California to Require Public Companies to Have at Least One Woman on Their Boards of Directors by 2019

California to Require Public Companies to Have at Least One Woman on Their Boards of Directors by 2019

By: Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff


 

California Gov. Jerry Brown over the weekend signed a bill into law requiring publicly traded companies headquartered in the state to include women on corporate boards of directors.

 

According to findings from the 20% by 2020 Women on Boards campaign, women held 19.8 percent of board seats of companies on the Fortune 1000 list. A study of the first five months of 2018 by ISS Analytics found that women made up 31 percent of new board directors at the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies in the United States. An annual global survey from Deloitte found that women hold 15 percent of board seats worldwide.

 

So while the numbers are certainly improving, the progress can best be described as incremental.

 

In California in particular, there are 377 businesses on the Russell 3000 stock index that have all male boards. And while companies such as Facebook and Tesla each have one female board member in Sheryl Sandberg and Linda Johnson Rice, respectively, they too are going to have grow their numbers to fall in line with the new law.

 

How does it work?

 

Now that it’s official, the companies that fall under the law’s purview will be required to have at least one woman on their boards by the end of 2019. By July 2021, at a minimum, there have to be two women on boards that have five members and at least three women on boards that have six or more people. If companies don’t follow the letter of the law, these businesses are looking at fines of $100,000 for breaking the rules the first time, then $300,000 if they fail to comply again.

 

But there are questions around whether the bill might run into a few issues that could render it more symbolic than ultimately practical. In his letter accompanying the signed legislation, Brown wrote, “There have been numerous objections to this bill and serious legal concerns have been raised. I don’t minimize the potential flaws that indeed may prove fatal to its implementation. Nevertheless, recent events in Washington, D.C. -- and beyond -- make it crystal clear that many are not getting the message.”

 

Who's objecting?

 

More than 30 business groups, including the California Restaurant Association and the California Chamber of Commerce, expressed opposition to the bill because, as they wrote in a letter to state lawmakers, “Gender is an important aspect of diversity, as are the other protected classifications recognized under our laws. We are concerned that the mandate under SB 826 that focuses only on gender potentially elevates it as a priority over other aspects of diversity.”

 

What about businesses incorporated elsewhere?

 

Even if a company is headquartered in California, it could very well be incorporated in a different state and could argue that it doesn’t have to comply with the bill because, technically speaking, according to federal law, it only has to follow the rules of the state where it's incorporated. For example, as cited by the Los Angeles Times, more than 80 percent of public companies in California on the Ross 3000 list are incorporated in Delaware.

 

What’s next?

 

In a statement this summer, the bill’s author, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, said of the impetus behind it: “One-fourth of California’s publicly traded companies still do not have a single woman on their board, despite numerous independent studies that show companies with women on their board are more profitable and productive. … With women comprising over half the population and making over 70 percent of purchasing decisions, their insight is critical to discussions and decisions that affect corporate culture, actions, and profitability.”

 

Whether other state or federal representatives will decide to follow suit remains to be seen. If they did, there are other examples they could look to. Norway passed legislation requiring 40 percent of board seats be made up women in 2006. As of 2017, women held 42 percent of those seats. Countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, India and the Netherlands all have similar laws on the books.

 

But even if there isn’t a legal or regulatory solution, it seems that it has sparked a conversation around diversity on boards. “We have, in fact, seen quite an increase in our search volume in the last month that the discussion has been going on about the legislation,” said Shannon Gordon, CEO of theBoardlist, a platform that connects companies with prospective female board members, who while qualified, may not be on their radar. “Those searches that are coming to us are not all in California. There is a bit of a halo effect that’s happening.”

 

Gordon explained that theBoardlist community is made up of women who have served on boards already, and those who haven't yet had the opportunity. But those women who do have board membership, already have served on an average of three.

 

For any entrepreneur who is growing their business and bringing on board members, Gordon said they should be thinking about who it is that can bring their skill set, background and perspective to help the company solve its most pressing challenges. “The good news is that there is a very large pipeline of talented women that are excited and ready to fill those roles, no matter what competency that board is looking for,” Gordon said. “This legislation will force companies to open the lens and look beyond those first order networks. I anticipate that women who have not yet served on board but are qualified to do so are going to get the chance.”

 

 

 

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How to ‘Really’ Attract Diverse Candidates

Where Is Your Welcome Sign?

Ideas On How To Become A More Attractive Employer

By Anthony J. Wright

 

Some employers have welcome signs. And unfortunately, some do not.

 

When talented individuals are assessing their career options, they look for obvious “welcome” signs. These individuals want some assurance that they are genuinely supposed to be a part of any new organization. Like in any establishment, if we don’t feel welcome, we eventually leave.

 

As an African American male, I have always assessed organizations based on the diversity within their leadership teams (which in my case, also includes the organization’s board of directors). While there are many different criteria that I use before engaging with a new employer or vendor, assessing organizational diversity will always be among my top three.

 

I’ve also learned over the years that a homogenous work environment is usually a sign of intolerance. Quite frankly, in today’s political environment, it can also be a bit scary. Further, a lack of diversity can also signal inadequate strategic thinking, as most of us know that diverse workgroups offer wider experiences and sparks tremendous innovation over the long run.

 

Why then, do so many organizations – especially non-profits – fail to invest in diversity initiatives? While the answer to this question may vary, let’s focus on those firms who get it right. Their results are impressive.


Locate Diverse Executives & Professionals


A recent study by McKinsey & Company sampled the outcomes of approximately 1,000 organizations and determined that firms who invested in diversity had higher profits. Specifically, it was concluded that firms in the top quartile for ethnic diversity are 33% more likely to have above-average profitability, according to the report. The same is essentially true for gender diversity.

 

The least diverse companies are 29% less likely to perform. Go figure.

 

Diverse applicants in any talent pipeline can recite these statistics (and many others) without effort. These individuals almost always prefer forward-leaning organizations. And, during stronger than usual economic conditions, individuals in the talent pipeline can be a bit more thoughtful about their next career move. They will almost always opt to work in a welcoming environment.

 

Many firms unknowingly communicate to diverse audiences that they are not welcome. It only takes a small amount of effort, and potentially a little courage, to make positive change. As America (i.e., your customer) becomes more diverse, it just makes sense for organizations to start thinking more strategically.  

 

 

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Finding the Right Mentor!

Finding the Right Mentor

By Matt D'Angelo, Business News Daily

 

Finding the right mentor is not really a secret to success – it's as obvious as it is essential. Learning from someone older, wiser and more experienced is an invaluable business opportunity, whether you've just started your first job or you're halfway through your career. As we slip into the day-to-day routine of working life, it's easy to get lost in the moment – our problems are 6 inches from our face, and a mentor can be the person to reset things so we can look at our careers and growth from a new perspective.

 

None of this is new information. We all would love to have a guiding hand help us figure out this complex and stressful professional world. If you're looking for a mentor, these are the three most important things to keep in mind:

 

  • Define what you want out of your career and what you need to learn to get there.

 

  • Approach a mentor relationship as if it's a business friendship – be casual and friendly, and try not to ask weird questions like, "Will you be my mentor?"

 

  • Start with your own professional network. We often already have mentors who provide advice in various ways, and all it takes is a little effort from us to grow that connection into an ongoing relationship.

 

Vicki Salemi, a career expert for popular job search platform Monster, said it's important for a mentor and a mentee to realize that the connection doesn't always need to be an intense, formal thing. It's better to focus on maintaining the professional relationship and learning what you can.

 

"It doesn't have to be completely intensive, and that's what both the mentor and mentee should know – it's an ongoing dialogue conversation, and it's a relationship that's not going to completely overhaul your life," Salemi said.

 

Part of finding a mentor means learning how to appropriately follow up, add value to your mentor's life and career, and be proactive in your own career growth. These lessons can apply to any worker at any stage of their career. Especially for young workers who are just emerging in an industry or lack the experience needed to progress, you might feel self-conscious and wary of your endeavors. Sometimes, all you need in these moments is someone to look up to, someone who has been in your shoes but created their own path to success.

 

"The modern mentor can elevate both your mind and your career in a way that cannot be taught in school, a boardroom or on a business trip," said Demetri Argyropoulos, CEO of Avant Global. "For me, mentorship has been an invaluable part of my career growth."

 

 

The first step to find a mentor is defining what you want out of your career. This may not mean planning out your whole career – it's important to leave room to go where things take you – but defining what you want in the short term can give you a clear path forward. Consider your career path and narrow it down so you can determine who has your dream job and who you admire, said Bill Driscoll, a district president for Accountemps.

 

"Successful mentoring relationships happen when the mentor and mentee are the right match," Driscoll said. "Reach out to someone you think you are comfortable with, who can be a neutral sounding board, and [who] will also provide great advice."

 

You can also look in your own professional circle. These individuals can be former bosses, former professors or teachers, co-workers in another department, or family friends. As you look, try to prioritize someone who can give you long-term advice about your industry and has a good idea of your own company and what it takes to advance within your role.

 

"I think it's probably best to have a combination of somebody who knows your internal organization well but not necessarily works there," Salemi said. "They can provide that insight with having a grander view of your career's growth."

 

Someone who has a general idea of your current role and industry will be able to give you advice on things like new projects to explore, certifications or training you need to get ahead, and how to manage office politics within your organization.

 

Once you're ready to reach out to someone, it's important to keep things casual. Salemi said your approach to a potential mentor should be the same as an approach to a potential friend – your relationship will develop over time. Don't force things; stay relaxed. Lessons and advice will come over time.

 

"It's not like you'll be at a conference and chat with someone sitting next to you and say, 'Oh, will you be my mentor?'" Salemi said. "It's a process. It's kind of like when you think about friends in your life, how you met them and how maybe over the period of a year or so you've gotten to become really good friends … in the beginning, you didn't say, 'Will you be my friend?' That would be completely awkward."

 

The difference between mentorships and friendships, however, is in how you follow up.

 

 

Once you've met with someone and had an initial conversation, if you think they can provide valuable advice to you as your career progresses, make sure you think critically about how and when to follow up. If they're open to continuing a dialogue, set calendar reminders on when to follow up. How often you speak with your mentor is up to you, but the goal is long-term, continued insight. That could mean hopping on the phone or meeting for coffee once a quarter, or even just twice a year.

 

"You definitely should make a note on your calendar, because we're so busy time can escape us," Salemi said. "Let's say you connect with your mentor by the end of [October] – make a note to check in with them over the holidays, and then maybe ask to get on their calendar literally for January."

 

While in-person meetings are important, social media offers mentees the opportunity to have regular, no-pressure interactions with mentors. Use Twitter and LinkedIn for light things – interesting articles, book recommendations, important industry news, etc.

 

Social media gives mentees the opportunity to nudge their mentors, reminding them not only that they exist outside of the semiannual dinner, but also that they value the relationship. Be sure not to nudge too frequently, though, or you'll come off as pushy. More importantly, don't discuss important career ideas over email or social media – save that for the in-person interactions.

 

"Make a point of trying to meet up with them," Salemi said. "If their calendar is packed, think outside the box in terms of 'OK, I'll meet you in your office' or 'Can we FaceTime?' just to get that interaction … you shouldn't [just] be sending emails."

 

One final, more meaningful way to connect with a mentor is regular mail. A thank-you note or holiday card can go a long way to show you value your mentor's advice and presence in your life.

 

 

Whether you're the founder of a brand-new startup or an entrepreneur with a bit of business experience under your belt, you can always benefit from a mentor.

 

"A mentor can serve as a sounding board at critical points throughout your career," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of staffing firm The Creative Group. "They can provide guidance on career management you may not be able to get from other sources and an insider's perspective on the business, as well as make introductions to key industry contacts."

 

Doña Storey, OPEN Mentorship Institute mentor and American Express OPENadvisor on procurement, noted that mentors can help their mentees identify and avoid business pitfalls, and work through the challenges ahead of them.

 

Another important aspect Salemi pointed out is that, when we're immersed in our own careers, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture. It's important to have advocates for you – especially early in your career. These should be people other than your boss, and they should provide insight on getting ahead as well as supporting your overall goals.

 

 

At the most basic level, your mentor should have more experience than you and a track record of success.

 

"A great mentor is someone whose qualities make up a much better version of who you envision yourself to become," said Argyropoulos. "On the other hand, some great mentors may help you to learn who not to be like – for example, a very successful businessman who is struggling in his personal life. Great mentors have a complementary skill set and bring different qualities to the table. Different perspectives are valuable in the mentor-mentee relationship."

 

Doug White, career expert and editor of career and management insights website TCG Blog, recommended seeking a mentor who has a strong character and traits worth emulating.

 

"Look for mentors who are authentic, empathetic, creative and honest," said White. "You need someone who's caring and invested in your professional growth, but also someone who will speak truth to you. Sometimes you need some constructive criticism or a reality check, while other times you need a high five or pat on the back. A well-chosen mentor can provide all of those things."

 

A mentor in the same business area as you may better understand your business's challenges and concerns, but Storey said that fruitful mentoring relationships don't necessarily have to happen within the same industry. Leadership philosophy may be more important.

 

"Make sure that the mentor shares a similar value system in leadership and management," Storey said. "Knowing who you are as a leader is critical before entering into a mentoring relationship. Only then can you align yourself with the right guide."

 

 

As a mentee, it can be easy to fall into a pattern of asking a lot of your mentor without giving anything in return. While your mentor might be happy to provide you with advice regardless, it's still important to think of some ways to show your appreciation and make yourself available for your mentor.

 

Salemi said, at the very least, it's important to prove you appreciate the relationship by valuing your mentor's advice and time – if only by arriving at meetings early or adjusting your own schedule to make a meeting more convenient for your mentor. Young professionals may not have a lot to offer their mentors, but they can offer them respect and appreciation.

 

"You can be a great mentee to your mentor by following up when you say you're going to – staying on their radar – because chances are, if they're the right fit for you, they'll appreciate providing information," Salemi said. "Thank them, acknowledge them, don't squander their time."

 

 

The whole point of seeking out a mentor is to get important insight and advance your career. The only way that's possible is if you're proactive about your own situation.

 

"We need to be proactive – what it comes down to is everyone needs to be proactive in their own career advancement and growth," Salemi said. "Let's say you like your job and you think, 'Oh, things are going well' – you still need a mentor because, at some point, you may hit a plateau."

 

With a mentor, keep it simple and stay relaxed about the relationship. There's often a lesson to be learned from someone who's further along in their career. The key is being open to whatever lesson or message that is.

 

"Seek out someone who you want to emulate, who can help you in areas where you're deficient in knowledge and skills," Argyropoulos added. "My most impactful mentor experiences evolved through sharing experiences and stories, and at some point, the mentee can also teach the mentor. You want to create an environment where you're paying that knowledge forward to others."

 

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Closing the Tech Diversity Gap

Closing the Tech Diversity Gap: A Complex Issue Without A Simple Answer

By Casey Leins, Staff Writer

U.S. News

 

IN 2013, MICROSOFT Corporation launched a program designed to transition service members and veterans into the technology industry.

 

The program, Microsoft Software & Systems Academy, now has 14 locations, boasts a 93 percent graduation rate, and has the capacity to graduate around 1,000 students each year.

 

"Veterans are a talent pool we haven't sought in the past," says Microsoft's Vice President of Military Affairs Chris Cortez. "And the military vets very much represent our diverse country."

 

 
Cortez joined other industry leaders and researchers Thursday at U.S. News & World Report's Stem Solutions: Workforce of Tomorrow conference in Washington D.C., to discuss the state of diversity in STEM and how to bridge the gap that still exists.

 

The panelists agreed that veterans are just one example of talent pools that have not been fully explored.

 

A Multi-Faceted Issue

 

But locating these new, diverse groups are only one part of the solution. One theme the panelists reiterated throughout the presentation was that there is no simple solution to bridge the gap and that there are many factors at play.

 

Not only do underrepresented groups need better access to STEM education and careers, but company's cultures need to change and be more inclusive to retain those employees.

 

"It's not just about fixing the student, but how do we change the culture of the institutional structures and frameworks?" says Courtney Tanenbaum, who studies these issues at the American Institutes for Research.

 

Intel Corporation is an example of a company that has been working to increase its diversity and retention rates.

 

"What Intel is trying to accomplish inside the walls of our company is to really mitigate inclusion and diversity issues. It's what society has not yet done outside of our walls" says Barbara Whye, the company's vice president of human resources and chief diversity and inclusion officer.

 

She notes that Intel's research reveals that employees who feel included are seven times more likely to stay at the company.

 

Motivating Underrepresented Groups

 

During the session, a high schooler asked the panelists how she, as a woman of color, can stay motivated and determined to pursue a STEM career despite the fact that she is afraid to fail.

 

The student said that she was one of two females in her school district last year to take the AP computer science exam; the audience applauded. Though she wants to pursue a job in STEM, she said, she is concerned about making errors in front of her teachers and peers in difficult courses and feels pressure to perform well.

 

Tanenbaum said the fact that mistakes are seen as failures is a flaw in the nation's education system.

 

"That mindset needs to shift," she added. "That probably means starting really early [in conveying a different message] to kids."

 

The panelists also noted that role models are important for underrepresented groups.

 

Allison Scott, chief research officer at Kapor Center for Social Impact, stressed the large impact of industry leaders interacting with these students.

 

 

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Practice What You Preach: How Any Organization Can Truly Embrace Diversity

Practice What You Preach: How Any Organization Can Truly Embrace Diversity

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POST WRITTEN BY:  Forbes Coaches Council

 

With as many as 41% of businesses saying they don’t have time to include diversity in their workplace, the need for inclusivity seems greater than ever. Many organizations claim to have a handle on diversity from within, but there is much more work that can be done to make all their employees feel like a part of a team.

 

There’s a lot to learn about diversity from a business perspective. Your organization needs to stay ahead of the curve and be a true leader when it comes to being truly inclusive. With a little effort and time, you can provide a work environment that your diverse staff will thrive in.

 

Fifteen members of Forbes Coaches Council weigh in on the steps organizations need to take to embrace diversity and actually “practice what they preach” regarding it. Here’s what they recommend:

 

1. Get Clear About Inclusion

 

Diversity plans are nothing without inclusion. Most of us understand the benefits and competitive advantages of a diverse workforce, yet we are challenged to be inclusive of the very diversity we create. So before you start mixing things up, get extremely clear about the culture you are trying to cultivate and why. - Susan Taylor, Generon International

 

2. Embrace Diversity From The Top Down

 

Organizations interested in diversity and inclusion must begin at the highest levels. The board, senior executives and upper-level management must reflect their diversity philosophy. In addition, training on diversity and inclusion should be mandatory for all employees on a regular basis. This should begin with orientation and continue each year. - Dr. Venessa Marie Perry, Health Resources Solutions, LLC

 

 

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Walmart pledges $2 Million to Fund Diversity Internships

Walmart pledges $2 Million to Fund Diversity Internships

The Associated Press

July 24, 2018 03:17 PM

Walmart plans to donate $2 million to two congressional minority caucus foundations to fund programs for students and young professionals.

The Bentonville-based retail behemoth said Tuesday that the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute will each receive three-year, $1 million grants which will go toward paid congressional internships, housing, monthly stipends, professional development and leadership training.

In a press release, the company cited statistics from the Pew Research Center that show that while non-white Americans comprise approximately 36 percent of the population, less than 20 percent of congressional representatives are people of color.

GOOGLE TO HIRE THOUSANDS IN 9 STATES

Officials from each of the foundations say internships are crucial to careers in public policy. The grants will bring Walmart's total donation to the two foundations to more than $6 million.

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Too Many Non-Profit Boards Lack Diversity

Too Many Non-Profit Boards Lack Diversity

By: Kenneth Anderson Taylor, Chicago Tribune

 

You may not recognize the name Tarana Burke. She’s the black woman who founded the #MeToo movement a decade ago to support women of color who survive sexual harassment and assault.

 

Although this movement has mostly directed attention to work-related abuses involving white women since it hit critical mass in 2017, it also speaks to me as a black man because of the racial discrimination I personally experienced many years ago as a nonprofit CEO.

 

Today, I blame that predicament on the lack of diversity among the leadership of my nonprofit’s board. Imbalances of power create opportunities for the people who have historically called the shots to abuse their authority — whether that means paying people of color less than whites for the same work or committing the kinds of outrages that the #MeToo movement and its offshoots are now bringing to light.

 

Here’s the big picture: At a time when only 61.3 percent of Americans are white, about 84 percent of nonprofit board members are in that demographic group, along with 90 percent of nonprofit board chairs. When BoardSource, which strives to improve nonprofit management, released this data in 2016, it predicted little progress:

 

“Despite reporting high levels of dissatisfaction with current board demographics — particularly racial and ethnic diversity — boards are not prioritizing demographics in their recruitment practices.”

 

The leadership ranks of nonprofits are, it turns out, a bit more racially and ethnically diverse than their corporate counterparts. Yet I believe nonprofits typically have more of an imperative than private companies to get this right because of their missions.

 

Do-gooders can do better

 

This matters because boards of directors supervise the nation’s nearly 1.6 million nonprofits, providing financial oversight and strategic guidance. In addition, they help with fundraising and hire and manage the group’s top staff. Most board members are volunteers.

 

Nonprofits, such as medical research institutions, houses of worship and shelters for sexual abuse victims, usually fill gaps between what the government and private sector do. A large share of them serve communities with great needs, a population that is disproportionately made up of people of color.

 

Strangely, nonprofit decision-makers seem to either not understand or don’t believe that relying on overly white leadership is at odds with their missions.

 

My own experience illustrates the travails that leaders of color may experience within nonprofits.

 

After spending nine years working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the nation’s largest youth mentoring organization, I was thrilled to move from its national headquarters in Philadelphia for a job as temporary CEO of its Austin, Texas, affiliate.

 

I was even more excited when the board wanted to hire me permanently six months later. But my enthusiasm soon fizzled upon discovering that the same board that unanimously wanted me to lead the organization also collectively decided to pay me thousands of dollars less than my predecessor — a white woman with less experience than me who had approximately the same academic credentials.

 

Attempting to negotiate a more equitable salary with a board that was all white aside from one black man discouraged me further. I was simply told the matter was not up for discussion. After all, the board’s president-elect stated, I “didn’t have to say yes” and it was the first time I would be serving in this capacity — as it had been for the CEO I was replacing.

 

Just imagine dedicating nine years of your life to an organization with the goal of becoming its CEO, having that dream come true and then realizing your hard work had culminated in an offer to be paid far less than the person you were to replace.

 

Though I eventually accepted the board’s offer based on what I believed to be right in terms of my career path, in my heart I knew I was discriminated against in terms of compensation.

 

Old patterns

 

While most nonprofit staff leaders and board members say they are extremely dissatisfied with this gap, they do little to correct it. In fact, they ignore basic and logical remedies.

 

Most do not make diversity a high priority when they recruit new leaders, for example. As James Westphal of the University of Michigan and Edward Zajac of Northwestern University found in 1995, most board members are identified and recruited through informal practices that are rarely rigorous or systematic.

 

This convention hasn’t changed. Unsurprisingly, it yields recruits who resemble older board members.

 

As a result, new and former nonprofit board members are nearly identical in terms of their ethnic and racial backgrounds, even for groups claiming to value diversity. Maybe they do. But they must prove that.

 

I believe that nonprofit leaders can take some basic steps to draw more people of color into their upper ranks.

 

Since the leadership in most nonprofits is drawn from the board and upper management, a simple first step is to acknowledge the job dissatisfaction of employees of color. Ample research, including my own, indicates that they are generally less satisfied than whites.

 

Unsatisfied employees, whether white or people of color, are more likely to move on. This is especially true for nonprofits, whose employees routinely cite low pay when conveying the reasons for their discontent.

 

In addition, board members and top staff can make and communicate clear plans to achieve the goal of leadership diversity. Consistently communicating why it would advance the group’s mission — and is worth the trouble — is key. So is letting employees of color know that their input is highly valued.

 

Airing feedback from employees of color at board meetings helps, as does requiring nonprofit executives to identify, hire and mentor nonwhites for leadership roles.

 

With many nonprofits undergoing leadership successions today, there’s no time to waste.

 

The Conversation

Kenneth Anderson Taylor is an assistant professor at the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University.

 

 

 

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Accenture CEO: Total Gender Equality by 2025

by Haley Draznin

As CEO of Accenture North America, Julie Sweet wants to accomplish what most other executives at major companies have not: Making sure men and women are represented equally in the company's ranks.

 

Her goal: To get to a 50% male-50% female workforce by 2025. As of last year, the firm's US employee base was 36% women and 64% men.

 

"I'm very optimistic," Sweet tells CNN's Poppy Harlow in the latest podcast episode of Boss Files. "I'm with CEOs all the time. I'm in the C-Suite. There is something different today than even two or three years ago. There's a genuine focus that's not about checking the box... There's been so much disruption. Companies are having to come up with entirely new business models."

 

Sweet feels it's her corporate responsibility to be a leader on equality. Accenture was the first of the big professional consulting firms to publish their diversity statistics in 2017.

 

"When I'm talking to my peers, what they recognize is they can't do it with the same leaders. They need different thoughts. Different ideas," she says. "Diversity, I think, has become a real business imperative at the very top with CEOs who are facing massive disruption. That, I think, is why we're at an inflection point."

 

By being transparent about things like hiring statistics, Sweet seeks to help all Accenture employees understand the importance of this initiative and why the company is embarking on it.

 

"One of the reasons we shared our numbers, they weren't because they were great, they were in order to have a transparent conversation," Sweet says. "We're going to be honest about where we are and where we want to go."

 

Sweet is one of the founding members of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, a commitment signed by more than 400 CEOs pledging to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

 

She's also increased the paid parental leave policy at Accenture and is launching initiatives that appeal to a millennial workforce.

 

"Diversity is critical," Sweet says. "People who come to Accenture want to be part of collaborative teams that are interesting and diverse. We think it's actually a real differentiator as we try to get people to come join us."

 

Sweet and her team have also set incremental hiring goals to improve diversity along the way. "We said by 2017, we wanted to hire 40% women globally. We met that a year early," she says.

 

And it's not just about hiring women.

 

"Last year, for the first time, we set goals in terms of hiring around African Americans, Hispanic Americans, veterans. We've announced that we want to hire 5,000 veterans by 2020," she adds.

 

 

Related: Diversity is Not About Being Different

 

 

Key to her leadership style, is having empathy. "We don't always talk about that as a leadership quality. I think what's really important is having empathy, understanding the experiences of how someone is going to experience what you have to say," Sweet tells Harlow.

 

 

Taking risks is another. For Sweet, that is something that was instilled in her from a young age. Growing up with just a single pair of shoes and her parents struggling to make ends meet, she admits her younger self was driven by the desire to be successful.

 

When she went to study in China in the 1980s as a teenager, few Westerners had been traveling there. She didn't know the language or the culture, but she overcame all of those boundaries.

 

Related: A former refugee, she's now the first Latina CEO of a major US company

 

"Taking that risk and succeeding has really given me the confidence to take other risks," she says. "My jump to becoming CEO from the general counsel job at Accenture, that's a risk, right? That's very public. I think about even my willingness to take that risk. This kind of goes back to those early experiences."

 

"I needed and wanted to be someone who was going to make a difference," she admits, "Now, as CEO, I have even more of an ability to drive change. It is hard, right? But it's a great privilege to have the opportunity."

 

 

 

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May is Asian Pacific Heritage Month

Asian Pacific Heritage Month

 

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks on the project were Chinese immigrants.

 

May is also Older Americans Month, established in 1963 to honor the legacies and contributions of older Americans and to support them as they enter their next stage of life.

 

LINK: THREE REASONS TO THINK BEYOND DIVERSITY

 

In addition, May is Jewish American Heritage Month, which recognizes the diverse contributions of the Jewish people to American culture.

 

Asian Pacific and Asian Americans of all ethnicities and languages come together to celebrate their heritage through many activities such as dancing, sharing traditional meals, observing and appreciating their rich history. Many more diverse beliefs and practices come with the already diversified Asian American community. Although there are so many different religions, traditions, and practices, all Asian Americans share the same idea of helping one another adjust to living in the U.S. and all the problems and affairs that come along with it. From everyday tasks like asking for directions and ordering food to more difficult situations like financial advice or finding housing; Asian Americans have a tough time adjusting to American lifestyle, especially if they were not born here learning the language.

 

 

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Uber Exec: White Men Need To ‘Make Noise’ About Diversity

Uber exec: White men need to 'make noise' about diversity

Posted on 3/13/18

 

By: Sara Ashley O'Brien (CNN)

 

Bozoma Saint John, Uber's chief brand officer, called on white men to help diversify their workplaces.

 

"I want white men to look around in their office and say, 'Oh look, there's a lot of white men here. Let's change this,'" Saint John said at the SXSW festival on Sunday.

 

Saint John said the onus should not be on people of color to improve diversity at work: "Why do I — as the black woman — have to fix that? There's 50 of you, there's one of me. Ya'll fix it. ... Everybody else needs to make the noise — I want white men to make the noise."

 

Saint John joined Uber last June and is responsible for increasing customer loyalty. Her hire was considered a strategic move in Uber's turnaround effort: The company added a black female executive after being blasted for having a non-inclusive culture.

 

Travis Kalanick resigned as CEO later in June amid turmoil at the company.

 

Uber, like most tech companies, is working to diversify its workforce. Its first diversity report, released in March 2017, showed that Uber had no technical leaders who are black or Hispanic. Among non-technical leadership positions, 3.7% were black and 1.2% were Hispanic.

 

However, the report noted that in the 12 months prior, Uber had increased its hiring of black and Hispanic employees.

 

Uber's numbers aren't outliers when compared to other Silicon Valley tech companies, according to Saint John.

 

"The number of African Americans in Silicon Valley is dismal," said Saint John, who left her marketing leadership job at Apple Music for Uber. "It's not up to one company — it's up to the entire industry to make sure that we are moving the conversation forward. Sometimes those walls of competition need to come down so we can move the entire industry forward."

 

 

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