Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds
Issue link: http://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/662902
We Mean Business > 24 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N S u m m e r 2 0 1 6 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Chevron, and I can go back to the very frst day. I walked into a Port Arthur, Tex- as, refnery center and an African Ameri- can gentleman took me under his wing. I was assigned to his unit as a process en- gineer, and [at the time] he and I were the only two people of color in that unit. He taught me great lessons about people and respect, and that's something that I have carried throughout my career. When I became president of global marketing, which was a very large strategic business unit, I thought that in order for us to be efective, it was critical that we look like our customer base. We operated in about 60 countries, we had about 10,000 peo- ple, and over time, my leadership team became diverse, because not only was it the right thing to do, but that is how we increase performance and innovation. DW: You also serve, in your current role, as the executive sponsor of Chevron's university partnership programs. Why are such programs important in ensur- ing diversity? SSY: Te frst step in building a strong workforce is to drive innovation and to identify and recruit the best and bright- est. Tat's why we've developed the Uni- versity Partnership and Association Rela- tions [UPAR] group. We have, through UPAR, forged strate- gic relationships with nearly 100 colleges and universities, including historically black colleges and universities, and we have relationships with 30 associations, including the NAACP, the National Urban League [NUL], the National Society of Black Engineers [NSBE], and the Nation- al Action Council of Minorities in Engi- neering [NACME]. And that's just in the United States. Internationally, we have [built] rela- tionships with organizations and insti- tutions in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Venezu- ela, and more. We attract top talent through these strong relationships. For example, we are a company of engineers, and unfor- tunately, the percentage of minority en- gineers in US schools in the past 10 years has declined. Te way we attract talent to our company is through our UPAR pro- grams, and they're a critical success fac- tor of innovation. Cost and spending are important, but you can't just cost-cut or spend your way to competitive advan- tage. You have to out-innovate. To out- innovate, you must have a diverse work- force, and that's what UPAR provides us. DW: Numbers still remain low in terms of minorities and women in STEM (science, tech, engineering, and mathematics) careers. What are some of the challenges you're seeing, and what are your insights on combating those challenges? SSY: Let's look at the US on that issue for a second: African Americans have made up only 4 percent of students in the engi- neering disciplines, and the number has not changed over the years. As an employer who hires a lot of en- gineers and analysts, that's a big prob- lem. We're working through NACME and NSBE, but more than that, we're spend- ing about $130 million in STEM educa- tion that we have earmarked over the past few years to increase the represen- tation of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering by creating pathways, scholarships, and role models. We've started the Chevron Engineer- ing Academies, and we came to the re- alization that if you look at your com- munity colleges, in many cases—such as Texas, with colleges like Alamo College, Texas Southmost College, and Dallas and Houston community colleges—they're over 80 percent diverse. Challenges re- lated to fnances or family can mean that brilliant [minority] students are not able to go to Texas A&M University or other engineering schools. Trough a grant of- fered through Texas A&M, the academies were launched where students enrolled at participating community colleges take their frst few years of courses with Texas A&M engineering professors, and that accelerates a pathway into the engineer- ing school. It's one way of looking at data and forging solutions. We also have programs, processes, and initiatives that are guided by the "Chev- ron Way." It has a few strategies: Invest in people. Grow proftably. Execute ex- cellence. What diversity at Chevron means is that we learn from and respect everyone, we demonstrate respect for the uniqueness of an individual, and we have an inclusive workforce that em- braces diversity. DW: What advice do you have for midlevel managers and executives who want to launch impactful diversity initiatives? SSY: Don't think of diversity as something extra. Tink of it as integral to your busi- ness success. Te only way to create sus- tained success is to outperform the compe- tition, and the only way to outperform the competition is to out-innovate the compe- tition. Innovation comes from diversity. Some people might think, Well, this is not about producing another barrel of oil or another widget, but it really is. We know from data that diverse teams create higher value, however you measure value, whether it's [metrics like] safety, perfor- mance, or earnings per share. When you have an engaged workforce that's respect- ed, you're going to have innovation, and if you have innovation, you're going to succeed. It is core to our values. DW Janell Hazelwood is an award-winning writer and editor and is chief consultant for Te BossMoves, which provides business development strategy services to minority and women entrepreneurs. To out-innovate, you must have a diverse workforce.