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

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

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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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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THREE REASONS TO THINK BEYOND DIVERSITY

Three Reasons To Think Beyond Diversity

By: Glenn Llopis

 

After catching up with a former client on the phone, I found myself recalling a powerful conversation I had after one of my keynotes a few years ago. A gentleman approached me proudly stating how his leaders had “passed their cultural training, and now they are suited to deal with diverse populations.” I remember him smiling, expecting me to praise his forward thinking on the issue. He was sadly mistaken. I told him I admired the intention but not the result: He wasn’t bringing people together; he was further siloing them. By focusing on diversity and not inclusion, he was promoting disconnection, marginalization, and even victimization.

 

The gentleman looked confused, so I explained that when we put words like Hispanic, African American, and Asian Pacific-Islanders in front of people, we think more about the words and less about the people. These words close our minds to embracing how people communicate, think, and add-value differently. So we don’t include them – we push them, their unique differences, and the innovation mentality they bring even further to the margins of the company.

 

They get lost as a cost-center, rather than an influencer to drive growth.

 

“But our chief diversity officer led the training,” he protested.

 

“Exactly,” I said. “If that work falls on a single marginalized chief diversity officer, that practically gives most companies license to ignore the marginalized diversity trainings that officer leads, corporate social responsibility programs, and employee resource groups. All of those things have good intentions but are seen at your company and many others as cost centers linked to compliance and political correctness rather than profit centers to drive influence in the workplace and growth in the marketplace.”

 

So why did I recall this conversation? My former client was applying for a job as a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

 

Here we go again.

 

Why does the term diversity still need to exist in a title when you're solving for inclusion? Does the addition of the word inclusion mean companies think diversity solves for inclusion? Or that if you add inclusion, you are therefore inclusive and not just diverse? Are we sending the wrong message?

 

Yes, we are. Focusing on diversity does not solve for inclusion. Focusing on diversity:

 

  1. Creates silos

 

The irresponsible use of the word “diversity” by businesses over the years has converted the original intentions into politically charged agendas that make people feel uncomfortable and drives them into silos. As organizations attempt to recreate growth, their focus should be on solving for inclusion in order to find new ways to maximize the full potential and contributions of all individuals (both diverse and non-diverse). The workplace and marketplace are changing too fast for leaders to pretend they have all the answers. They need to find like-mindedness in differences not assimilate those differences or force them to the margins. Which brings us to the next point.

 
  1. Promotes a compliance mindset

 

A compliance mindset happens when organizations place an emphasis on ensuring that diversity initiatives are in place to celebrate employee differences. While there is certainly a place and can be a space to do this, those places and spaces do not solve for inclusion. They solve for embracing differences but not for amplifying influence.  All individuals want to feel valued and heard  But what individuals want more than anything else is to know that they work for an organization that knows how to leverage individual differences in ways that allows the individual to influence more and seize opportunities previously unseen. But while (diversity and) inclusion is housed in human resources, this will never happen. It belongs in corporate strategy where growth lies, not the human resources departments that have historically focused on compliance.

 
  1. Makes people feel judged not valued

 

People want to be part of an organization that encourages them to be themselves and allows them to challenge the status quo. Leaders and employees are tired of being told to what to do inside the box they are given. Diversity doesn’t solve for this; inclusion does.  As diversity continues to be the corporate narrative, and platforms such as CEO Action and others attempt to strengthen that narrative, diversity initiatives will never solve for inclusion and individuality. The will never solve for growth. They will solve for reputation management, contributing to the compliance mindset and fostering the silos. They will solve for divisiveness and only add to the confusion around how all of this “diversity work” contributes to driving revenue.   In fact, my organization has developed an assessment tool that can measure an organization’s readiness to lead inclusion as a growth strategy.

 

If individuality is going to continue to shape present and future business models and if inclusion is the platform for leveraging the collective intellectual capital in all people to drive business growth, why do we allow diversity to stand in the way? When we do, it feeds the old narrative that continues to be repackaged in other forms that promote disconnection, marginalization, and even victimization.

 

Yes, of course, we all understand (perhaps more than ever) that people in the US come from diverse backgrounds. But are these people defined by their diversity? Is the affinity to diversity - the business defining the individual or the individual defining the business?

 

It’s the business (company) defining the individual. Those diversity trainings, corporate social responsibility programs, and employee resource groups? They are seemingly doing the right thing without much thought about what they are solving for, let alone who they are for, why we are doing it, or if what we are doing is actually right for the people they are supposedly serving – or anyone else really.

 

Do people need a label or a reason to justify their existence? Do you need to say diversity for people to buy in to what you are selling? Will an employee resource group make people feel more included? Diversity as a platform doesn't empower different individuals, give them influence, make them feel valued, and strive to find like-mindedness in our differences – inclusion does. Being labeled as “diverse” makes people feel judged.

 

In other words, by focusing in the words, we ignore the people. Diversity reaffirms a culture of marginalization, victimization, and compliance. This is especially true if the chief diversity and inclusion officer is part of human resources.

 

Inclusion should be in corporate strategy focused on driving growth. That’s how we create inclusive cultures to anticipate change, innovate, and grow. Which is exactly what America needs. Organizations are focusing now on recreating growth and must have a mindset of continuous renewal and reinvention to survive. When you consider that businesses were focused on managing growth at the start of the century and now have to recreate growth, they must become more employee-centric and focus on individuality and inclusion.

 

Follow Glen @GlennLlopis. Learn more about his new book, The Innovation Mentality

 

 

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FIVE WOMEN OF COLOR WHO SHOULD BE ON YOUR RADAR

Five Women of Color Who Should Be On Your Radar

By: Lauren Wesley Wilson

 

(Forbes) - There is no doubt that 2018 is becoming the “Year of the Woman,” with the celebration of the first anniversary of the Women’s March to the launch of the Times Up Movement and much more to surely come. Our voices are actually being heard loud, clear, and more than ever before. I proclaim that this year will not only become the “Year of the Woman” but the year for women of color.

 

Women of color are making great strides in the workplace, breaking barriers, and becoming C-suite leaders with impact and influence. While there are many women of color who should be on your radar, I’ve narrowed it down to just five for now. These women are dynamic and making changes inside and outside their office. They’re not speaking at every conference or sucking up all the awards at every industry show. They are strategic where they spend their time, how they show up and what they deliver.

 

Get to know these five insightful women:

 

   

 

1. Rose Stuckey Kirk, President of the Verizon Foundation at Verizon

 

Why you should know her: Rose Stuckey Kirk became president of the Verizon Foundation eight years ago, but has been with Verizon since 1998. She is a shining example of how successful you can be despite gender or race. As a woman of color, she has broken the glass ceiling with her C-level position, serving as a chief corporate social responsibility officer. In her role at Verizon, she is able to provide access to new technology and STEM programs to youth who traditionally come from underserved communities. Rose delivers the type of speech that leaves audiences begging for more time and time again. She is poised, deliberate, and entertaining.

 

 

2. Gloria Mayfield Banks

 

Why you should know about her: Gloria is an internationally renowned motivational speaker who leads a successful sales team as the #1 ranked Elite National Sales Director for Mary Kay Cosmetics. Her latest book “Quantum Leaps” outlines the steps to take to excel in your life. Gloria has spoken all over the nation on topics such as women empowerment and instilling leadership goals in girls. Gloria is an electrifying speaker and will keep you focused and holding on to every word. She has overcome domestic violence and dyslexia. Her podcast "Women Do It Better" has Gloria speaking about the gifts we all have and how to find, understand, and master them in order to excel in your personal and professional life. She is a force to be reckon with.

 

RELATEDWHY THE ENTREPRENEURIAL FUTURE IS FEMALE

 

 

3. Susan Jin Davis, Vice President Environmental Affairs, Chief Sustainability Officer, Comcast/NBCUniversal

 

Why you should know her: Hilarious, intelligent, and spot on. Susan Jin Davis knows her worth and the stakeholders she serves. In her time at Comcast, Susan negotiated a historic memorandum of understanding between Comcast and the Asian American community as part of the Company’s merger with NBCUniversal, creating an unheard of commitment in the areas of programming, supplier and employment diversity and community investment. She serves on Comcast’s Internal Diversity Council and is a Company liaison to the Comcast and NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council. Susan is also an executive sponsor of Asian Pacific Americans at Comcast, a Company Employee Resource Group.

 

 

4. Radhika Jones, Editor in Chief of Vanity Fair

 

Why you should know her: Radhika is not only the first ever Indian American to be Editor in Chief at Vanity Fair, but she is also the first woman of color to ever be Editor in Chief since the publication’s inception in 1913. Radhika Jones is a Harvard University graduate and has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia, where she was also a lecturer. Her position in Vanity Fair has broken new grounds, and will hopefully open the door for other women of color to be in such roles in the near future.

 

 

5. Linda Sarsour, Political Activist and Co-Chair of the Women’s March Movement

 

Why you should know her: As a child of Palestinian immigrants, some of Linda’s early activism entailed defending the civil rights of Muslims living in America. She helped to organize the American Muslim community's response to the Black Lives Matter protests by forming "Muslims for Ferguson." In 2017, the organizers of the Women’s march recruited Sarsour as co-chair of the event. She became co-chair of 2017’s Day Without a Woman, which took place on International Women's Day. She is a loud and strong advocate for women’s rights as well as for underrepresented women of color around the nation.

 

Lauren Wesley Wilson is the founder of ColorCommwhich holds its annual ColorComm Conference for women of color in communications, marketing, & advertising. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

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WHY THIS VC IS BETTING ON WOMEN, PEOPLE OF COLOR, AND LGBTQ FOUNDERS

Why This VC Is Betting on Women, People Of Color, and LGBTQ Founders

 
 
Feb. 7, 2018
 
This article originally ran in Term Sheet, Fortune’s newsletter about deals and dealmakers.

 

Four years ago, Arlan Hamilton was living out of a hotel room that she shared with her mom. At that point, she had given up a career as a live music production coordinator to become a venture capitalist. There were a few problems though: She didn’t have a formal finance background and virtually no connections in Silicon Valley.

 

Her goal? Raise a fund that invests in companies founded by underrepresented entrepreneurs, including women, people of color, LGBTQ company founders, or any combination of the three. She cold-emailed venture investors, explained her strategy, and asked them to back her fund. She eventually managed to raise enough capital to launch Backstage Capital. “[They] saw that I wasn’t just a VC tourist — I was serious,” she says.

 

Hamilton convinced a number of remarkable limited partners to back her fund, including Susan Kimberlin, Marc Andreessen, Chris Sacca, Stewart Butterfield, and Ellen Pao. Since 2015, Backstage has deployed approximately $3 million across more than 60 pre-seed and seed stage startups. The portfolio includes companies such as Thesis Couture, Mars Reel, and Tinsel.

 

Fortune spoke with Hamilton about why she believes a diverse portfolio is good for business.

 

Tell me about your investment thesis. What are some of the key elements you look for in a founder or company before investing?

 

We invest in founders who are women, people of color, and/or LGBT. We felt like a lot of these people and companies were being overlooked, undervalued, and underestimated. With a little bit of leveling the playing field, we believe that these people are equipped to handle an erratic market and the various ups and downs in the startup world.

 

How do you think about dealflow, and what’s your current process of driving it?

 

When I first started, the question I would get from potential LPs over and over again was: Will you have the dealflow for this? How will you find them? We see more than a thousand companies every year. All of them, except for the several that haven’t researched us, are led by underrepresented and underestimated founders.

 

You’ve said previously that you don’t look at investing as “social impact” or a “charity.” Can you elaborate on that?

 

I think that “social impact” and “charity” are two different things. While in the past I’ve said we’re not an impact fund, I’ve actually come around to understand that we are an impact fund, and I’m proud of that. We are an impact fund because of the impact we have, but we are also looking for outsize returns. Those things do not have to be mutually exclusive.

 

Now, I will say that we are not a charity or a non-profit. When you talk to a group of white, affluent male investors and tell them you’re investing in women of color, the first thing that comes out is, “Oh, that’s really nice of you. That’s a great mission.” They immediately correlate us to needing a helping hand. This is not that.

 

What do you think about VC firms forming independent funds to back diverse founders separately from their own firms?

 

Here’s the thing: In an ideal world, they wouldn’t think about it as something separate. But at least, it’s a step forward. I’d rather them do that than completely ignore it. I would be happy to go along to the top 10 funds in the country and help them do that. It’s all about getting the capital access — the politics of it we can talk about another time. You have to start somewhere, so I volunteer to go into any fund and help them start a scout fund that is scouting for diversity. That is not a bad idea, and I applaud the people who are already doing that. They may not have it perfect, but they’re attempting it, and that’s a good start.

 

On average, women founders receive less than 3% of total VC dollars and women of color receive only 0.2%. What needs to happen for these stats to change?

 

A few things: One, more and more angels of color and women angels need to step up and meet founders early in their journey. There’s power in numbers. Two, some of these companies need to have more support at the post-seed level. There’s a lot that has been done at the pre-seed and seed level, but then there’s nowhere for them to go after that. I think larger investors think we’ve taken care of it because there’s a black woman writing a check. That’s not enough. We just can’t do it alone. The larger investors need to step up.

 

You support founders in the early stage, but what do you advise them to do as their company grows and they need further capital?

 

I struggle with that question because I’ve seen so much. I want to tell them that this is a meritocracy and that as long as you keep hitting your KPIs, you’ll be met with a Series A investor and you’ll be part of that percentage that makes it to the next level. But the reality is that the best and brightest and most deserving — even with the numbers, even with the traction — are being shut out. So I don’t know the answer to that until the larger investors really take this seriously and put money behind it.

 

How can the industry get more funding to female founders & more women partners in VC firms?

 

Over the next 18 months, there will be two or three major exits that are just too hard to ignore that will come from women or come from people of color. They will be profound exits that shock the system. Once that happens, a lot of investors will take note, and I believe that will happen by the middle of 2019. I also think that there needs to be a group of LPs who demand that their fund managers are looking at diversity and are actively looking at leveling the playing field.

 

What are some interesting industry trends in tech right now you think Term Sheet readers should be paying attention to?

 

I actually don’t pay much attention to industry trends in tech, to be quite honest. I just spend a lot of time hyperfocused on what we’re doing. I will say that the more I learn about blockchain, the more excited I get about it. It could potentially level the playing field.

 

Do you think cryptocurrency and the blockchain has the power to disrupt venture capital as it stands today?

 

Yes — it has the power to turn it upside down. The people who aren’t figuring out that Silicon Valley doesn’t represent the United States are the same people who laugh and scoff at cryptocurrency. You may laugh at the silliness of the scams but the root of what’s happening is that the world has figured out a different way to communicate and trade with each other. It’s like a new language, and if you aren’t able to read and write in that language over the next couple of years, you’ll be left in the dust.

 

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

 

Go home. Take the day off. Stop working. I’m a big proponent of self-care, and I’ll never stop talking about it. If self-care isn’t part of your daily and business routine, you’re doing it wrong. It’s about recognizing how valuable you are, and you can’t run a company if you’re not able to take care of yourself first.

THE BEAUTY OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY

The Importance of Cultural Diversity

By: Kwame Molden

 

Human beings are extremely diverse in very many ways.

 

People differ in opinions, race, nationality, gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity, class, religion, lifestyle and so much more, yet at the very basic we are all human species. Ideally, all people feel pain and joy despite the differences. Today, the changes in time and technology have made it extremely impossible for any group of people to live without interacting with others outside their group. Often people of different cultural and geographical backgrounds meet in international conferences, education exchange programs, sports, etc.

 

Sadly, the history of mankind discriminating against each other based on cultural differences has been with us for ages. So many people have died or have been denied their rights because of individual greed. Properties and economies have also been destroyed due to lack of understanding. Unfortunately, some of these occurrences are visible even today, perpetuated by people who little understand the importance of the uniqueness of our diversity. Little do they know that:

 

1. Diversity creates richness in opinion.

 

Some problems cannot be solved by a homogenous group of people. The complexity of challenges facing the world today requires the input people from different cultural backgrounds if we are to succeed. A diverse group will offer fresh ideas to solve problems. Diverse groups have often been found to be creative and thus producing better solutions to problems.

 

Cultural Diversity: The Sum of Our Parts

 

2. Diversity makes us compassionate about others

 

When we interact and try to understand others, we will not judge them. This instead makes us compassionate about others. We are then able to love and help one another. Compassion allows us to empathize with others and realize that all human beings are the same. Hatred amongst people of cultural differences only makes us resentful and full of hunger, and often denying us the opportunity to live life to the fullest.

 

3. Diversity is a growing trend

 

Today there is no country in the world that has only natives living there. Each and every day, millions of people are moving from a part of the world to another. Most people are in such of better opportunities, education and lifestyle. In the process people of different cultural backgrounds often find themselves going to the same schools, working in the same office and so much more. As citizens of this world, we are therefore left with no choice other than to embrace our diversity. Children have to be taught to live and respect people who are different from them in some way so that the world would be a peaceful place to live.

 

4. Diversity opens up new market opportunities

 

Through diversity, entrepreneurs have been able to reach new markets. Today we have multinationals setting up offices in different parts of the world of which it would not be possible without embracing diversity. This further creates employment opportunities for people in those parts of the world. 

 

Moral of the Story: Embrace cultural diversity. It's important for a sustainable and healthy lifestyle across the board.

 

 

 

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DIVERSITY & INCLUSION IN THE LEGAL INDUSTRY

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION IN THE LEGAL INDUSTRY

 

This article appeared in Marketing the Law Firm, an ALM publication reporting on the latest, and most effective strategies. For Chief Marketing Officers, Managing Partners, Law Firm Marketing Directors, Administrators, Consultants. Visit the website to learn more.

 

Let’s face it — most lawyers and law firms all do the same thing (handle complex legal issues for clients) and a lot of them look the same and sound the same (unfortunately). So, how do you differentiate your firm? There are dozens of ways you can do this — through practice, industry or geographic focus, for example — but one aspect of law firms that is becoming increasingly of interest to clients — and an area that might offer opportunities for differentiation — is law firm commitment to increasing and sustaining diversity.

 

Diversity and Inclusion: The New Buzzwords Diversity and inclusion seem to be the major buzzwords at law firms these days. Every day, there is yet another article or news item about firms implementing the Mansfield Rule (which requires 30% of a firm’s leadership candidates to be minorities and women) being implemented at firms, or the impact of ABA Resolution 113 that “urges all providers of legal services, including law firms and corporations, to expand and create opportunities at all levels of responsibility for diverse attorneys.”

 

The legal media haven’t only amped up coverage of law firm diversity, but they’ve increased the variety of topics as well. Even the mainstream media is getting in on the action, e.g.: “Facebook Pushes Outside Law Firms to Become More Diverse,” The New York Times, April 2, 2017).

 

So, with all this attention and focus on diversity, how do you best communicate your commitment to diversity and inclusion externally and how can you effectively differentiate your firm that way?

 

Diversity and the Media When looking at your spokespeople, make sure you have a diverse pool. It’s easy just to pick the most senior, most experienced attorneys to be spokespeople — but, for better or worse, those attorneys often end up being older white men.

 

Promote any diversity awards/rankings/etc. While the media won’t generally publicize awards you receive, you can easily craft a “press release” for posting on your website that will appear in Google searches.

 

Identify the right spokesperson at your firm for diversity and inclusion. Some firms (such as Reed Smith) have a Global Chair, Diversity & Inclusion, who acts as the firm’s go-to spokesperson on all diversity and inclusion inquiries. It also helps to have spokespeople located in different geographical locations, as they can speak to the specific issues of their regions.

 

Encourage your diverse attorneys to write articles and op-eds — especially those who describe their own personal experience and journey being a diverse attorney.

 

Make sure you know and connect with the various outlets that cover legal industry diversity and diversity, in general. Some of those publications include: 1) Profiles in Diversity Journal: http://bit.ly/2uJj615; 2) MCCA Diversity & the Bar: http://bit.ly/2uiVhjr; 3) Diversity, Inc.: http://bit.ly/2tNXvng; 4) Minority Business News: http://mbnusa.biz/; and 5) WILEF (Women in Law Empowerment Forum) Tribune: http://wileftribune.com/.

 

Collaborating with HR and Recruiting 1. Suggest that Human Resources (HR) be proactive in encouraging attorneys to self-identify as diverse. Some HR professionals are concerned about pushing people too hard to identify as diverse — but the better demographics a firm has (and shares), the more accurate the industry demographics (which are getting better, but are still somewhat pathetic)

 

2. Ensure that you (Marketing) and HR stay abreast of the real numbers and demographics. Many law firm diversity rankings are based solely on numbers, so it’s important that you have up-to-date, accurate numbers of your diverse attorneys.

 

3. Team up with Recruiting to make sure they have the right materials (like an “annual review,” for example; see below) for recruiting diverse attorneys. Reprints of articles focused on diversity in which your firm/attorneys appear can also be powerful tools.

 

Digital Differentiation 1. Make sure that the diversity section of your website is front-and-center and easy to find. Don’t let it get buried somewhere because a website consultant tells you that you need to limit your main navigation topics. Clients (and recruits) who want to know about your diversity want to access information about diversity at your firm quickly. Don’t make them hunt for it.

 

2. An “annual review” featuring your firm’s diversity accomplishments is a great way to share your successes and accomplishments, and having both a print and digital version allows you to share it through multiple platforms.

 

3. Producing video profiles is a great way for diverse attorneys to share their own experiences, and can be powerful tools in recruiting and client development. They are also great for posting on your website and for sharing on social media (SM).

 

4. Work with your SM team to ensure that your diversity news and accomplishments are shared on all of the firm’s active platforms. Instagram and Facebook are ideal platforms for promoting your D&I initiatives and successes. Few law firms use Instagram — so using it to highlight your diversity successes could be a real differentiator.

 

5. Creating a blog focused on law firm diversity can give the opportunity to talk about all the great things your firm is doing — and also to participate in the broader conversation about diversity in the legal profession.

 

Other Ideas 1. Diversity Scholarships for Law School Students: This is a great way to help increase the pool of diverse law school graduates, and also give you the opportunity to meet some of the best and brightest (some of whom might make great summer associates — and permanent associates later on.).

 

2. Diversity Awards: To encourage the mentoring of young diverse associates, consider establishing an internal award that recognizes an attorney for his or her contribution to mentoring diverse associates.

 

Other Sources There are plenty of organizations and consultants that can help with your diversity and inclusion initiatives: 1) Diversity Lab: http://bit.ly/2tx0H2t: One of the best and most progressive legal industry diversity organizations known. Founder and CEO Caren Ulrich Stacy is a true visionary. 2) Minority Corporate Counsel Association: https://www.mcca.com, one of the oldest national organizations dedicated to legal industry diversity (established in 1997). 3) California Minority Counsel Program: http://www.cmcp.org/: Formed in 1989 in response to the disparity between the percentage of minorities in California’s population and legal profession. 4) The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession: http://www.theiilp.com/: focused on “comprehensive outreach and original programming to replace barriers with bridges between legal, judicial, professional, educational and governmental institution.” 5) Ida Abbot Consulting: http://bit.ly/2uQK8bd: Ida is one of the “originals” in law firm gender diversity.

 

Conclusion Whatever you do in connection with diversity and inclusion, 1) Remember that increasing diversity in the legal profession is not only a good thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. 2) Clients will continue to focus on ensuring their outside law firms are diverse — as well as the teams working on their matters. 3) Make sure you communicate your good work through as many channels as possible. Don’t be shy about tooting your own horn. What you are doing vis á vis diversity and inclusion may challenge someone else to do the same — or more.

 

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