrue to organizations that can support true diversity. (read more)

How Are Wall Street’s Biggest Banks Doing When It Comes to Diversity? Congress Is Not Impressed

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The House Financial Services Committee has spoken—and it says Wall Street needs to step up when it comes to including women and minorities.

After hosting a who’s who of big bank CEOs over a round of hearings this past spring, the HFSC released an analysis on Tuesday of diversity data and policies from some of the nation’s largest financial institutions—including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

While it won’t come as a great surprise to those who follow the financial services industry, the data shows that banks are lagging significantly when it comes to including women and minorities in their senior leadership. Women comprise only 29% of the board of directors at the biggest Wall Street banks, while minorities represent only 17% of board seats—this despite women being 50%, and minorities 40%, of the U.S. population.

With not one female or minority CEO at the helm of a U.S. “megabank,” Wall Street’s leadership continues to be heavily white and male. In fact, women and minorities combined comprise less than 25% of all senior leadership positions at the big banks, the HFSC said.

It also appears that the banks have yet to make improving their diversity practices a priority. None of the major megabanks employ a chief diversity officer reporting directly to their CEO, according to the committee, while only 1 out of 25,000 bank employees are dedicated to diversity practices. (read more)

Don’t Move the Needle on Diversity — Break It: African-American Leaders Meet in Portland to Tackle Inclusion at AAFF


By now, much of the footwear and fashion industry’s diversity challenges are well documented.

From fashion label fallouts to athletic brand missteps, the past few months have seen many footwear and apparel brands face the harsh reality of their inadequacies on the diversity and inclusion front.

The executives, designers and aspiring shoe-industry practitioners who convened in Portland, Ore. over the weekend for the second African American Footwear Forum, were all seemingly on the same page: No need to flog a dead horse. The industry has its shortcomings. For this gathering of the shoe industry’s minority rising stars: The focus was on tapping solutions.

“In order to move the needle, we have to break the needle: [Leaders] need to understand that diversity is not only a good thing to do but it is essential to the bottom line,” said Darla DeGrace, founder and diversity, equity and inclusion strategist at Boston-based DeGrace Group, who on Saturday joined Bimma Williams, co-founder of Claima, for a conversation about “unlocking the footwear industry.” (Williams co-founded storytelling platform Claima — short for “claim a seat at the table” — after a stint at Adidas.)

“When you can make a case for [inclusion] and leaders start to understand [the importance] of diversity, they’ll start to put some goals and metrics behind it,” DeGrace added. “It wont’ be fluff [and] it won’t be ‘I’ll just hire this head of diversity.’ There will be resources and time committed and [key performance indicators] that are affiliated with it. It’s not just going to be ‘a check the box.’”

The day-long event, held at the Portland Art Museum on Aug. 10, marked the second time this year that members of the shoe industry unified for the African American Footwear Forum, which was formed through a partnership between Washington, DC-based Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America and Portland-based Pensole Footwear Design Academy.  (The inaugural event took place in Washington, DC in February.) (read more)

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer: Retail’s Latest C-Suite Hot Seat

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Whether it’s racial or gender bias, equal rights, or body shaming, brands have been under the microscope when it comes to the statements they make through their products. I outlined in a recent article a few of the more shocking missteps made by Macy’s (NYSE: M), H&M (SS:HMB), Burberry (BRBY.L), Prada (HK: PRADA) and others in the past few months.

As I mentioned, these mistakes were a direct result of ignorance and carelessness on the part of these retailers and brands, and of neglecting to test the products before launch. While the perpetrators, likely thanks to their savvy PR and marketing teams, quickly apologized and promised to do better, the continued, steady occurrence of these blunders points to an extreme disconnect between retailers, brands, and the customers they serve.

Not surprisingly, we are simultaneously seeing the rise of the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. GQ recently called out this trend as the “hottest new role in fashion,” and notes that even if it may be reactionary, “the fact the industry’s biggest players are willing to learn from their mistakes and restructure policies and practices accordingly can only be a positive thing.”  (read more)

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