Category Archives: News

Nasdaq Pushes for Diversity in the Boardroom

It will ask the S.E.C. to approve a new rule requiring more diverse corporate directors.

Nasdaq will ask the S.E.C. this morning for permission to adopt a new requirement for the 3,249 companies listed on its main U.S. stock exchange: have at least one woman and one “diverse” director and report data on board diversity — or face consequences.

Nasdaq will require boards to have at least one woman and one director who self-identifies as an underrepresented minority or L.G.B.T.Q. (Those categories are not, of course, mutually exclusive.) To give companies time to comply, they will need to publicly disclose their board diversity data within a year of S.E.C. approval, and have at least one woman or diverse director within two years. Bigger companies will be expected to have one of each type of director within four years.

Companies that don’t disclose diversity information face potential delisting, while those that report their data but don’t meet the standards will have to publicly explain why. Over the past six months, Nasdaq found that more than 75 percent of its listed companies did not meet its proposed diversity requirements.

Nasdaq lobbied the S.E.C. to make diversity disclosure a rule for all companies. “The ideal outcome would be for the S.E.C. to take a role here,” Adena Friedman, Nasdaq’s C.E.O., told DealBook. “They could actually apply it to public and private companies because they oversee the private equity industry as well.”

  • It would be the first time a major stock exchange demanded more disclosure than the law requires, which Ms. Friedman described as “an unusual step.” It raises questions about whether exchanges could use their listing rules to force action on other hot-button issues, like climate change.

The move isn’t taking place in a vacuum. Goldman Sachs announced that it would require companies it helps take public to have at least one diverse board member. A new California law imposes a minimum number of minority directors on companies headquartered in the state. And institutional investors are pushing for more diversity under the E.S.G. banner.

Nasdaq cites research showing the benefits of board diversity, from higher-quality financial disclosures to the lower likelihood of audit problems. “Diversity of the board is an important element of giving investors confidence in the future sustainability of the company,” Ms. Friedman said. “It’s not like we’re saying this is an optimal composition of a board, but it’s a minimum level of diversity that we think every board should have.”

What happens next: After Nasdaq files its request, the S.E.C. will solicit public comments. That typically lasts several weeks, and then the commission will decide how to proceed.

A November to remember for stocks. The S&P 500 gained nearly 11 percent in November, its fourth-best month in 30 years, amid progress on coronavirus vaccines and clarity on the U.S. presidential election. (U.S. stock futures are also up today.) Speaking of gains, shares in Moderna more than doubled yesterday after the company sought emergency F.D.A. authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine.

U.S. officials are split on the risks facing the American economy. In testimony before the Senate today, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to call state and local lockdowns threats to economic growth, while the Fed chairman, Jay Powell, will cite rising coronavirus infection rates as the biggest challenge to the U.S. economy.

Editors’ Picks

The College Athletes Who Are Allowed to Make Big Bucks: CheerleadersWelcome to HomeownershipHow to Game Black Friday Travel Deals During a PandemicContinue reading the main story

G.M. scales back its partnership with the electric vehicle maker Nikola. G.M. said that it wouldn’t make an electric pickup for the start-up or take an equity stake, though it planned to supply hydrogen fuel cells. Shares in Nikola, which has been accused of exaggerating its capabilities, fell 27 percent.

Exxon Mobil takes a huge write down. The oil giant said it would write off up to $20 billion in investments in natural gas and drastically cut spending on exploration and production.

Credit Suisse names a new chairman and discloses a big fine. The Swiss bank has hired António Horta-Osório, the outgoing C.E.O. of the British lender Lloyds, as its chairman — and said it faced a $680 million penalty in the U.S. over residential mortgage-backed securities. Separately, UniCredit’s C.E.O., Jean Pierre Mustier, plans to step down in April after the Italian lender’s board rejected his strategic plan.

S&P Global said yesterday that it planned to acquire IHS Markit for $44 billion, including debt, the biggest deal announced this year. It highlights how data has become the most valuable commodity for business: the new oil, as they say. Harnessing data is at the center of a rush of consolidation, including Deutsche Börse buying a big stake in ISS, Nasdaq acquiring Verafin, ICE taking over Ellie Mae and the London Stock Exchange absorbing Refinitiv.

An “Aladdin’s cave” of data and insights. Doug Peterson, S&P’s chief executive, told DealBook that the deal was about “providing analytics and data and research and ratings that our customers can use to make decisions.” The combination of S&P’s A.I. financial analysis unit, Kensho, with the IHS data platform, Data Lake, would make it easier for customers to sift through vast data troves, he said. Lance Uggla, the C.E.O. of IHS Markit, told analysts the combination of the companies created an “Aladdin’s cave” — “it’s filled with opportunity,” he said.

  • The LSE-Refinitiv deal, which was announced last year, is still held up in antitrust review, a potential warning for S&P and IHS. Mr. Peterson said yesterday he was “very well advised” and didn’t think “there are any regulatory issues that can’t be resolved.”

More deals are expected. As firms race to acquire data, and the means to analyze it, bankers see more consolidation. Deals are likely to come from established data providers like Bloomberg, Moody’s, MSCI, FactSet and Verisk; exchanges that are pushing into the data industry like CME, ICE, LSE, Deutsche Börse and Nasdaq; and fintech challengers breaking into the business. Competition will be fierce: Bloomberg commands around a third of the data and analytics market and has a lot of financial firepower. The frenzy of speculation about Mike Bloomberg divesting the business he founded when he ran for president — some said it could have fetched as much as $60 billion — is another sign of how hot this market has become.

— Janet Yellen, the former Fed chair and nominee for the next Treasury secretary, in her first tweet.

How to build a more diverse, inclusive technology team

In recent years, corporate diversity and inclusion efforts have gained more traction. Companies increasingly recognize that building more diverse workforces is not only the right thing to do, but also offers considerable strategic advantages. After all, research suggests that diversity may be a crucial ingredient to building more innovative and successful companies.

But within companies, some areas remain less diverse, starting with technology departments. “It’s pretty well documented that there are certain ethnicities and gender profiles that are underrepresented in tech—Black, Latinx, women,” says Mark Mathewson, senior vice president of card technology at Capital One. “And that continues to be a challenge in the industry.”

The lack of diversity in the tech sector is problematic for several reasons. On a global level, the U.S. needs a stronger and more diverse technology workforce if it’s to remain competitive on the world stage. More locally, companies that can’t evolve and build more diverse tech teams may simply lose ground in a highly competitive marketplace. “I don’t see how you can be innovative and forward leaning if you don’t do that,” says Maureen Jules-Perez, Capital One’s vice president of HR technology.


Amid broader diversity-and-inclusion efforts, how can companies specifically confront these issues among tech teams? One way is through the recruitment and hiring process. For many companies, recruiting top tech talent means following a routine playbook: tap leading computer-science programs, stick with résumés that tick certain boxes, or rely on referrals from existing team members or trusted industry contacts. But those processes can yield a self-selected and homogenous group of candidates.

“When you’re searching for new hires, you have to put the investment up front to source candidates from many places and look for those candidates who might have non-traditional backgrounds,” Jules-Perez says.

Beyond sourcing talent, companies also need to be mindful of the steps they take to recruit these candidates. An interview panel made up of all white men, for example, may not give prospective hires a sense that the organization takes diversity seriously. “When you’re saying you’re a forward-leaning company, your interviewers have to reflect that,” Jules-Perez says. “In the corporate world, are we there yet? No, but we’re heading in the right direction.”


Diversity brings different voices and perspectives that tackle thorny issues or come up with innovative and disruptive ideas. Making sure all of those voices are heard—and that they feel comfortable speaking up—takes work. Jules-Perez joined as head of Capital One’s HR technology team 18 months ago, and among her first moves was to hire a leadership team of 10. She worked closely with that group to ground them in the culture she wanted to see: inclusive and representational of all of the people who would be on the teams. “I wanted everyone who came in to feel like they belong here,” she says. “That lets us have healthy debates and real talk, and removes some of the hesitation and fear. Because when you feel psychologically safe, you feel comfortable unleashing your superpowers.”

Creating that inclusive environment may involve heading off issues that might make some team members feel uneasy among their peers. An exclusive clique of employees or someone’s unconscious bias can result in tension within the group. Leaders must stay attuned to those issues, and to each individual on their team, to identify those who may feel disengaged or excluded. For instance, leaders may want to watch for those who might be struggling to get their voice heard in group conversations, and intentionally call on them to make sure they can share their perspective. “I make sure we have a pretty diverse group sitting around the table, and I continuously ask for their opinions,” Mathewson says. “I ask about where we got it wrong, or where we’re missing out on opportunities to include their perspectives.”


Sometimes, simply soliciting feedback from team members can help bring those teams closer together. Mike Eason, senior vice president of enterprise data and machine learning at Capital One, takes time during reviews of development sprints to not just look at the project’s deliverables, but also how the team operated during the sprint. Some of the most instructive information he learns during this process comes from questionnaires distributed to the team. “I’ve found these surveys to be really powerful,” he says. “You can identify and address hotspots where team members may not feel safe to bring their whole self to work, or find other areas that need attention.”

Creating a diverse and inclusive culture takes work—and it’s work that doesn’t happen overnight, whether at a startup or an established Fortune 500 company. It’s a crucial way for forward-thinking companies to stay relevant, competitive, and innovative. “You have to expect change, because change is a given,” Jules-Perez says. “Living things need to evolve to thrive. There’s no other choice.”

It’s Time for Tech Recruiters to Walk the Diversity Talk

Business leaders need to ensure that the hiring process is fair to all applicants, yet while many talent acquisition teams now have diversity initiatives in place, they lack strategies for how to find underrepresented minority talent.

According to a 2019 survey by recruiting software startup Gem, 50 percent of talent leaders say building diverse teams is a top 2020 hiring trend.

But a survey by Oakland, Calif.-based Gem found that around 49 percent of recruiters say that finding diverse candidates to interview is their biggest barrier to improving diversity.

Georgena Frazier, recruiting program manager at Gem, advised tech recruiters to confront their unconscious biases and to reconsider indicators of a candidate’s success, such as their affiliation with an elite university, their management experience and if they worked at notable tech companies.

“The more you can open your mind in this process, the better,” she added.

At the recent 2020 Talent42 Digital conference, talent acquisition leaders said conversations about hiring diverse tech talent must take place while searching, identifying and contacting potential candidates. 

“Don’t wait until you’re presenting candidates,” advised Carmen Hudson, principal consultant at Recruiting Toolbox in Seattle. “Set up times with hiring managers between the times your company is hiring. Have the conversation about what can be learned on the job early and often.”

John Vlastelica, founder and managing director at Recruiting Toolbox, explained that the perfect tech candidate doesn’t exist. If a candidate exhibits adaptability, curiosity, empathy and a desire to learn, then they can be trained on the more technical aspects of a particular role.

“The notion that there’s only one perfect candidate crushes your chances at bringing real diversity into your organization,” Vlastelica said. “It reinforces the very thing so many of us are trying to address—that there are actually multiple backgrounds and experiences that can be successful in this kind of role.”

Sourcing Underrepresented Talent

Frazier shared the following tips on how to find underrepresented minority talent:

  • Search at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), women’s colleges, tribal colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions. Also connect with fraternities and sororities with minority members.
  • Look beyond traditional degrees, including coding boot camps like Grace Hopper and Black Girls Code, as well as vocational and trade school programs.
  • Tap into professional organizations, such as the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers and Vets Who Code. Frazier also advised recruiters to partner with organizations that represent minority communities.
  • Seek out candidates with volunteer experience, along with those who have leadership roles at their religious and spiritual affiliations.
  • Use LinkedIn hashtags and join their communities, such as #HireBlack, #LatinxInTech and #LesbiansWhoTech. Then, dig into those groups, and react to posts and discussions. “Be an active member in the community,” Frazier said. “Listen more than talk.”
  • Grow your personal network and ask for referrals. Even if a prospect isn’t the best fit, their networks may have value in the future, she noted.

Moving Beyond Diversity

Vlastelica noted that improving diversity recruitment requires more than sourcing from underrepresented groups.

Hiring leaders and tech recruiters should seek to find “culture-add” candidates rather than those who just fit in with the current company culture, Vlastelica explained. Culture-add employees bring a different point of view that can make a positive impact on an organization.

“You won’t build a more diverse company if you hire noninclusive leaders,” he said, adding that HR practitioners need to check their gut feelings, biases and stereotypes about candidates. Confirmation bias, likeability and similarity biases are the enemy of inclusive hiring, he added.

“I believe talent is equally distributed, but access and opportunity are not,” he said. “Real progress happens when we change the whole system.”

Catherine Skrzypinski is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Diversity, inclusion lead to high performing teams

In recent months, the words “diversity” and “inclusion” have become the focus for improving the workplace and ensuring equitable treatment of employees.

But those words – when put into practice – also translate into developing a highly productive workforce, said the director of Army Materiel Command’s Office of Diversity and Leadership.

Speaking to AMC’s equal employment directors and managers, Paula Taylor encouraged creating a government work environment where employees feel comfortable to suggest innovative ideas, show initiative and develop themselves as leaders.

“Employees need to feel free and comfortable to be the best they can be at their jobs,” Taylor said. “When they are comfortable, they are more productive, and they are able to do their best job to enable Soldiers with the best innovative ideas, products and warfighting weapons. Employees who are healthy mentally and physically, and who are enabled to do their jobs can truly make a difference for our Soldiers.”

Taylor’s comments came during a virtual AMC Enterprise Equal Employment Opportunity Director’s and Military Equal Opportunity Adviser’s Forum Oct. 14-15, which involved equal employment opportunity professionals, and human resources leaders from AMC’s 10 major subordinate commands. The theme was “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – The Army’s Way of Life.”

Taylor, like many Army civilians, is retired from the military. She served 22 years in an Army uniform.

“The Army is an inclusive organization. We are integrated and we have a strong focus on understanding what’s going on in our communities,” she said. “The Army can lead the way for the country. We can show people how to live with inclusivity, diversity and equity.”

The Army’s Project Inclusion further solidifies its commitment to diversity and inclusion, first among its Soldiers and then among its civilian workforce, Taylor said. The Army’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Annex – better known as the DEI Annex – provides a five-year strategic plan for organizational, climate, structural and procedural changes that enable the Army to further build cohesive teams that increase Soldier readiness and lethality. It includes a Defense DEI Advisory Committee to implement diversity, equity and inclusion measures.

At AMC, senior leaders are committed to the Army’s People Strategy by focusing on ensuring civilian readiness and the implementation of Project Inclusion, Taylor said. Through leader awareness and commitment, education and training, and communication, the AMC workforce will be defined by a culture of diversity awareness and inclusion that eliminates racism and extremism, and provides transparent feedback between supervisors and employees, she said.

“We must continue our focus on Project Inclusion and use it to provide a structure that continues to enable us to build inclusive teams,” Taylor said.

Operationalizing Project Inclusion not only makes for a better work environment, but also builds AMC’s and the Army’s ability to acquire, develop and deploy the best civilian talent available. “We must spread the net wide to ensure we get a diverse group of highly skilled people to join this team,” Taylor said.

Transparency in the hiring and promotion process, providing employee opportunities for education and development, and resolving employee conflicts in the initial stages are all essential to furthering the ideas of Project Inclusion.

“We are looking for an equitable and inclusive environment for all our employees,” Taylor said. “We will teach leaders how to communicate effectively and be inclusive, and treat all employees fairly. We must maintain and sustain diversity and inclusion throughout our ranks. All employees must know they are valued and needed to accomplish the mission.”

To expand diversity, equity and inclusion within the Army civilian workforce, the DEI Advisory Committee will:

• Develop and implement a diverse talent management framework that recommends methods for support of DEI principles, equitable treatment and inclusive leadership practices;

• Use the Army civilian performance management systems to integrate employee and leader engagement opportunities;

• Ensure the use of career development, coaching and retention;

• Integrate DEI practices into Army civilian talent management policies, practices and operations;

• Enhance career management and progression for high performing civilian talent based on knowledge, skills, behaviors, preferences and mission requirements; and

• Develop DEI strategies to address hiring, development, employment and retention.

“Diversity and inclusion in the workplace enhance performance and productivity. They are business, economic and social imperatives,” Taylor said. “Diversity and inclusion strategies must be strategically aligned with business goals. Diversity management strategies must be complemented with inclusion strategies and effective conflict management.”

progress report: Diversity in American Entertainment

Diversity in American entertainment has always been lacking. Many television shows and movies have mostly white actors and white male directors. A majority of entertainers who have won Oscars, Grammys and other awards are white.

However, diversity in American entertainment has slowly increased over the years.

Diversity in Movies

As of 2018 and 2019, movies have become more diverse, casting women and people of color to act in films. Researchers found that in 2018, “41.0% of lead roles went to women and 26.6 to minorities. And among all acting roles in those films, 40.4% went to women and 30.9% to people of color” (Newsroom). 

Newsroom also reports that in 2019, “Women had 44.1% of lead acting roles” while “People of color made up 27.6% of lead actors and 32.7% of all film roles in 2019.” 

So, compared to previous years, diversity in movies has improved in depicting characters that are persons of color.

In 2011, The Opportunity Agenda observed how black males were portrayed in movies. Researchers discovered that “images in the media have a negative impact on black perceptions of self” by portraying black male characters with “negative media stereotypes” such as “thugs, criminals, fools and the disadvantaged.” The only role models that represented black males were “rap stars and NBA players.” 

It appears that the American movie industry is beginning to move past these harmful stereotypes. In 2018, the Marvel Cinematic Universe made Marvel superhero films more diverse by releasing the amazing action-filled movie “Black Panther.” 

Before “Black Panther,” the Marvel Universe mainly consisted of white male superheroes, such as Iron Man and Captain America, and only had two white female superheroes, Black Widow and Scarlet Witch. 

The only black superheroes in Marvel movies before Black Panther were War Machine and Falcon,  first introduced in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War.” These two heroes are minor characters, partners and friends of Iron Man and Captain America. 

“Black Panther” is the first African American superhero movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Besides having only two white male actors, the cast of “Black Panther” mostly consists of people of color. 

 People need movies like Black Panther because it is important that everyone feels represented. The American entertainment industry needs to create characters that are good role models that people can admire. 

In 2021, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will create three diverse superheroes in the movie “The Eternals.”

Actor Brian Tyree Henry, an African American male, will play  Phastos. Don Lee, who is an actor from South Korea, will play Gilgamesh. Actor Kumail Nanjiani, who is from Pakistan, will play Kingo. 

 Chloe Zhao, a woman of color, will be producing, writing and directing “The Eternals.”

Diversity in TV Shows

Like movies, diversity in television shows has also improved. In 2018 and 2019, “Minority actors were almost proportionally represented (35.0%) among lead roles in scripted cable shows” (Newsroom).

Newsroom also reports that “Women actors achieved parity in lead roles of digital scripted shows (49.4%) and almost did so among lead roles in scripted cable shows (44.8%).” 

For example, the sitcom “Fresh Off The Boat,” stars a Taiwanese-Chinese American family. The show aired from 2015 to 2020 and ran for six seasons. 

The show, which was quite successful, was “The first network TV comedy with an all-Asian cast since Margaret Cho’s ‘All-American Girl’ premiered 20 years earlier” (AP News).

Diversity in Music Award Shows

Music award shows have also taken a step towards diversity ever since the South Korean band BTS won the 2017 Top Social Artists Award at the Billboard Music Awards. 

BTS has won several awards from the BMA’s such as the 2018 and 2019 Social Artist Award, the 2019 Duo/Group Award and the 2020 Social Artist Award. They are the first South Korean boy band to win an American music award. 

BTS is said to be the “first group since The Beatles to score three number one albums in less than a year” (SCMP).

BTS’s success has opened a door filled with opportunity to not only other South Korean musicians, but to other international musicians. 

Diversity in Video Games

Movies, tv shows and music award shows are not the only forms of American entertainment that are becoming more diverse. There are many video game characters that are a person of color or are a part of the LGBTQ.

Blizzard Entertainment tries to create diversity and inclusion in their games by creating games and characters that appeal to everyone.

Blizzard Entertainment stated that they are a company that is “committed to creating an inclusive culture rooted in our core values that unlocks the power of diversity to deliver the most epic games and entertainment.”

Many characters in the game “Overwatch” are a person of color. There are also two characters part of the LGBTQ community.

Lucio, Genji, Mei and Sombra  are a few characters from the game who are persons of color. Tracer and Soldier 76 are from the LGBTQ community. 

Why is Diversity in Entertainment Important?

According to Data Commons, there are around 7,594,270,356 billion people who are currently living on Earth. In America, the population is around 328,239,523 million, with each person holding their own opinions, beliefs and personalities.

According to the United States Census, 76.3% of the population is white, 18.5% is Hispanic or Latino, 13.4% of the population is Black or African American, 5.9% is Asian, 2.8% Two or More Races, 1.3% is American Indian and Alaska Native and 0.2% is Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.

Many Americans are a person of color, but there are not many characters that are a person of color. Having diversity in entertainment is important because it represents all Americans and creates more role models that will inspire people. 

The American entertainment industry has improved by creating more diverse characters, but there is still more room for improvement. 

In 2021, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will create three diverse superheroes in the movie “The Eternals.”  Chloe Zhao, a woman of color, will be producing, writing and directing “The Eternals.”

Actor Brian Tyree Henry, an African American male, will play  Phastos. Don Lee, who is an actor from South Korea, will play Gilgamesh. Actor Kumail Nanjiani, who is from Pakistan, will play Kingo. 

David Dinkins, New York City’s First Black Mayor, Dies At 93

FILE – In this Monday, Jan. 2, 1990, file photo, David Dinkins delivers his first speech as mayor of New York, in New York. Dinkins, New York City’s first African-American mayor, died Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. He was 93. (AP Photo/Frankie Ziths, File)

David Dinkins, New York City’s only African-American mayor, died Monday night at 93.

Dinkins led New York in the early 1990s as its mayor, a position he called “the greatest job there is.”

Dinkins’ office operations manager, Lynda Hamilton, confirmed his death to NPR early Tuesday.

Dinkins broke barriers with his 1989 election, managing to defeat three-term incumbent Ed Koch during the Democratic primary that year and later to best Republican Rudy Giuliani in the general election. Giuliani would go on to defeat Dinkins for the position four years later.

Early Tuesday, Giuliani expressed his condolences on Twitter, saying of Dinkins, “He gave a great deal of his life in service to our great City. That service is respected and honored by all.”

Dinkins’ tenure came at a contentious time for a city that was plagued by economic woes, crime and racial tension. Many criticized his handling of those tensions in some of the city’s neighborhoods and particularly with a slow response to the 1991 Crown Heights, Brooklyn, riots.


David Dinkins: Leading New York Is The ‘Greatest Job There Is’

In an interview with NPR in 2013 following the release of his book, A Mayor’s Life: Governing New York’s Gorgeous Mosaic, Dinkins expressed deep love for the city.

“I think it’s the greatest town in the world,” he said, adding that he thought the passage of time would put a new light on his legacy.

“I’m confident that when people look back … 20, 30 years, they might say, ‘Oh, gee, you know? Those guys did a pretty good job,'” he said.

Dinkins was a graduate of Howard University and Brooklyn Law School. After his political career, he was a professor at Columbia University.

His death comes just a little more than a month after his wife, Joyce Burrows, died at the age of 89.

A diverse workplace isn’t necessarily an inclusive one

As our workplaces continue to grow increasingly diverse and the business case for diversity, equity and inclusion becomes undeniable, organizations across industries are understanding the importance of cultivating an inclusive workplace in which all employees feel welcomed, respected, supported and valued.

Diversity reporting has become a normative practice in organizations across many industries. However, these reports say little about an organization’s inclusiveness, because a diverse workplace isn’t necessarily an inclusive one.

While inclusion is a key ingredient to a successful business, it is not an automatic result of a diverse workforce. Verna Myers, Netflix’s vice president of inclusion strategy, helped drive this point home when she famously stated that “diversity is being invited to the party (and) inclusion is being asked to dance.”

This quote was instrumental in sparking the national conversation about inclusion in the workplace, but I think it’s time that we begin to think about inclusion beyond just asking someone to dance. Because when the song that you are dancing to is over, typically that means that dance is over, too.

If our inclusion efforts stop at asking someone to dance, then we will fall short at creating an inclusive environment in which all employees, regardless of their social and cultural identities, feel a sense of belonging and feel valued enough to fully participate.

I agree with Myers that diversity is being invited to the party, but inclusion is not just being asked to dance—it is being asked to help choreograph that dance. When we invite our historically under-represented employees to help choreograph the dance of our organizations, we provide them with an opportunity to help contribute to the success of our businesses.

Inviting talented employees of diverse identities to contribute their ideas and insights helps pave a path for them to secure a seat at the decision-making table and works to create validation and recognition for employees who often go unrecognized.

When employees don’t feel recognized or included, it diminishes their sense of belonging to the organization and discourages them from showing up to work as their true, authentic selves. This negatively impacts their performance and commitment to an organization, and oftentimes leads to the revolving door, which comes with not only a cost to company morale but also a hefty monetary cost to the organization.

Empowering others with the opportunity to help choreograph the organizational design is an intentional act of inclusion that can result in a renewed sense of commitment and belonging to the organization, working to ensure the retention of people of color, women, LGBTQ+ and other minoritized employees whom we value and worked hard to recruit.

Intentional inclusivity is a key to the success of our diverse workplaces. Business leaders who aspire to be inclusive should be intentional about inviting their historically underrepresented employees to contribute insights and experiences. An invitation to help choreograph the “dance” of our businesses is not only an act of empowerment, but it can also help ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion is being deliberately designed into the DNA of our organizations.

Cindu Thomas-George is the founder and principal trainer of Shakti Diversity & Equity Training based in Chicago.

Exclusive: Apple hires Intel’s Barbara Whye as its new head of diversity

Barbara Whye, Intel’s diversity chief

Apple has announced a new vice president of inclusion and diversity. Barbara Whye, who has made a name for herself as Intel’s head of D&I, will join the iPhone-maker in early 2021. (Apple refers to the function as “inclusion and diversity” versus the more commonly used “diversity and inclusion.”)

“An engineer by training and a globally-recognized leader on issues of representation in the technology industry, Barbara has spent 25 years at Intel, helping the company make meaningful and durable positive change,” Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokesperson, said in a written statement provided by the company. “Now, she will bring her immense talents and deep experience to Apple, expanding our companywide effort to hire, develop and retain the world-class talent, at all levels, that reflects the communities we serve.”

Apple’s last head of diversity, Christie Smith, left last June. Since then, the company had been in the process of looking for a new exec. (Smith came on board after long-time Apple insider Denise Young Smith left the position and the company in late 2017.)

Whye, who made this year’s Fortune Most Powerful Women list for the first time, has set a high bar for heads of diversity during her time at Intel, which she first joined in 1995. Unlike most other tech companies, the chipmaker set—and met—a goal of reaching representation within its employee base: the racial and gender breakdown of its nearly 111,000-person workforce mirrors the breakdown of the “skilled” labor market in the United States. Under Whye’s leadership, the company reached this goal two years ahead of schedule. 

It’s no wonder, then, that Apple came knocking at Whye’s door. 

In June, following the killing of George Floyd by a police officer, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a $100 million racial justice initiative. Other tech executives have also spoken out against racial violence and in support of increasing racial representation across their ranks. But there is growing concern that the racial reckoning that began in the United States and across the world last spring will be a moment and not a continuing movement. 

Apple has made incremental but consistent progress in diversifying its workforce. According to its diversity website, 24% of the company’s U.S employee base in 2018 was composed of “underrepresented minorities. But in that same year, 53% of new U.S. hires were from underrepresented groups. (The company is in the process of updating these figures.)

Meet Victor Glover — 1st Ever Black Astronaut to Have Extended Stay on NASA’s Space Station

Victor Glover made history when he stepped foot on the International Space Station on November 17. He is the first African American to join a six-month mission in the orbiting station.

On board Resilience, SpaceX Crew Dragon’s capsule,  Victor Glover left Earth on the evening of November 15. In a video shared by NASA on Twitter prior to the flight, the 44-year-old astronaut said:

“It is humbling and overwhelming…Thank you for your support for your love.”

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the manned Crew Dragon spacecraft attached taking off at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida | Photo: Getty Images

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the manned Crew Dragon spacecraft attached taking off at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida | Photo: Getty Images


Glover joined three other crew members – fellow NASA astronauts Shannon Walker and Mike Hopkins and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi – for SpaceX’s first-ever contracted, fully operational astronaut mission to the orbiting station for NASA.

The astronaut, who has four children, will serve as a crew member for the Expedition 64 and Expedition 65 missions on the International Space Station.

Now serving as pilot and second-in-command on Resilience, the California native was serving as a Legislative Fellow in the United States Senate when he was chosen as an astronaut in 2013.


He was one of eight members of the 21st NASA astronaut class. But Glover, who will spend time in orbit for more than six months, does not allow his achievement to get into his head.

He has been passing on the credit to his crewmates and the other people behind the launch of the mission dubbed Crew-1. He said in a press conference last week:

“I am honored to be in this position and to be a part of this great and experienced crew.”


Glover vowed to do his best to give justice to all the work that has been put into the mission by many people. Considering his training and educational background, he is sure to finish the challenge with flying colors.

Among other educational accolades, Glover holds a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering, a Master of Science in Systems Engineering, and a Master of Science in Flight Test Engineering.

Glover is not the first African American astronaut to ever step foot on the orbiting lab, however.


Why Diversity And Inclusion Are Crucial In Times Of Disruption

In times of increasing disruption and uncertainty, companies need to continue to prioritize diversity and inclusiveness (D&I) for the benefit of their culture — and their bottom line.

Catalyst recently released research based on a number of studies over the last few years which suggest that D&I help to recruit and retain top talent; improve creativity, innovation and performance; and boost a company’s brand among consumers. Additional research from the World Economic Forum indicates that companies that champion D&I are also more profitable.

Yet, recent insight from DiversityQ indicates that as organizations switch to survival mode to address the impacts of a global pandemic, “anything that is considered ‘nice to have’ is being jettisoned, with senior stakeholders unable to prioritize anything that isn’t absolutely key to the business.”

The stark and penetrable reality is that D&I are not “nice to haves.” They are “absolutely key to the business.”

Now, more than ever before, companies need an agile and diverse workforce, guided by inclusive leaders who can draw out their people’s fullest potential. To achieve this, companies need to nurture workforces that reflect the communities in which their people live. Here are three ways we at EY have found to embed a D&I culture to help build a better working world.

1. Cultivate a sense of belonging.

A strong sense of belonging has multiple benefits for organizations. It can lead to better collaboration, employee retention and improved business performance. When people feel as if they belong, they are more motivated and engaged. They can feel free to be themselves and have psychological trust in offering different points of view without negative repercussions. And they believe that their contributions matter.MORE FOR YOU50 Mantras That’ll Help You Through Every Difficult Situation In LifeTarget Sales Just Shocked Wall Street. Here’s How CEO Brian Cornell Did It.Murdered, Suffocated And Burned Alive: 350 Transgender People Killed In 2020

During the pandemic, where increased physical distancing has been mandatory, creating a sense of belonging has been important for the well-being of the workforce. At EY, we host virtual open forum sessions where employees can listen and learn from one another. We’re also promoting our online D&I learning resources and asset libraries, where people can download assets such as wallpapers and backgrounds to show D&I pride and further promote the importance of an inclusive working environment to their extended networks.

2. Apply the preference, tradition and requirement (PTR) model.

Biases are part of human nature. Some are conscious; others are unconscious. To help leaders reflect on their biases, EY uses a preference, tradition and requirement (PTR) model. Rather than a one-and-done program, PTR is a decision-making strategy that asks leaders to regularly pause and consider diversity and inclusion when creating their high-performance teams. PTR helps leaders to continuously assess their preferences toward candidates similar to themselves, explore whether traditional characteristics of a role or outcome may be coloring their judgment and make decisions based on the requirements of the post or team, rather than either of the first two factors. This strategy allows people to question the status quo without accusing colleagues of being biased.

3. Use a roadmap to track improvements to company culture.

Within the organization, our own internal analysis suggests that groups with leading-class engagement demonstrate eight percentage points higher better retention, four points higher revenue growth and eight points higher gross margin. In charting a roadmap for D&I success, we use a continuum along which we’ve posted four milestones:

• Establish a baseline and cascade awareness: During this initial stage, the organization sets the tone at the top, gathers data and looks for inconsistencies.

• Identify meaningful change: At the second milestone, organizations will want to review talent and business processes with an inclusive lens and assess and encourage flexibility.

• Recognize and reward role models: At this point in the journey, leaders will want to recognize everyday actions that demonstrate inclusive teaming and share stories from and about inclusive leaders.

• Enable culture change: At the far end of the continuum, it’s time to set specific goals, then monitor and communicate progress.

Leaders must strive to consistently reach the fourth milestone and consistently sustain a D&I culture. Some parts of our organization have reached the far end of the continuum, while other parts are working hard to make progress. Regardless of where teams are today, expect the entire organization and all team members to move up the continuum.

Embrace D&I For A Stronger Culture And Stronger Financial Performance

As a growing number of global voices call out for more diverse and inclusive opportunities, now is the time to fully embrace D&I as a strategic business imperative. Companies that embed D&I into their cultural fabric, rather than apply it as window dressing, will find they can reap a host of rewards for their effort — from stronger culture, higher creativity and access to new talent pools to boosting the bottom line.

« Older Entries