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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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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DIVERSITY DESPERATELY NEEDS INCLUSION

Diversity Desperately Needs Inclusion

By: Tony Wright

 

Several months ago, I was invited to attend a small gathering to discuss workplace diversity. I sat alongside other leaders for breakfast to learn about what they'd done to help diversify their work teams. The facilitator of this small gathering was a very passionate white female that sought to change the usual demographic in the upper echelons of management. As she began to facilitate the discussion, I leaned forward with curiosity, as I knew that, on this day, I'd learn something different. The energy in the room was fantastic. 

 

The facilitator arranged for a group of prominent leaders - all white men - to engage in an interactive conversation with the audience about how to ensure women were given ample opportunities to compete for leadership positions. She asked really tough questions, and quite frankly, the (white) men gave solid responses that were really helpful. Many of these men had already implemented succuessful hiring initiatives to give more women opportunities to compete. They were changing the demographic of their companies, and they had the numbers to prove it.

 

One CEO gave specifics about how his organization shaped interview panels so that the ratio of men to women was appropriate. Basically, his theory was that a balanced panel would more than likely make a balanced decision. This simple tweak obviously made a big impact in his organization - more women were allegedly given more opportunities for advancement.

 

In another example, a CEO stated that he mandated that diversity committees be formed in different divisions throughout his organization. He stated that the committees were formed to bring back innovative ideas that supported the advancement of diversity. Similar to the earlier example, women were asked to participate in these committees, and as such, they developed plans that were thoughtful and deliberate. After these plans were implemented, the CEO stated that they quickly began to see changes - positive changes - in all layers of management in his organization.

 

After several other CEOs spoke, and the audience asked their fair share of questions, the facilitator summarized the lessons learned for us to take back to our home organizations. Enthused and ready to put a plan in place for my company, I pointed my attention back to the facilitator to listen to her closing remarks. Her powerpoint ended with a before and after picture of an executive team. The "current state" image showcased a gathering of business men - all white men - dressed in fancy suits and ties. The "future state" image was much different. It was a collection of men and women, all dressed professionally - - - and, they were all - - -  white.

 

Not a single woman of color.

 

As I looked around the room, the audience appeared to be excited and engaged. I was not. I was beginning to feel defeated, as if people who looked like me were intentionally carved out of the diversity conversation. You see, I am an African American male. No one else in the room looked like me.

 

In an instant, I transitioned from being highly engaged, to feeling a sense of frustration. I felt alone.

 

And then, it hit me. 

 

Diversity requires inclusion at all levels. Without it, it diversity doesn't stick, and there is no real, sustainable engagement. We must include everyone in the conversation to have balance - including black men, and white men. Women of color, members of the LGBTQ community, disabled employees... The list goes on. No member of any "group" will have the desire to participate in such an important conversation if they aren't positively impacted.

 

Thoughtful inclusion of everyone is probably the best way to get full participation when having these types of discussions. Without inclusion, there's often a diversity backlash that can occur, which is what I felt when I saw the all-white image of an executive leadership team.

 

 

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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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GOOGLE TO HIRE THOUSANDS IN 9 STATES

Google to Hire Thousands in 9 States

(CNN Money) — Google is going on a U.S. hiring spree, increasing its footprint outside of Silicon Valley.

 

The Mountain View, California-based company is expanding or opening offices in nine states, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said during an earnings call on Thursday.

 

“We plan to hire thousands of people across the U.S. this year,” said Pichai. “Last year in the US we grew faster outside the Bay Area than in the Bay Area. To support this growth, we will be making significant investments in offices across nine states, including Colorado and Michigan.”

 

Typically considered a Silicon Valley company, the plans are consistent with Google’s U.S. hiring in recent years. The company currently has an office or a data center in 21 states.

 

Related Story: Here's How To Overcome Diversity in Tech

 

The Alphabet-owned company will also open or build five new data centers in the United States in 2018. The company currently has six open data centers in states including Oklahoma, Iowa and North Carolina.

 

A single data center only employs between 70 and 350 people. Though their data centers don’t generate huge numbers of jobs, tech companies typically receive local and state tax incentives in exchange for picking certain locations.

 

Back home, Google is also busy planning a massive expansion into San Jose, which is only 13 miles from its current headquarters in Mountain View.

 

There’s been increased attention on tech company hiring in the United States, and political pressure to invest and create jobs locally.

 

Facebook has five data centers across the country and plans to open five more. Apple recently said it would invest $30 billion in facilities and create 20,000 jobs in the United States over the next five years. Amazon has turned its search for a second headquarters’ city into a highly publicized contest  dangling the promise of 50,000 new jobs for local tax break offers.

 

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

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WHY THE (ENTREPRENEURIAL) FUTURE IS FEMALE

WHY THE (ENTREPRENEURIAL) FUTURE IS FEMALE

Women own only 5 percent of startups. So, when we talk about inequality, how about talking about women entrepreneurs?

 

By: Jeffrey Hayzlett

 

This time of year is normally filled with stories about holiday cheer and yuletide goodwill to all. 'Tis the season after all. No wonder that in years past, I've typically written about Christmas movies, business or some other jolly topic.

 

Related: The Best Places for Women to Work in 2017

 

This year, however,it would an oversight to address the holidays without addressing what's dominated the pre-holiday news cycle: gender inequality and sexual harassment. Everyone is talking about these things, and not just media personalities, Hollywood celebs and other high-profile individuals. (Those are the ones making the headlines!)

 

One reason why so many are talking? While public figures, in a public setting, are the ones we're hearing about most, the reality is that sexual harassment and discrimination occur on a regular basis, even in fields like ours.

 

We can’t eradicate the underlying inequality from every industry by snapping our fingers, but we can do something to combat it in our own industry. Entrepreneurship, after all, is contagious. It’s a state of mind, a way of life: A good idea deserves to be launched, regardless of who is launching it. Yet the reality is so often about who gets that opportunity, and when.

 

Let me show you some numbers:

  • Women own only 5 percent of startups.
  • Only 7 percent of partners at top 100 venture capital firms are women.
  • Women hold only 11 percent of the executive positions in Silicon Valley.
  • Last year, venture capitalists invested just $1.46 billion in women-led companies, while male-led companies earned $58.2 billion in investments, according to M&A and venture capital database Pitchbook.

 

How do we, as entrepreneurs and business owners, help address this national issue? How do we address the gender gap in our own midst, in entrepreneurship? And what does a middle-aged, white man know about this gap to begin with?

 

I’ll start by admitting that I’m not an expert in the topic, but as a student of human nature, I see that the tools to combat this are right in front of us -- if we know where to look. Here are some steps we can take.

 

Set goals.

 

Rome wasn’t built in a day and the issue of gender parity won’t go away in a week, a month or even a year. Set a goal. For example, Oath CEO Tim Armstrong said during a cable TV news interview that his mission was to fill at least half of his company’s leadership positions by 2020 with women.

 

He also said that Oath (a company that was born from the merger between AOL and Yahoo!) is “roughly [at] the 30 percent [level] right now.” He said he wanted to achieve his goal of 50 percent female leadership by promoting from within and creating new positions in areas where women can lead.

 

He said that his initial plan was to launch a new company within the Oath umbrella, where all leadership positions would be filled by women. In fact, the entire company would employ women.

 

His plan seemed flawless until he had a conversation with none other than feminist icon Gloria Steinem.

 

She reminded him that women don’t need a separate workspace -- quite the opposite, actually. She pointed out to Armstrong that business owners at all levels need to take more risks within their own ecosystems, as companies perform better where men and women can work side by side.

 

According to a McKinsey report, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to outperform above average, financially, within their industry.

 

At my own company, I’ve hired more women than men. I know what they’re capable of and I’ve taken steps to empower them to make decisions. One of those steps involves my response when someone asks me a question.

 

“I will not do the work of my very talented team,” I sometimes reply. That means that I want those team members to make the decision. If their decision ends up being wrong, it’s a learning experience. (More often than not, my team makes the right decision.)

 

Ensure equal access to capital.

 

Despite many advances in gender equality, it’s still an old boys network in terms of financing and investing in startups. A study by Harvard Business School found that investors prefer entrepreneurial ventures pitched by men. The study also took a look at video pitches and found they were twice as likely to get funded when they were narrated by men.

 

This doesn’t even make sense to me. If it’s a good idea, with a good business plan -- fund it!

 

A quarterly report by Fundera found that female entrepreneurs on average ask for roughly $35,000 less in financing their small businesses than men. The report also found that across the board, women entrepreneurs get offered smaller loans (2.5 times less money), than men do.

 

Because it’s so hard to get funding from VCs or angel investors, especially female-led startups, many organizations have taken steps to address these challenges. Companies like Watermark, SheWorx, Merge Lanes and BBG Ventures, to name a few, are making it easier not just to acquire capital, but to access it as well.

 

Despite women-led businesses being the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship, they still comprise a small percentage of companies funded by VCs. Some blame this on under-representation of women’s businesses, but I think that statement is a cop-out. As I’ve said before, good ideas aren’t a monopoly for one segment of the population to own.

 

In my own company, I encourage anyone with an idea to step forward -- whether it’s the president of the company or the intern. A good idea from a female entrepreneur deserves the same shot at funding as any other good idea from a male colleague.

 

Share the spotlight.

 

Earlier this year, I attended a conference in New York City. Throughout the conference, I noticed that the majority of the panels were all-male, and I thought to myself, “Why isn’t there a woman on that panel?” Our company does a lot of events throughout the year, so I made a mental note to tell my C-suite network team to make sure we have a diverse list of speakers and panelists at every conference and summit we do.

 

In fact, this problem is a prevalent one. The upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES), was recently called out by female tech executives for its lack of inclusion and diversity. It might be one of the largest tech events, but its keynote-speaker lineup lacked any women.

 

Twitter CMO Leslie Berland, in particular, took to social media on Dec. 3 to make her feelings known, tweeting, “I’ve got a long list of amazing women to hit your stage. Let’s talk. #changetheratio.” And JP Morgan Chase’s CMO, Kristen Lemkau,  chimed in, naming a long list of women innovators in “less time than it took to drink coffee.”

 

As a result of this backlash, the show organizers made changes to the program. And that was the right thing to do: Giving women exposure as part of a panel, as a keynote speaker or in some other visible role, helps narrow the gender gap -- if only in a small way.

 

Make no mistake about it: The problem we face is a big one. It's a systemic problem that none of us can change alone, but when we all work toward multiple solutions, progress happens.

 

As business owners and entrepreneurs, we need to take a good, hard look at ourselves and tackle this issue head on. We must ask ourselves, "Are we part of the problem?" And, if so, we have to fix it!

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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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THE BEST PLACES FOR WOMEN TO WORK IN 2017

THE BEST PLACES FOR WOMEN TO WORK IN 2017

Every year, we take a look at the employee reviews left by women in the Fairygodboss community to try to understand which companies are ranked most highly by female employees for job satisfaction and gender equality. For 2017, our users got to talking, and the results are in — here are this year’s top 30 best companies for women:

 

  1. Boston Consulting Group
  2. Dell
  3. Accenture
  4. PepsiCo
  5. General Electric
  6. Salesforce, Deloitte and PwC (tied)
  7. Vanguard Group and Apple (tied)
  8. American Express Company
  9. Kaiser Permanente
  10. Thomson Reuters
  11. Time Inc.
  12. Cisco Systems
  13. Microsoft
  14. Google and Bloomberg (tied)
  15. McKinsey & Company
  16. KPMG
  17. EY
  18. Wells Fargo
  19. Goldman Sachs
  20. JP Morgan Chase & Co
  21. Target Corporation and The Home Depot (tied)
  22. IBM
  23. Dow Jones
  24. Liberty Mutual Group
  25. Intel Corporation

 

Unlike many other “best places to work” lists, ours is not editorially determined. We have simply averaged the answers to three questions that over 14,000 women have answered in their anonymous job reviews on our site: (1) What is your overall level of job satisfaction at this company; (2) Do you think this company treats men fairly and equally?; and (3) Would you recommend this company to other women?

 

While no company scores perfectly on all counts (which would be implied by a score of 100), and causation isn’t to be confused with correlation, we do see patterns in the underlying data that may offer an explanation as to why these companies appear on the list.

 

For starters, many of these companies have well-known brands that have invested significant resources in employee and diversity initiatives that specifically support women. For example, the vast majority of the companies on this list offer above-average paid parental leave policies, have women represented in the senior management ranks, and offer policies such as workplace flexibility that female employees take note of and discuss in their reviews.

 

There are some notable industry concentrations on this list, as well. For example, technology and consulting firms are well-represented. Some people express surprise at the prevalence of those two industries on our list due to the fact that women in technology have gotten notoriously bad treatment that’s been highlighted by the media. Those stories are undeniable and point to cultural problems, but they may also not be representative of every firm, nor every female employee’s experiences. Similarly, some are surprised that the consulting industry, which requires so much client-facing time and travel away from home, does so well on our list.

 

In our view, it’s probably no coincidence that these two industries offer some of the most generous benefits packages, mentorship and sponsorship programs for women, and also have made equal pay and recruiting women a priority. Both industries are also very cognizant of what they need to offer in terms of parental leave and related benefits (such as backup childcare options) to new mothers and women trying to re-enter the workplace after a career break. Finally, companies in both industries tend to have invested significantly in supporting technical women in terms of recruiting and educational philanthropy.

 

Our goal in releasing these rankings is to highlight employers who have successfully made investments in culture, benefits and policies that result in an employee base that believes they’re treated fairly and enjoys higher than average job satisfaction. At Fairygodboss, we know that everyone can benefit from this transparency and learn from the examples these companies set in gender equality and gender diversity.

 

This article was previously published on www.fairygodboss.com