Diversity Woman Magazine

WIN 2018

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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32 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N W i n t e r 2 0 1 8 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m and utilize those vast experiences to create better outcomes for customers we serve," Janice Little says. Anise Wiley-Little has personally seen how diversity can impact a company's bottom line. e chief human capital and diversity officer for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has dedicated more than 25 years of her career to making these shifts happen for companies, most recently with Allstate Insurance. Wiley-Little recalls that while discuss- ing sales goals with a senior leader at a previous company, "it became very clear that diversity mattered at an organiza- tional level, as we had the opportunity to tap into the multicultural marketplace in a way we hadn't before," she says, which of course impacts the bottom line. In or- der to do that, company salespeople and leaders had to be equipped with under- standing how to approach underserved communities. "In minority communities, it's only when you are viewed as being part of that community—participating in their events, for example—that people there value you more, and then they want to do business with you. at's the type of education we had to reinforce with our leaders and salespeople to understand the opportunity." iacom, the billion- dollar media conglom- erate, relies on diversity and inclusion as a strate- gic business priority. e organization leverages its diverse talent pool to create program- ming that reflects the audiences it serves around the globe. "We are focused on ensuring that the people behind and in front of the cam- era resonate with diverse audiences and deliver culturally relevant stories and ex- periences," says Daisy Auger-Dominguez, senior vice president of talent acquisition at Viacom. With a portfolio of brands that serve diverse communities, includ- ing MTV, BET, and Nickelodeon, "this is a priority for us," she says. Many companies make diversity and inclusion a priority, but there's a growing public backlash against diversity. e issue hit the front pages when, in the summer of 2017, Google software engineer James Damore published a 10- page memo addressed to his colleagues arguing that women are less biologically suited to careers in technology, conclud- ing with a call to "de-moralize diversity." e company fired him, but the idea that the diversity movement had gone too far became hotly contested in the media and across workplaces. Damore's argument is hardly new. Cel- ebrated men throughout history, from Charles Darwin to former Harvard Uni- versity President Larry Summers, have pointed to women's inferiority to explain the lack of women advancing in the sci- ences. But the recent incident at Google refreshed the argument, with public figures like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Eric Weinstein, managing director of iel Capital, rushing to de- fend Damore's views. It was later found that several fellow Google employees also agreed with his arguments. Other critics of diversity programs ar- gue that they are an extension of federally mandated affirmative action programs, and that often standards are lowered to create access and equity for underrepre- sented groups. Michele C. Meyer-Shipp, chief diver- sity and inclusion officer at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, strongly dis- agrees. "Diversity management is not a federal mandate but rather a commitment by an organization to ensure that their workplaces are reflective of the diverse communities they work in and/or custom- ers they serve," she emphasizes. "I would flat out say to people who make that assertion, 'that's not an accurate statement,'" says Janice Little, global chief diversity officer for Lowe's Companies. "en we're saying that people in under- served groups are subpar. And I would challenge anyone to prove that." Not only are D&I initiatives not detrimental to a company's level of talent, say its proponents, but there's strong evidence to highlight that diversity creates business potential for organiza- tions and enhances the bottom line. McKinsey & Company's analysis of 366 global public companies found that com- panies with greater ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to outperform their industry peers financially. And companies with more gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their peers. "Diversity matters because it's an opportunity to be innovative, to lever- age gifts and talents of all of our people, Daisy Auger-Dominguez Senior Vice President of Talent Acquisition, Viacom Anise Wiley-Little Chief Human Capital and Diversity Officer, Kellogg School of Management Why Diversity Matters

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