Finding And Hiring Diversity Executives For Your Company

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In the 1980s, diversity became a popular theme in movies and TV storylines, and perhaps this is why there is a resurgence of ’80s popular culture in shows like Stranger ThingsGlow and Pose. As new generations of talent begin to rise through management levels, diversity and inclusion has become a pivotal business best practice and tool for attracting and retaining talent. Candidates are often weighing more than just a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, benefits and reputation when making a career move.

As awareness surrounding diversity and inclusion grows, organizations will need to transform leadership teams and cultures to reflect changing social values. Companies that can’t keep up with this shift, or choose to ignore it, could be left behind. Emerging generations are taking inclusion to new levels, and a company can quickly suffer these consequences within a viral, social and hashtag-dominated society.

To accommodate this shift, companies are hiring and onboarding new leadership dedicated to cultivating diversity and inclusion. Traditionally, diversity and inclusion fell under human resources (HR). It still very much aligns with this department, but now has become its own special area of focus. The challenge many companies are facing is how to access this elite and hidden talent.

Finding And Hiring Diversity Talent

Internal talent acquisition teams are a great starting point for building a talent strategy, but when it comes to executive-level appointments, sometimes they are unprepared. Even your own experts need help finding talent that may be outside their reach, and this is where executive search can help. Executive search firms can offer objectivity for hiring strategies and access broader candidate pools.

Through years of specialization and expertise, executive search firms can strategically look beyond your direct competitors to identify rising leaders in other markets and bring these insights to your search. It’s important to look at several things when partnering with an executive search firm, especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Prior to engaging with a search firm, consider the following: (read more)

AMC Responds to Racial Profiling Incident by Firing Employees, Donating 20,000 Free Tickets to ‘Harriet’ Film

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AMC Theatres is doing damage control after a group of Black women allege they were racially profiled by staffers during a recent showing of “Harriet” in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie, Louisiana, earlier this month.

Three employees have been fired as a result of the incident, and the theater chain is continuing to make amends.

Members of the 504 Queens, an African-American women’s empowerment group and nonprofit, claim they were humiliated during a Nov. 3 trip to see the critically acclaimed film. Their outing was ruined when two employees and a kitchen staffer confronted the women about an apparent mix-up with their tickets.

Sandra Gordon, a member of the 504 Queens, said she thought the issue had been resolved. But she would be interrupted twice more by employees who accused her of being rude to a worker who came to check her ticket earlier. (read more)

In ‘Thanksgiving Play,’ Native American Playwright Larissa FastHorse Tackles ‘Wokeness’

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Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse’s hit satirical comedy “Thanksgiving Play” takes on wokeness and displays how humor can fuel change by sparking productive dialogue around race and equity.

“Thanksgiving Play” is about four white adults struggling to devise a politically correct elementary school production of the first Thanksgiving for Native American Heritage Month.

The director of the fictional play hires an actor she believes is a Native American to be their cultural compass. The cast defers to this actor for her guidance but it’s later revealed she’s a white actress who plays Native American characters.

The play challenges the myths surrounding Thanksgiving, FastHorse says, and how celebrating the holiday erases and flattens indigenous experiences.

“To acknowledge indigenous culture and history in this nation, we have to acknowledge complicity,” FastHorse says, “and that if you’re here, you’re on stolen land, however you got here.”

The play is running at the Geffen Playhouse Theater in Los Angeles, and it ran last fall in New York. “Thanksgiving Play” is traveling to other parts of the country and American Theater Magazine ranked the play as one of the 10 most produced plays in the 2019-2020 season.

FastHorse says she’s happy so many people are seeing the show, but she also considers it her most depressing success.

Almost all of her previous plays required casting at least one indigenous actor to play a role she believes must be played by an indigenous person, she says.

“I was told my plays were uncastable over and over again,” she says, “even with one half Native American character — that it just wasn’t possible.”

But FastHorse says that reason doesn’t hold up. She believes people haven’t tried to produce plays with Native American actors, so she created this play with an all-white cast to put a spotlight on contemporary indigenous issues.

Through humor, “Thanksgiving Play” takes on the mythology of pilgrims and Indians finding peace over a meal — and also what FastHorse calls “performative wokeness.”

The liberal-leaning theater community has helped her succeed in her career as a playwright, she says, but it also tends to favor fostering the appearance of change over embodying real change.

“Lots of really well-meaning white people are in charge of American theater,” she says. “Over-striving to do the right thing and not screw up and not make mistake creates this weird paralysis where real change doesn’t actually happen.”

Preformative change is a problem facing American theater and the liberal left in general, she says.

“Real change is messy and difficult, and has all kinds of mistakes and all kinds of problems and hurts feelings,” she says. “And then we find our way through it.”

From the Sicangu Lakota Nation, FastHorse says her message is for the white people who often make up the majority of a theater audience, but she also included a few jokes for people of color and indigenous people specifically.

The second half of “Thanksgiving Play” happens when the performance ends and the audience is left to consider why they accept the traditional myth of Thanksgiving — a story FastHorse did not learn herself.

Growing up in rural South Dakota, Thanksgiving was about family, gratitude and celebrating the harvest. She didn’t hear the pilgrims and Indians narrative until she was doing research for this play.

As a half Native and half white playwright, FastHorse says her “superpower” is translating experiences and culture of indigenous people to white audiences.

“If everybody loved my work, I’d be really bummed out because I wouldn’t feel like I’m doing my job right,” she says. “I’m there to get in your head and make you think differently.”

Starbucks hires Nzinga Shaw as global Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer

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American coffee company and coffeehouse chain, Starbucks has hired Nzinga Shaw as global chief inclusion and diversity officer.

After five years, Shaw exits the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena where she has been chief diversity and inclusion officer.

“I am overly grateful to the Hawks ownership, CEO Steve Koonin and NBA organization for giving me an opportunity to create internal and external programs with diversity at the core,” Shaw wrote on LinkedIn.

Shaw is an alumna of Spelman College, the University of Pennsylvania, and was a study abroad scholar at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Prior to becoming the first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena she was a Senior Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the world’s largest and most profitable public relations agency, Edelman.

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She has also worked in human resources at Essence Magazine, the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, and the National Football League.

Meanwhile, Shaw is also on the Board of Directors of the National Black Public Relations Society and the Georgia Diversity Council and was named among the 2017 Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 Under 40 Awards honoree

Reacting to her new role, Shaw said she is “thrilled to join such an iconic brand as Starbucks to leverage the power of Inclusion “one cup, one person, one community at a time!”

Shaw, an experienced executive with extensive hands-on experience and knowledge of diversity & inclusion, change, talent acquisition, organizational planning, employee relations, branding, and community engagement said her daughter is her inspiration.

“She is the light of my life, she makes me think about all of the possibilities for the future. She gives me hope that the world can be a better place than it was when I was growing up. She’s in a very multi-cultural school that is not segregated and I see so much hope for equity and for equality looking through the lens of her eyes. So, she inspires me to continue to do this work because I know that I can hopefully shape and change a generation,” Shaw said.

 

 

 

Tech In-House Lawyers Meet With Lawmaker on Diversity & Inclusion Efforts

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The innovation that comes with working in a technology company should also be used to find ways to promote diversity and inclusion in-house and with outside counsel, a Missouri congressman and the CEO of Diversity Lab said in interviews with Corporate Counsel following a panel earlier this week in Washington, D.C.

“Tech companies are built on innovation, problem-solving, risk-taking, nimbleness and the ability to fail fast and reboot,” Caren Ulrich Stacy, CEO of Diversity Lab, said. “They embrace these traits for software development and [artificial intelligence], so they should be able to do the same as they work to create and sustain diverse and inclusive workplaces.”

Diversity Lab has long challenged both in-house counsel and the firms they work with to find ways to be more inclusive in their hiring. First by creating the Mansfield Rule for law firms and earlier this year by launching the pilot program of the Mansfield Rule for in-house counsel.

The trend of diversity is spreading, and earlier this week Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, held a panel of in-house counsel from tech companies to learn more about what they do to foster diversity and inclusion. (read more)

Diversity Marks Latest Class of US Rhodes Scholars

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Minorities make up the majority of the latest group of U.S. college students to be named Rhodes Scholars, and the class includes the first transgender woman selected for the prestigious program.

The Rhodes Trust announced the 32 selections late Saturday after two days of discussions over 236 applicants from 90 different colleges and universities across the country.

Along with University of Tennessee graduate Hera Jay Brown, who is the first transgender woman in the program, this year’s class also includes two non-binary scholars.

“As our rights and experiences as women are under threat, this moment has given me pause to reflect on what an honor it is to pave this path,” Brown posted on Twitter after the announcement.

There are students from universities well known for their academics, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Duke University. The list also includes the first Rhodes Scholar from the University of Connecticut.

The 32 people chosen will start at least two years of all-expenses paid study next fall at Oxford University in England along with students from over 60 countries.

The studies undertaken by the scholars include research into the escape from danger reflex in zebrafish to better understand how the human brain deals with stress and how to make computer vision more humanlike.

The research also includes studies into human behavior, including the prevalence of sex work among refugees, the impact of nuclear testing on the American Southwest, how to use online cryptocurrency to improve conditions in the world’s largest Syrian refugee camp and defending the rights of migrants to the United States.

Winners of the scholarships include Daine A. Van de Wall, who is a brigade commander at the United States Military Academy, which is the highest-ranking cadet position at West Point.

Other scholars selected this year include students who were homeschooled before their university studies and some who are the first people in their families to go to college.

Arielle Hudson is a second-generation student at the University of Mississippi who remembered visiting campus with her mother, who holds two degrees from the school. She always thought she would go to college out of state until she received a full scholarship through a Mississippi teaching program.

“When I received the scholarship, I started to think about how I would make a difference here,” Hudson told the university in a statement.

Now her work will come full circle. Hudson plans to seek master’s degrees in comparative social policy and comparative international education, then come back to Mississippi’s poor Delta region to teach for five years to fulfill her scholarship requirement.

Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 in the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British businessman and Oxford alum who was a prime minister of the Cape Colony in present-day South Africa.

The recipients are chosen not just for academic skill, but for their leadership and a willingness to do good for the world.

Previous Rhodes Scholars include U.S. President Bill Clinton, astronomer Edwin Hubble, singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson and author Naomi Wolf. Among 2020 Democrats running for president, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg both studied at Oxford under the scholarship program.

Despite spending billions, companies can’t buy diversity

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I am the beneficiary of what used to be called affirmative action, or what today would be called diversity and inclusion programs. An internship for promising minority journalists turned into my first full-time job as a reporter for the Virginian-Pilot, a daily newspaper in Norfolk. An informational interview at an annual conference for Asian American journalists led to my next gig as a writer at the Wall Street Journal. Along the way I met many brilliant journalists of color who, like me, got their start through internships or recruitment efforts specifically designed to diversify newsrooms, and I proudly watched peers go on to become top editors, photographers and designers at major newspapers, magazines and websites.

As a business journalist, however, I’ve chronicled the slow progress people of color have made in the corporate world, even as companies spend, by one measure, more than $8 billion a year on diversity initiatives. In fact, in some regards we’ve gone backward: There hasn’t been an African American woman leading a Fortune 500 company since 2016, when Ursula Burns stepped down as chief executive of Xerox. There are three African American men running Fortune 500 companies today, down from six in 2012.

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So I was eager to read Pamela Newkirk’s “Diversity, Inc.: The Failed Promise of a Billion-Dollar Business,” hoping it would skewer those peddling hollow inclusivity bromides and canned bias-training classes, and offer case studies on institutions that have been effective and authentic in making their ranks culturally diverse.

Newkirk, a journalist and author, ably chronicles the long history of bias and discrimination that has held back the advancement of African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans at companies and universities. She explains the significance of landmark legal cases, including major racial-discrimination settlements paid by Coca-Cola and Texaco. She examines the underrepresentation of racial and ethnic groups in Hollywood, a conversation that garnered global attention when a frustrated Twitter user, April Reign, created the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

But Newkirk misses a chance to really get inside modern institutions that have blown it despite allocating significant resources to the challenge. Google, she notes, reportedly spent $114 million on diversity programs in 2014 and $150 million in 2015, yet in 2019 African Americans made up only 2 percent of its tech workforce. Newkirk faults Google for failing to address the shortage of African American and Hispanic students entering computer science programs — and that’s a legitimate critique. How is it that a company that can autocomplete my email messages and tell me how to drive to virtually any destination in the world can’t figure out how to solve the “pipeline” problem and attract and retain more engineers of color? But even accounting for a smaller pool of black and Hispanic computer scientists, Google, with its lucrative pay packages, generous perks and interesting projects, theoretically should have an overrepresentation of diverse tech talent. There’s probably a larger culture problem at one of the world’s most influential companies, but “Diversity, Inc.” doesn’t pursue it.

Newkirk does offer one significant corporate success story. As part of a $192 million bias settlement in 2000, Coca-Cola agreed to change its personnel policies to ensure fair compensation and promotion. Newkirk credits Coca-Cola’s progress — in February, the company boasted that people of color make up a quarter of its top leadership team — to a court-approved task force that ensured Coca-Cola lived up to its promises, underscoring the need for outside watchdogs. She also praises chief executives E. Neville Isdell and Muhtar Kent for personally making diversity a priority. But she resorts to jargon — “systems” and “assessments” — to describe the hard work of reversing decades of discrimination. There surely are important pragmatic lessons from Coke’s experience: How do you redesign worker evaluations to eliminate bias? How do you suss out and fix pay gaps? How do you build training programs that don’t elicit eye rolls? (read more)

NASCAR and Rev Racing announce 2020 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Team

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 20, 2019) — Following a national search for top diverse driver talent, NASCAR and Rev Racing today announced the six ethnically diverse and female drivers selected to the 2020 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program.

The program’s newest class features five drivers who will make their return to Rev Racing next season, including Chase Cabre, Nicholas Sanchez, Gracie Trotter, Rajah Caruth and Isabella Robusto. Late model driver Perry Patino will make his debut with NASCAR Drive for Diversity in 2020.

Caruth and Robusto competed in the 2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Youth Driver Development Program and raced Legends cars for Rev Racing at this year’s Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in Charlotte, N.C. They also ran five other races with Rev Racing as part of the youth program.

“We are very enthusiastic about the progress we continue to make with the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program, and the 2020 class exemplifies the evolution of the program,” said Jusan Hamilton, Director, Racing Operations and Event Management at NASCAR. “We were extremely impressed with the confidence, competitive drive and raw talent of the drivers that competed at this year’s combine, which made the selection process challenging for us. Our partners at Rev Racing work hard every year to develop the best diverse drivers around the world. To see familiar faces in this class that have grown and advanced through the youth ranks of the program bolsters our belief that we will see some of these same drivers at the top levels of NASCAR in the future.”

The six drivers were selected from a group of invitees that competed in the two-day NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Combine in October at Daytona International Speedway and New Smyrna Speedway.

The combine included fitness assessments and evaluations of each driver’s marketing and media skills. The on-track portion tested the drivers’ abilities behind the wheel and proficiencies in late model stock cars. Representatives from NASCAR and Rev Racing were on-hand to evaluate the talent and determine the 2020 team.

“We have seen great success this past year with our drivers having multiple wins in every series we participated in this season,” said Max Siegel, Owner of Rev Racing. “Our returning drivers have certainly set the bar high. We are all excited to welcome the new members of this year’s class to the Rev Racing family and continue the momentum moving into the 2020 season.”

Caruth, Patino, Robusto and Trotter will compete in a NASCAR Late Model, while Cabre and Sanchez will compete in the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Showdown Series in 2020.

RELATED: ARCA Menards Series East schedule set for 2020

Competing in a late model stock car will be a first for drivers like Caruth, whose background is in iRacing, and Robusto, who has experience racing Legends cars.

Caruth will become the first driver with an iRacing background to be selected for the program. He is a product of the eNASCAR IGNITE Series — a first-of-its kind esports competition created to identify young talent by providing a low barrier of entry to the sport.

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

The 2020 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development team includes:

  • Chase Cabre: The 22-year-old from Tampa, Fla., will join Rev Racing for his fourth-consecutive racing season and compete in the ARCA Menards Series East. Cabre won twice in 2019 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
  • Rajah Caruth: In just 42 starts, Caruth, 17, of Washington, D.C., has twice won races in the eNASCAR IGNITE Series, driving the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1/Ford Mustang. Additionally, he earned two heat wins with Rev Racing in the 2019 Bojangles’ Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
  • Perry Patino: The 20-year-old, Montgomery, Ala., native will join Rev Racing for the first time with one Limited Late Model win at Montgomery Speedway and the 2018 Limited Late Model championship under his belt.
  • Isabella Robusto: The 15-year-old won the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in the Semi-Pro class in 2019 and finished second in Semi-Pro points. The Fort Mill, S.C., native was honored with the Young Racer award at the 2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards.
  • Nicholas Sanchez: The 18-year-old Miami native returns to Rev Racing for his fourth-consecutive season after winning at Myrtle Beach Speedway and Langley Speedway in a Late Model Stock Car in 2019.
  • Gracie Trotter: The Denver, N.C., native, 18, returns to Rev Racing as the 2019 Winter Heat Series champion at Charlotte Motor Speedway. She also won Round 5 of the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in the Semi-Pro Division.

Study of TV Directors Finds Record Level of Diversity

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According to a Directors Guild of America report, 50 percent of episodes were directed by women or people of color, a huge increase from five years ago. Still, there were gaps.

For the first time, more than half of the television episodes produced in a year were directed by women or people of color, according to a new report by the Directors Guild of America.

The report found that of 4,300 episodes produced in the 2018-19 season, some 50 percent were directed by women or people of color, a record high and up from 21 percent five years ago.

Of the 3,081 episodes produced at the eight major studios, Disney gave women and people of color the most directorial opportunities; 40 percent of its episodes, which include shows like “Grown-ish,” were directed by women, and 29 percent by people of color, figures that were trailed closely by HBO’s numbers.

Looking at the demographics of first-time television directors, the report found that women made up about half, another record, and that people of color comprised less than a third, down slightly from the previous year.

Yet the guild research also found that more than half of first-time directing work went to “series insiders” — people who have different jobs on a show and are given one-off directing assignments as a perk. The report said that group is usually “far less diverse” and such staffers rarely go on to directing careers.

“Producers hold in their hands the power to grant an opportunity that can set up an aspiring TV director for a lifelong career doing what they dreamed of,” Thomas Schlamme, the D.G.A. president, said in a statement. “The heart of the issue is that producers aren’t factoring in that every job given to someone who does not pursue a directing career equals an opportunity withheld.”

How Bravo’s First-Ever BravoCon Is Bringing Diversity And Inclusion To The Network’s Programming

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On November 15th, Bravo launched, BravoCon—the first-ever convention and three-day celebration of the network’s reality programming and the “bravolebrities” who are behind the widely popular shows. BravoCon is everything fans love about Bravo TV in one space, complete with Bravolebrity photo ops, Instagram-worthy photo moments, live panels and shows like never before. The first-ever immersive experience of its kind designed specifically for the Bravosphere — where superfans and Bravo influencers can come together to celebrate their fandom while sipping the hottest Bravolebrity tea and contributing to the conversation of the network.

The inaugural conference brought together stars, producers, and executives from The Real Housewives of New York CityBeverly HillsAtlanta, and New Jersey, along with cast members from Southern CharmVanderpump RulesMarried to Medicine, Vanderpump Rules, Shahs of Sunset, Top Chef, Project Runway and Below Deck, proving to be an unforgetable experience of its kind designed specifically for Bravo superfans. To kick off the weekend festivities at the convention, BravoCon hosted the largest Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen show yet, live from the Hammerstein Ballroom. BravoCon’s WWHL amassed 70 bravolebrities and provided series announcements and updates giving viewers a sneak peek of what’s to come.

Ahead of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, we spoke with several extremely well-known and charismatic bravolebrities from the Real Housewives of Atlanta franchise, Eva Marcille and Kenya Moore about their excitement for BravoCon, their thoughts on Bravo’s commitment to diverse programming and how the network has provided them a platform for their communities.

Dominique Fluker: How excited are you for the first-ever BravoCon? How is BravoCon different from any other conference?

Eva Marcille: It’s adorable! You know it’s the inaugural event, so to be at the first one, you know it’s going to be crazy but you don’t know what to expect but that’s kind of the cool thing about it. Anything can happen! It hasn’t happened before.

Fluker: As a leading African-American woman and star at Bravo, how do you feel knowing you are an integral part of the Bravo franchise? What kind of responsibility do you have with this platform? (read more)

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