ELC Research Journal - Fall 2020 Edition

Page 1


The Executive Leadership Council Journal

A Research Journal for Black Professionals Fall 2020


The Executive Leadership Council Journal

A Research Journal for Black Professionals Fall 2020

Copyright Š 2020 by The Executive Leadership Council, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. ISBN 978-0-578-76810-6

Contents Letter from the Editor.............................................................. 1 From Managing Diversity to Dismantling Anti-Blackness: Recalibrating Efforts to Advance Racial Equity........................... 3 by Courtney L. McCluney & Verรณnica Caridad Rabelo Own Your Status as Black American SME to Help Your Company Win With Black Consumers...............................15 by Cheryl Grace Building Leaders: An Equity & Inclusion Lens in Healthcare....... 27

by Rosa M. Colon-Kolacko, and Nkanta Nicholas Hines, Sr.

Global Mindset, Experience and Competency for Black Executives...............................................................43

by India Martin

Leveraging the Power of Emotional Intelligence in Professional Contexts.........................................................49

by Karima Mariama-Arthur and Kathey Porter

Preliminary Global Diversity and Inclusion Observations for Black Executives........................................... 61

by Dr. Akosua Barthwell Evans

Self-Security Post COVID-19: Making the Transition from Corporate Steward to Entrepreneur.................................. 81

by Hume G. Merritt III and Sherrel A. Sampson

About the Contributors...........................................................91

Letter from the Editor A lot has changed in the months since our first edition in February. The world is submerged in fighting a public health crisis in the form of a pandemic that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and changed the way corporations do business. Working from home is part of the new normal and thoughts of returning to a work environment, sitting closer than six feet apart from your colleague, is unimaginable. We are balancing life as a corporate professional, schoolteacher, and family sitting in our home office or even at our kitchen table, while trying our best to manage the stress that taking all the necessary steps to stay healthy during COVID-19 has placed upon us. Furthermore, we are facing a social justice crisis that many would argue is a racism pandemic attacking Black lives and could be identified as the pandemic within the pandemic. With the deaths of Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd our communities stood up against the senseless killing of Black people making systemic racism across the globe an issue that will no longer be ignored. Navigating the corporate culture during a time of extreme uncertainty has placed countless hardships upon Black professionals and figuring out how to navigate during the Great Reset, and what will be coined as the new normal, will be done with all eyes watching. Within this edition we take the weight of these issues into account with articles addressing these very topics and the impact on Black professionals. We are grateful to the authors who found the determination and resilience during this stressful time to commit to their research and share their findings. We thank the peer reviewers, ELC Members, and ELC team who worked to bring this edition to you.

Christopher Butts, Ed.D. Vice President/Chief Learning Officer for the Institute for Leadership Development & Research The Executive Leadership Council





From Managing Diversity to Dismantling Anti-Blackness: Recalibrating Efforts to Advance Racial Equity by Courtney L. McCluney & Verรณnica Caridad Rabelo Common efforts to manage diversity often result in the management of Blackness, whereby actions designed to promote diversity and inclusion result in greater control of Black people. In this article, we elaborate on managing Blackness as an ironic and harmful outcome of diversity management practices. We then provide strategies to help advocates shift away from managing diversity and instead focus on dismantling anti-Blackness in workplaces. Doing so will ensure efforts to advance racial equity will produce their intended effects for Black people in organizations and our broader communities. COURTNEY L. MCCLUNEY is a faculty member in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. VERร NICA CARIDAD RABELO is a faculty member in the Lam Family College of Business at San Francisco State University.


LEADERS OF CORPORATIONS, a majority for the first time, have publicly expressed their support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the ongoing brutal force that police officers and civilians enact toward Black people in the United States, leading to the murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky; Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia; and Tony McDade in Tallahassee, Florida. Company statements are often perceived as empty platitudes because their actions do not match their sentiment that Black lives matter in these organizations.



This discrepancy between organizational communication and action reflects deeper tensions between the intent versus impact of diversity-related efforts in organizations. Approximately half of the Fortune 500 companies have appointed a Chief Diversity Officer, and many more feature Diversity and Inclusion pages on their websites describing their various approaches to managing diverse talent. The proliferation of roles and businesses designed to manage diversity1 indicates the increased need for this service in organizations across the globe. Yet, the proliferation of these practices—and, indeed, an entire profession of diversity practitioners—have not moved the needle for Black employees’ representation and advancement, leading us to ponder the effectiveness of diversity efforts in organizations. We find that common efforts to manage diversity often result in the management of Blackness—actions with the intent and/ or impact of controlling Black people—rather than addressing the underlying causes of racism and injustice. In this article, we elaborate on managing Blackness as an ironic and harmful outcome of efforts to promote diversity. We then provide strategies to help advocates shift away from managing diversity and instead focus on dismantling anti-Blackness. Specifically, we present a framework to explain how common diversity management practices may be recalibrated to eradicate systems of injustice. Doing so will ensure efforts to advance racial equity will produce their intended effects for Black people in organizations and our broader communities. Managing Diversity or Managing Blackness? Dr. Roosevelt Thomas created the term diversity management to describe business strategies focused on expanding the representation and inclusion of all employees across organizational domains, such as recruitment and selection; training and development; and branding and marketing. Diversity management is often focused on concrete actions that managers can take to support all employees more effectively, especially those from different race and gender groups. Although these efforts are intended to promote greater diversity and inclusion in organizations, their impact is often 4


counterproductive for Black employees. Attempts to promote greater diversity in organizations have largely failed to advance racial equity, sometimes even exacerbating inequality. We refer to this phenomenon as managing Blackness: actions with the stated goal of promoting diversity and inclusion yet result in greater control of Black people. These ironic outcomes of diversity management occur for at least two reasons. First, efforts to promote diversity and inclusion ultimately occur within white spaces: places where white people are overrepresented and where Black people are typically absent, not expected, or marginalized when present.2 According to this definition, professional organizations also represent white spaces, but operate under the guise as normative, meritocratic, and race-neutral in society.3 The inability to recognize the pervasive whiteness of corporations inhibits us from seeing how common diversity management practices fail to benefit, or can even harm, Black people in organizations. A failure to center Black people and anti-Black racism is a second reason why diversity management yields ironic outcomes. If efforts to promote diversity fail to recognize the root cause of inequality, then any attempts to remedy inequality will fall short. In our previous work,4 we identified three ways that efforts to manage diversity instead manage Blackness: 1. Relying on the business case for diversity: Economic-based justifications for addressing diversityrelated goals tend to value diversity insofar as it yields financial gains. Reliance on the business case manages Blackness by commodifying Black people. That is, it dehumanizes them by tying and restricting their worth to their ability to serve the interests of white spaces and capitalist interests.5 Even when organizations experience financial benefits associated with diversity and inclusion, these outcomes do not necessarily produce material or social benefits for Black employees.



2. Exhibiting a narrow imagination of Blackness: Gatekeepers in organizations attempt to hire, retain, and promote the ‘right’ kind of Black employee, such as those who codeswitch or assimilate to white standards. This narrow imagination manages Blackness by controlling and constricting how Black employees are expected to monitor and/or modify their identity and appearance at work. 3. Using a blanket application of diversity: This represents a reliance on vague language in organizational communication around diversity, equity, and inclusion rather than referencing particular identity groups. This overly general language manages Blackness by concealing Black people and their specific equity issues. Together, these common efforts to manage diversity produce ironic outcomes given how they commodify, control, constrict, and/or conceal Black people in organizations. The following table provides additional examples of how efforts to manage diversity instead manage Blackness across various organizational domains.

HOW COMMON EFFORTS TO MANAGE DIVERSITY INSTEAD MANAGE BLACKNESS Relying on the Business Case for Diversity Justifying and measuring success of diversity-related initiatives based on increased revenue, market share, and customer base6 rather than by their impact on Black employees (e.g., safety, well-being, satisfaction, equity). Exploiting the labor of Black employees. A recent statement from the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of Refinery29, a women-centered media group, describes how Black women’s contributions to the organization and popular culture are essential to the company’s brand, popularity, and success.7 Yet Black women currently and formerly employed at the organization report experiencing widespread mistreatment, including undermining, excessive scrutiny, and pay inequities.



Over-relying on the business case for diversity does not guarantee inclusion or equity for Black employees, and in many cases results in their commodification and control.

Exhibiting a Narrow Imagination of Blackness White gatekeepers are more likely to select Black applicants whom they expect to remain silent about race-related issues,8 which will affect how Black employees are interviewed, selected, and treated, if hired. Once hired, Black women often experience “going from pet to threat”,9 whereby their non-Black coworkers tout and tokenize them without fully valuing their presence and contributions. When Black women confront or resist this mistreatment, their non-Black colleagues perceive accountability as a threat, often responding with defensiveness, gaslighting, ostracism, and/or hostility. A narrow imagination of Blackness is rampant in the fashion industry, where Black people face restrictions and commodification. For instance, clothing retailer Zara describes itself as “a diverse and multicultural company that … [does] not tolerate discrimination.”10 Yet, managers told a Black woman employee that her braids were not “clean” or “professional,” “not the look for Zara,” then attempted to restyle her hair outside of the store in the busy mall.11

Using a Blanket Application of Diversity Avowed commitments to diversity that fail to attend to the specific history and patterns of anti-Blackness in the organization will not ensure equity for Black employees. This is particularly evident in Silicon Valley, as Quaid Saifee, president of WIT Inc., notes: “When a company says that it is committed to diversity within its ranks, this could mean they hire lots of Asians, but it does not speak to how many Black employees they have or are willing to have.”12 Blanket applications of diversity are also reflected when organizations express commitments to color-blind values, such as equality and fairness. These seemingly neutral ideologies serve to manage Blackness through their adverse impact on policies, such as racialized dress codes and hiring practices.13



Building on this work, we urge organizational leaders to recalibrate their efforts. In the following section, we provide strategies to help advocates shift away from managing diversity, and instead move toward dismantling anti-Black racism to advance racial equity. From Managing Diversity to Dismantling Anti-Blackness Anti-Blackness is a global phenomenon that stems from settlercolonialism and white supremacy. It is a particular manifestation of racism that, according to Dr. Ross,14 “illuminates society’s inability to recognize [Black people’s] humanity — the disdain, disregard and disgust for [Black people’s] existence.” This specific form of racism pinpoints how hatred of Blackness permeates other racial/ethnic groups who associate darker skin tones with lower value in society and business. In this way, anti-Blackness serves to uphold white supremacy, the cultural and political system that grants disproportionate power and value to white norms, culture, and people. Organizations further reinforce white supremacy as diversity management practices tend to leave unequal workplace structures intact to make it more palatable for a predominately white workforce.15 Efforts to promote diversity that effectively manage Blackness are a form of anti-Blackness in organizations. These attempts to commodify, control, constrict, and conceal Black people are rooted in a larger system that values and protects whiteness. Therefore, advocates who are committed to racial equity must focus on dismantling anti-Blackness. Otherwise, efforts that are solely focused on diversity may backfire and instead result in the maintenance or exacerbation of inequity. Put differently, efforts to promote diversity are destined to fail when they do not account for the underlying cause of inequity: anti-Black racism. We therefore offer a framework for recalibrating these processes so that diversity management practices are focused on dismantling anti-Blackness, rather than managing Blackness. This framework is intended for individuals and groups who are committed to anti-racism work and advancing racial equity in organizations and beyond. In it, we offer a set of strategies and



reflection questions for people in dedicated diversity-related roles such as diversity program officers or employee resource group leaders (see Figure 1). We invite you to reflect on the following strategies and reflection questions as you take inventory of existing diversity-related goals and practices in your current or previous organizations. These questions will help you detect mechanisms that manage Blackness across different work domains. We then encourage you to consider how mechanisms to manage Blackness may be recalibrated so that they instead manage anti-Blackness, whiteness, and injustice.

REFLECTION QUESTIONS TO HELP DISMANTLE ANTI-BLACKNESS IN ORGANIZATIONS Antiracist Cases for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Organizations ■ How might the business case for diversity dehumanize Black employees? ■ What are other logics and rationales we can use to mobilize support for equity?

Greater Valuing of Black Lives ■ How do organizations normalize whiteness and anti-Blackness? ■ How can we hold people and systems accountable for anti-Blackness? ■ How can we recognize diversity within Black communities as well as their shared experiences of racism?

Center Black People in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy ■ How does your organization address anti-Blackness in racial equity work? ■ To what extent are your organizational leaders equipped to address racial equity?



Recalibrated Strategy #1: Antiracist cases for diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizations. Our first strategy to recalibrate is the often-touted business case for diversity framework used in forprofit organizations. Rather than exclusively relying on the business case, dismantling anti-Blackness pushes us to explore different grounds for social justice efforts, such as anti-racism work. As Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts notes, an anti-racist perspective urges us to reckon with “the permanence of racism through organizations, industries and communities, and to recognize that racism is a system of disproportionate opportunity and penalties based on skin color.”16 This perspective assumes that systemic racism is embedded in the fabric of organizational policies, procedures, culture, and positions, and prompts us to dismantle its presence in every aspect of the business. Shifting away from the business case and instead toward an antiracist stance will help advocates redress past harms that they have inflicted on Black people instead of commodifying Blackness for profit. Recalibrated Strategy #2: Greater valuing of Black lives. The second strategy to recalibrate is the tendency to demonstrate a narrow imagination of Blackness, which results in defining then controlling so-called acceptable behavior for Black people. Instead, a recalibrated approach rooted in dismantling anti-Blackness would encourage organizations to consider how they would operate and function if they valued Black people as they are, as well as truly reckon with the harms caused by a narrow imagination of Blackness. An anti-racist coalition used this strategy to recalibrate standard policies and practices at Nextdoor,17 an organization and social media application (app) designed to connect neighbors. Although the app was intended to help neighbors exchange information and goods, it quickly became a vehicle to express narrow imaginations of Blackness, such as using thinly veiled racist language (identifying an unknown individual as “threatening” or “suspicious”) to describe routine behaviors of Black neighbors. Users in California and Texas in particular noticed increased racial profiling in their communities as more users began using the app and displaying narrow imaginations of Blackness.18 This led to



activists pleading for corporate leaders and local government to collaborate and address the racist outcomes of their actions. At first, Nextdoor made it easier for users to flag racist comments, but this reactionary measure was not enough. Nextdoor then partnered with Black activists and researchers, including Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt and One Hundred Black Men, to redesign the app to challenge users’ narrow imaginations of Blackness (e.g., including antiracist behavioral nudges such as “consider unintended consequences if the description is so vague that an innocent person could be targeted”). These efforts represent a commitment to greater valuing of Black lives by taking seriously the harms associated with narrow imaginations of Blackness Recalibrated Strategy #3: Center Black people in diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. The final strategy to recalibrate is the tendency to focus on all forms of diversity simultaneously, while also ignoring power differences across different groups. Instead, dismantling anti-Blackness prompts us to explore how organizational efforts to promote diversity and inclusion are failing to meet the needs of Black people; recalibrated approaches ought to center Black people and the unique inequities they experience. Recalibrating and developing a comprehensive strategy for diversity, equity, and inclusion enables companies to capture sufficient data to understand Black people’s experiences19 and to recognize areas where changes are necessary. Dr. Erin Thomas, Upwork’s newest Head of Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging, wasted no time in creating a specific strategy for retaining Black employees; Thomas implemented a day centered solely on their unique experiences at work.20 By centering Black employees in diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, corporations not only have the opportunity to attract and retain their own workforce, but to shape the experiences of Black people in the broader community. The Creating Respectful and Open Workplaces for Natural Hair (C.R.O.W.N. Act) and the ban-the-box campaigns derived from the collective barriers Black employees face when seeking employment due to bias against hair texture and incarcerations. Centering Black workers in the diversity, equity, and inclusion



strategy has the potential to dismantle anti-Blackness in organizations because it seeks to disrupt and eliminate barriers Black employees encounter at work. Conclusion We are at the precipice of large-scale changes in organizations. Companies may rely on traditional diversity management practices to advance racial equity, but these efforts may not be enough. Although diversity management practices are designed to increase representation and inclusion of Black people, they often grant disproportionate power and resources to white people and white culture by managing Blackness, rather than anti-Blackness. We provide illustrative examples from organizations as well as sample strategies that advocates can use to recalibrate diversity management practices so that they work to dismantle anti-Black racism. Collectively, these recalibration strategies can help leaders honor their stated commitments to antiracism. Doing so will help leaders engage in actions that mirror their statements of public support to promote justice and equity for Black people in their organizations and beyond.



Notes: 1 – Newkirk, P. (2019). Diversity Inc.: The failed promise of a billion-dollar business. Hatchette Books. 2 – Anderson, E. (2015). “The White Space.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 1(1), 10-21. 3 – Ray, V. (2019). Why so many organizations stay white. Harvard Business Review. 4 – McCluney, C. L., & Rabelo, V. C. (2019). Managing diversity, managing Blackness? An intersectional critique of diversity management practices. In L. M. Roberts, A. J. Mayo, & D. A. Thomas (Eds.), Race, work, and leadership: New perspectives on the Black experience (pp. 373-387). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Review. 5 – Roberts, L. (2019). Centering Black leadership in management. Academy of Management Proceedings. 6 – Herring, C. (2009). Does diversity pay? Race, gender, and the business case for diversity. American Sociological Review, 74(2), 208-224. 7 – Flynn, K. (2020). Refinery29 is reeling from claims of racism and toxic work culture. Employees say it’s even worse behind the scenes. CNN Business. 8 – Thornhill, T. (2015). Racial salience and the consequences of making white people uncomfortable: Intraracial discrimination, racial screening, and the maintenance of white supremacy. Sociology Compass, 9(8), 694-703. 9 – Thomas, K. M., Johnson-Bailey, J., Phelps, R. E., Tran, MN. M., & Johnson, L. N. (2013). Women of color at midcareer: Going from pet to threat. In L. Comas-Diaz & B. Green (Eds.), The psychological health of women of color: Intersections, challenges, and opportunities. Praeger. 10 – DeCourcey, D. (2016). Zara humiliated a Black employee over her hairstyle. attn. 11 – Lee-Shanok, P. (2016). Zara employee accuses store of discrimination over her hairstyle. CBC. 12 – Saifee, Q. (2020). Immigrants should acknowledge their debt to Black people. Crain’s Detroit Business. 13 – Ray, V., & Purifoy, D. (2019). The colorblind organization. In M. E. Wooten (Ed.), Race, organizations, and the organizing process. Emerald. 14 – ross, k. m. (2020). Call it what it is: Anti-Blackness. New York Times. 15 – Liu, H. (2016). Undoing whiteness: The Dao of anti-racist diversity practice. Gender, Work, and Organization, 24(5), 457 - 471. 16 – Liu, J. (2020). Companies are speaking out against racism, but here’s what it really looks like to lead an anti-racist organization. CNBC. 17 – Eberhardt, J. L. (2019). Biased: Uncovering the hidden prejudice that shapes what we see, think, and do. Viking. 18 – Hempel, J. (2017). For Nextdoor, eliminating racism is no quick fix. Wired. 19 – Williams, M. (2017). Numbers only take us so far. Harvard Business Review. 20 – Thomas, E. (2020). Black employees deserve a day. LinkedIn.





Own Your Status as Black American SME to Help Your Company Win With Black Consumers by Cheryl Grace The year 2020 is a challenging time around the globe. But in the United States, Blacks have been hit particularly hard on several fronts. Having to prove that Black Lives Matter succinctly summarizes most of those challenges. CHERYL GRACE is the Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement for Nielsen and drives Nielsen’s multicultural thought leadership strategy. As the lead content executive for all domestic multicultural and diversity initiatives she spearheads important conversations on trending diversity issues of importance to Nielsen, its clients, stakeholders, and U.S. communities.


the threats, assaults and deaths of everyday Black folks doing everyday things, and the ensuing weeks of protests that followed shifted the narrative—for corporations anyway—from “Black Lives Matter” to “We want to convince our customers that we believe Black Lives Matter.” From high-end fashion brands to media conglomerates and Consumer Package Goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers, companies have a growing interest in being a part of the movement of positive, progressive change. Brands want a better connection and engagement with Black consumers and our $1.3 trillion of annual buying power. Blacks in corporate America have always understood the importance of our lives and our economic power. However, it was




not until May 2020 following the unrest after the murder of George Floyd, that we collectively felt empowered to own such messaging with greater confidence in corporate corridors. Heretofore, it was a common practice for non-Black corporate executives to rely heavily on external consultants to contextualize the economic opportunity that Black consumers hold for their companies rather than to accept in-house Black associates as trusted Subject Matter Experts (SME). The systemic acceptance of this business practice as a matter of course cannot be placed solely at the feet of non-Blacks. Blacks who have entered the corridors of corporate America have allowed even the essence of our being— our ethnicity, our cultural nuances, our life-long personalized experiences, and our unique qualitative perspectives—to be doubted and disregarded as expert worthy on the topic of Black culture, consumption, and consumerism. Fear certainly is a weighty factor in such pervasive behavior; fear that we don’t have the right credentials to speak up, fear that speaking up might cause us to be alienated if we present a case too passionately, fear that advocating a shift in a target market strategy toward greater Black inclusion could be a wrong recommendation. But fatigue from having to prove ourselves time and time again cannot be dismissed as a contributing factor for our failure to exert ourselves as Subject Matter Experts. The truth between the fear and the fatigue is this. We have been Black longer than we have been corporate professionals. We owe it to ourselves and our decades of Living-While-Black not to be discounted as experts on what drives our consumption habits and behaviors simply because we do not hold master’s degrees in marketing research. But how did we get here in the first place? Why it’s difficult to speak up when you’re an in-house associate The Civil Rights Act of 1964 dealt a crucial blow to discrimination in the workforce by making it illegal for any business, private or public, to practice discriminatory hiring (and firing) practices.¹ This was followed by Affirmative Action in the 1970s which helped diversify corporate corridors. While it’s a fact that diverse



companies perform at least 35% better than their homogeneous counterparts2, it is not a given that once Blacks are in their roles, they feel welcomed or even comfortable within these corridors. Neither does a more diverse employee base automatically provide an environment where individual employees are encouraged to contribute their full talents toward organizational success3, regardless of seniority. After securing corporate roles, many Blacks realize there is often a lack of access, mobility, and support to advance their careers to senior level positions, and it’s not for lack of want or ambition. Black professionals (65%) are more likely than white professionals (53%) to be ambitious4. Yet only 3.2% of executives and senior manager level employees are Black5. It starts to feel as if companies would rather see Blacks as placeholders than stakeholders, and often miss the opportunity to think of their Black associates as internal experts on matters of branding toward this important consumer segment. This realization could be one of many reasons many Blacks are uncomfortable speaking up. Authenticity Authenticity has become a catchword that no longer means anything. More and more corporations encourage their associates to bring their “authentic selves” to work. But is that acceptable for Blacks? Shenequa Golding recently shared on Medium.com: “I don’t know who decided that being professional was loosely defined as being divorced of total humanity. [B]ut whoever did, they’ve aided, unintentionally maybe, in a unique form of suffocation. If I am to perform my duties for 40 hours a week, [then it is] asinine to assume that the life I live outside of those 40 hours won’t rear its head. Whether I’m a sleep-deprived single mother of two or a struggling college student who really needs this internship to graduate, the belief that only the part of me that fattens your bottom line is allowed in the workplace is stifling. This is magnified for young Black professionals who are recruited for their culture, but told, in so many words, that their blackness and the struggles that come with it are to be left at the door.”




Black employees are being hired for their culture, but everything they basically stand for is being left at the door due to corporate culture. So instead of speaking up—even though we are experts on our consumption habits and behaviors, our culture, our influence—we let outsiders do it for us. It’s just easier that way. A 2018 Harvard Business Review article on diversity and authenticity stated, “decades’ worth of studies have shown that similarity attracts—a phenomenon known as homophily. Our research focuses on a specific aspect of this. That being one’s true self, disclosing elements of one’s personal life, and forming social connections are easier within one’s own group than they are across a demographic boundary such as racial background. This is crucial to keep in mind as companies aspire to become more diverse. Simply hiring members of a minority group won’t ensure that they feel comfortable or equipped to build the relationships necessary for advancement.”7 In yet another study conducted in 2018 by The Center for Talent Innovation, “Vaulting the Color Bar: How Sponsorship Levers Multicultural Professionals into Leadership,” Black professionals describe having to compromise parts of their authentic selves to conform to executive or leadership presence at their company. Thirty-five percent of Black professionals say they deliberately change their personal story to strengthen their executive presence, navigating tensions with stereotypes of their race.8 Imposter Syndrome The uneasiness of being authentic in the workplace isn’t the only reason Blacks are hesitant to speak up in corporate America, even about areas in which they know they have a level of expertise. Imposter Syndrome can also lead to Blacks second-guessing themselves in their work environments. In her 2019 Huffington Post article entitled, “Imposter Syndrome Hits Harder When You’re Black,” writer Jolie A. Doggett shares:



The term imposter syndrome was coined by psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes in 1978 to describe an “internal experience of intellectual phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” To put it simply, imposter syndrome is the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, that you’re a fake on the verge of being found out. Seventy percent of the population is experiencing imposter syndrome. But for people of color, imposter syndrome isn’t just an imaginary voice in our heads. We receive almost daily messages 9 from society that we don’t truly belong.

Is it any wonder that given the lack of authenticity that Blacks feel we can bring to the table, combined with a heavy dose of Imposter Syndrome, that we’d rather allow our companies to bring in external consultants or experts from the outside? Is it a surprise that we find it easier to let said experts handle the discussions rather than trust our own opinions, experience, and expertise relating to the intersectionality of consumerism, culture, and consumption? From “Pet to Threat” Pet to Threat is a phenomenon first launched in the early part of the 2010s by Kecia M. Thomas, an associate dean at the University of Georgia. It describes Black women in the workplace. It’s the notion that at the beginning of a role, a Black woman is embraced and groomed by the organization, but as she starts to develop confidence and skills—thus becoming more vocal about advancement—she is seen as a threat or ungrateful. “I think in every career trajectory, there comes an opportunity for a promotion or leadership where the individual has a level of influence or power to make significant changes and to rethink how business is done. That’s when women are probably most vulnerable to getting recast as threatening,” says Thomas.10 This phenomenon can lead to Black women not reaping the fruits of their labor and having to work harder than their counterparts. Hence, 69% of Black women feel as though they have to work harder to advance.11 As a result of being denied support and not being given the opportunity to advance, some Black employees are hesitant to use their voices. 19


Many quit or begin side businesses as so-called sidepreneurs. In fact, by far the highest rate of growth in the number of sidepreneur ventures is among Black women. It is triple that for all businesses over the past five years: 99% compared to 32%, respectively.12 Women citing reasons for starting their own companies use terms such as “exhausting and inflexible”13 to describe their previous work environment. So it should come as no surprise that 62% of all women entrepreneurs worked at a corporation before starting their own businesses.14 Women are not alone, however, in their desire to leave corporate America in a quest to have a voice. Thirty-eight percent of Black millennials say they are considering quitting their corporate roles to start their own businesses.15 But herein lies the irony. Many of these newly minted entrepreneurs successfully seek out corporate clients. And for good reason. According to Consulting.org, the globe’s largest platform for the consulting industry, a survey from Source Global Research found that 91% of U.S. executives believe their company’s use of analytics had generated substantial value for the firm. The $23 billion that U.S. companies spent on analytics consulting in 2017 was almost evenly split between developing in-house capabilities ($13 billion) and contracting external consultants ($10 billion).16 Suddenly, former corporate executives who felt they were not heard when they were internal staff became highly sought-after external experts. What the Analytical Experts Know (That the Average Black May Not) As a thought leader in the market research industry for the last 16 years, I am often invited to come in and speak to various brands and corporations across disparate industries—radio, television, newspaper, digital platforms, CPG, luxury retailers, transportation, and advertising, just to name a few—about the economic value of multicultural consumers to their respective industries, brands, or businesses. It has never ceased to surprise me how often a Black, at a VP level or higher, has pulled me to the side to share how helpful it was for their executives to hear about the value of Black consumers from me because I “have the analytical 20


data that validates” what they’ve been trying to share with these same executives. But their voices haven’t been heard. Also, it no longer surprises me that most often the invitations to speak to corporations come from Black women. Since 2011, Nielsen annually compiles the consumption habits and behaviors of Black consumers into one comprehensive report. The quantitative insights and trends we share speak to the necessity of Blacks unapologetically using our corporate voices to ensure Black consumers are factored into the business strategies of U.S. companies to help brands grow market share. Here’s what Nielsen reports quantitatively: 17 Increase in buying power outpacing total U.S. 2000-2017 African American buying power in 2017 was $1.3 Trillion and Projected to be $1.5 trillion by 2022.

108% 97% 87%



AFRICAN AMERICAN Source: Selig Center for Economic Growth, 2017

GDP Ranked by Country 2020 (In U.S. Dollars) Country Ranked by GDP

Spain Australia Mexico

13 14 15

GDP (IMF 2020) $1.5 Trillion $1.48 Trillion $1.3 Trillion Source: World Population Review



Blacks have an annual buying power of $1.3 trillion (Greater or equivalent to all but 15 countries’ GDP, falling between Spain and Mexico.) This buying power is expected to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2022. Between 2000 and 2018, Blacks’ spending power grew at a faster rate than NonHispanic Whites (114% compared to 89%). Top ten states for buying power are Texas, New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida. 92% of Blacks can be reached via radio in any given week 91% of Blacks can be reached via television in any given week Blacks spend more time watching television than any other demographic, averaging more than 52 hours per week. Television viewing by Blacks increased by 20% during COVID-19. More than one-third of Black report spending more time listening to the radio because of COVID-19. Black viewers saw the largest increase in internet-connected device usage during COVID-19 than any other demographic. 66% of Blacks use Facebook. 37% use Twitter (11% higher than total market). Blacks over-index on Instagram usage by 20%. Blacks’ annual spending for health and beauty products is $5.9 billion. Blacks spent $830 million on dish detergent, $810 million on bottled water, and $19 million on instant grits in 2019. 73% of whites and 67% of Hispanics believe Blacks drive pop culture.

While this is not, of course, an exhaustive look at the consumption habits and behaviors of Blacks, it points to a demographic segment that provides a powerful impact to the U.S. economy. Although the quantitative data may not be common knowledge to all Blacks, the qualitative narrative—why Blacks buy what they buy—is one that Blacks who have been Black all of their lives (i.e., 100% of this cohort) should be able to share with confidence; that’s if we feel welcomed, and even more importantly, empowered to do so. Yet what I often find is that most, although not all, corporate professionals would rather let the data do the talking for them. The 22


trouble with this as a strategy is that the data can tell marketers the what, but it cannot reveal the why behind the decisions Blacks make to buy what they buy. Understanding how and why customers buy can make a significant difference in how you sell. Is the product a carefully considered purchase like a computer or car, or an impulse buy like a sweater or music download? Is the product purchased frequently like an energy drink, or only once every few years or even once in a lifetime like a house or a college education? For each of these products, the customer goes through a buying process. Understanding the customer and the buying process can make your selling efforts successful.18 New mothers don’t hesitate to share why they buy what they buy for their babies. Women don’t hesitate to disclose why they choose certain feminine products over others. Men won’t hesitate to share which aftershave, watch, or T-shirts they prefer. Yet in many corporate settings, Black professionals feel our experiences aren’t reliable enough to share what we know from deep within our core about our experiences as African-American consumers. This uncertainty needs to stop. How to Build Our Subject Matter Expertise Muscle The year 2020, despite its pain, protests, and pandemic, most assuredly will bring about permanent changes. The social and civic unrest resulted in an unprecedented number of corporations and brands vowing to do better to eradicate bias and discrimination of Blacks. According to a June article by cnet,“Many corporations, big and small, have joined the conversation, issuing statements vowing to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. Some tech behemoths—like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and others— have followed up on their supportive words with major donation pledges, too.”19 But the brands who have pledged billions of dollars to support the Black Lives Matter movement and other organizations cannot impact change in a vacuum. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that Black corporate professionals use this newfound footing to say, “This is why I buy what I buy, and here’s why it’s important for 23


you to respect me as a corporate professional and as a consumer. One does not negate the other. My voice matters.” Your company would be crazy not to listen to you or value your input at this point. But here’s how to ensure you are heard: 1. Leverage your employee resource groups as mini focus-groups. Only a little over 50% of companies utilize their ERGs to help them better market to customers. BUSINESS IMPACT AREAS Recruitment & Retention Community Outreach Professional Development HR Policy Marketing to Employees Marketing to Customers Cultural Assimilation Government Relations Product Development Global Development 0%









90% 100%

Source: CTR Factor Inc.

2. Practice what you have to say in a mirror before your meeting so that the first time you are citing information isn’t in front of a room full of colleagues. 3. Use the quantitative data from your analytical consultants but infuse it with your qualitative narrative. 4. Black consumers are not monolithic so be sure to incorporate others’ experiences who may differ from your own.

Cross generational learning is an important part in understanding the experiences of others. When training your Subject Matter Expert muscle be sure to take time to listen to the perspective of someone from a different generation.



5. Incorporate metrics, KPIs, increased market share, and other supporting numerical information to highlight the benefits of brands focusing on Black consumers. 6. Advocate for the use of diverse consultants as this creates a two-prong effect. It improves the company’s supplier diversity numbers, and it solidifies the importance of diverse voices being included in the conversation.

As you move up the corporate ladder, encourage other Black colleagues to also use their voices. The best way to do this is by example. Advocate for the use of diverse business partners as well as terms and policies that can positively impact their businesses, not impede them. For example, smaller diverse businesses cannot all operate on a 90-day pay cycle like Fortune 500 companies can. Use your voice to advocate smaller businesses or non-profit organizations being placed on a specialized 30-day pay cycle instead. Although seemingly an

insignificant adjustment, it can be the saving grace for those smaller businesses. Routinely speaking up in instances such as this positions your company to be perceived as a forward-thinking business partner with those diverse suppliers. It also demonstrates how your culture, experiences and external relationships afford you a unique perspective your non-Black colleagues may not have. Lastly, it showcases your progressive problem-solving skills which could help cement how valuable you are to the business as a Subject Matter Expert.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” It’s imperative that we leverage our collective voice as Subject Matter Experts on the positive impact Black consumers have on U.S. brands. In so doing, we can help brands develop better strategies to connect with Black consumers. This better ensures that not only is our culture understood and respected, but that our expectations as consumers are exceeded in the evolving American mainstream. 25


Notes 1 – A Brief History of Diversity in the Workplace. Robyn Showers • February 17, 2016 https://www.brazen.com/blog/recruiting-hr/a-brief-history-of-diversity-in-the-workplace-infographic/ 2 – Ibid 3 – https://www.diversitybestpractices.com/sites/diversitybestpractices.com/files/import/embedded/ anchors/files/diversity_primer_chapter_01.pdf 4 – Being Black in Corporate America, An Intersectional Exploration https://www.talentinnovation.org/_ private/assets/BeingBlack-KeyFindings-CTI.pdf 5 – Ibid 6 – Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot https://medium.com/@ shenequagolding/maintaining-professionalism-in-the-age-of-black-death-is-a-lot-5eaec5e17585 7 – Harvard Business Review Diversity and Authenticity. Katherine W. Phillips, Tracy L. Dumas and Nancy P. Rothbard https://hbr.org/2018/03/diversity-and-authenticity 8 – Inc.com by Sylvia Ann Hewlett https://www.inc.com/sylvia-ann-hewlett/why-more-black-voices-need-to-beheard-in-corporate-america.html 9 – Imposter Syndrome Hits Harder When You’re Black https://www.huffpost.com/entry/imposter-syndrome-racism-discrimination_l_5d9f2c00e4b0 6ddfc514ec5c?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_ referrer_sig=AQAAACheSJu9NKsZbn2NI01fckZB9CHoiY2ND_uhrn_yrqW9vMCWTW363ZzMj5bQZw_ mJdHIBGojUoz3xlRnZ7DhH1oHfl_EIqfiwv2VAJw2-qAHCyeyFuVsAFrbLz2oA5FxoBBrI1AUHLQW9pJ6VUQJqrh2m pMXpaw2EejkiRgtqLnR 10 – When Black Women Go From Office Pet to Office Threat Erika Stallings. https://zora.medium.com/whenblack-women-go-from-office-pet-to-office-threat-83bde710332e 11 – Being Black in Corporate America, An Intersectional Exploration. Page 4 https://www.talentinnovation. org/_private/assets/BeingBlack-KeyFindings-CTI.pdf 12 – THE 2019 STATE OF WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES REPORT. Page 8 https://about.americanexpress. com/files/doc_library/file/2019-state-of-women-owned-businesses-report.pdf 13 – Why Minority Women Now Control Nearly Half of All Women-Run Businesses. Michelle Cheng. https:// www.inc.com/magazine/201811/michelle-cheng/minority-women-entrepreneur-founder-womenable.html 14 – Ibid 15 – Being Black in Corporate America, An Intersectional Exploration. Page 6 https://www.talentinnovation. org/_private/assets/BeingBlack-KeyFindings-CTI.pdf 16 – https://www.consulting.us/news/299/analytics-consulting-revenues-soar-to-23-billion-in-us-market 17 – Consolidated insights from Nielsen’s 2019 “It’s In the Bag: Black Consumers Path to Purchase” and other Nielsen sources https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/report/2019/its-in-the-bag-black-consumerpath-to-purchase/ 18 – https://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/powerful-selling/s09-why-and-how-people-buy-the-pow.html 19 – These are the major brands donating to the Black Lives Matter movement. Mercey Livingston. https:// www.cnet.com/how-to/companies-donating-black-lives-matter/; Bank of America Pledges $1 Billion Over 4 Years to Fight Racial Inequality. Lananh Nguyen. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-smallbusiness/bank-of-americapledges-1-billion-over-4-years-to-fight-racial-inequality/2020/06/02/53563e56a526-11ea-898e-b21b9a83f792_story.html; RBC joins Bank of America, U.S. Bank, PayPal, Netflix in pledging millions toward racial equality. Anna Hrushka. https://www.bankingdive.com/news/us-bank-100-millionlending-black-owned-businesses/579385/



Building Leaders: An Equity & Inclusion Lens in Healthcare by Rosa M. Colon-Kolacko, Ph.D., MBA, CDM, SHRM-SCP and Nkanta Nicholas Hines, Sr., MSc., MBA The role of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the transformation of healthcare delivery requires attention and new frameworks of sustainable solutions to drive more culturally competent care models. Equity is defined as the just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Addressing demographic shifts, diversification of talent, and social determinants of health impact have become critical elements in how care is delivered. ROSA M. COLON-KOLACKO – Ph.D., MBA, CDM, SHRM-SCP is the former NYC Health + Hospitals, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals and is the President and Principal Consultant of Global Learning and Diversity Partners, LLC. NKANTA NICHOLAS HINES, SR. – MSc. MBA currently serves as the President/CEO of Capital Strategy Group, LLC and is also the Healthcare Vertical Leader - The Center for Creative Leadership.


FOR THE LAST 25 YEARS achieving diversity in governance bodies and C-suites has been cited in many articles as a healthcare industry imperative, but we have made limited progress. We have not increased the number of diverse clinical providers to catch up with the needs of the growing demographics of patients, due to affordability and access to medical school education. The Institute of Diversity and Health Equity has monitored these statistics observing very minimum progress as part of their biannual Benchmarking Survey. Minority leadership in C-Suites grew from less than 2% in 1992 to 11% in 2015 when patient diversity represents more than 29%.



Empowering leaders with tools and capabilities to navigate the shifts within our society is critical to shaping the current and future models of healthcare service delivery. However, redefining the role of leaders is needed to make equity a priority in organizations and this is something where not many organizations have invested much attention. Providing culturally competent care requires a different mindset and more intense expectations from leaders. In addition, focusing on workforce demands, community needs, and navigating the societal forces of EDI, healthcare organizations are challenged to do all of these well. Additionally, consumers are more active in their own care and provider network organizations seek to adapt and deliver affordable, accessible, and value-added healthcare services. The role of EDI in the transformation of healthcare which demands higher quality, better access and improved reliability, requires new frameworks and sustainable solutions to drive better patient satisfaction through equitable and inclusive care models. Integral to overcoming this industry pressure is the courage, capacity, and ability of leaders making critical decisions amidst this massive landscape transformation. Cultural competency skills are must-haves to provide compassionate care, improve access and outcomes, and achieve equity. Racial, ethnic, linguistic, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and many other differences are increasingly acknowledged. This is activated by engaging with diverse groups in the community to better understand their social determinants of health and building a common agenda so that we are not only delivering high quality services but addressing disparate treatment when healthcare services are provided. Addressing inequities and improving health outcomes of not only affluent individuals – and valued communities, but also communities of color, will drive overall healthier communities. Healthcare quality metrics, community health and healthcare outcomes have not kept up with this increasing awareness of diversity. Patients who identify with minority and historically marginalized communities frequently have worse health outcomes. 1



There is need for a call to action for leaders with a new set of behaviors, values, and attitudes — essentially, new ways of leading. Effective leadership development is critically important in the preparation of key decision makers to embrace, affirm, and act according to the needs of patients and society.2 According to the 2019 Diversity Inc. Book: The Failed Promise of a Billion-Dollar Business, companies were spending $8 billion annually on diversity efforts and majority of this investment is on training.3 There has been limited focus on addressing leaders’ hidden institutional and systemic racism in addition to unconscious bias training. Google, reportedly spent $114 million on diversity programs in 2014 and $150 million in 2015, yet in 2019 Blacks made up only 2 percent of its tech workforce.4 It is clear now, however, that training and good intentions, by themselves, are insufficient. Organizations have long pursued building inclusive workplaces with minimal measurable progress. Leadership development and academic programs also have not adapted their approaches to address the need to build inclusive leaders with an equity lens as the key enabler to make significant and sustainable progress in EDI efforts. Building an equity lens in leaders allows them to implement their own diversity practice to redesign policies and services to reduce systemic barriers and develop more effective processes, deliver more value, and engage more deeply. Their leadership style and presence are evermore enhanced and informed to strategically position their influence and behaviors for the betterment of underserved populations due to their increased focus on these societal forces. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the visibility and consequences of systemic racism and health disparities with the majority of cases and fatalities among Blacks and other minorities. While there is an abundance of research and thought leadership on the problem, there is limited research on how to prepare leaders to do the work of racial equity and belonging to build inclusive workplaces and society.



Courageous leadership is mandatory when integrating EDI as the foundation for population health management and human capital strategies in healthcare delivery. Leaders should be prepared to lead with equity and inclusion for the challenges faced in pursuit of a healthier society. Perspective Most recently, the societal disruptions of demographic shifts that have impacted healthcare and its need to adjust have been highlighted through a global health crisis and racial turmoil across the world. As leadership is required now more than ever, the capacity of individuals to balance social and business pressures depends on their preparation, experience, and resilience. The societal pressures have been elevated to mandate equitable and inclusive practices across all industries. In healthcare, providers and administrators make most wellness decisions for patients. There are multiple biases factored into those decisions, including economic, ethnicity, race, origin, gender, sexual preferences/ orientation, and disabilities. Implicit bias has contributed to the development of care models that compromise the health outcomes of marginalized groups. This force of human discrimination dictates the allocation of resources and treatment options based on those prejudices. Healthcare leaders are demanded to build cultures of appreciation for differences to prevent inequities in care and drive the overall improved health of communities that they serve. Are these leaders equipped with the knowledge, skill, and ability to develop the people, processes, and systems that provide equitable and inclusive services for all? Research shows that many organizations aren’t prepared with systemic policies and procedures to drive fair treatment practices for those patients that need it the most. Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published a report that says the provision of care is unequal and unfairly distributed through the redirection of medical resources away from Black patients, and those same patients were denied treatment options available to white patients.5



Why does this happen? Traditionally, underserved communities, primarily filled with people of color, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) population are predisposed to biases and unfounded perceptions resulting in unconscious deliberations of less than optimal treatment options. Courageous leaders make fair decisions, go against the grain, and stand up for fairness. Without leadership development steeped in emotional and socially conscious principles, our expectation of healthcare leaders to shift and course correct will be met with disappointment. The organizational and institutional racism that exists over generations of oppression creep into the most humanoriented profession of medicine and people-service industry of healthcare at an alarming rate. Even prior to the social and racial injustice demonstrations, the COVID-19 death rate among Blacks stood at 50.3 per 100,000— compared to 20.7 for white people, 22.9 for Latinos, and 22.7 for Asian Americans. Though Black people comprise just 13% of the U.S. population, they account for nearly a quarter of the country’s COVID-19 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.6 As intimidating as it may be, sustainable organizational structures with the culture, policies, mindsets, and behaviors to treat everyone equally is possible with the right focus, accountability and internal training. Healthcare organizations face two critical challenges as they adapt to the new healthcare landscape, deciding how to change and then successfully implementing that change (Hines, et.al). Facing multiple industry disruptions, cultural and digital transformations, regulatory and reimbursement shifts, and talent wars are all layered with the societal awareness of broken systems that are leading to health disparities, increased impact of the social determinants of health, and the undeniable racially motivated behaviors leading to inequitable and restricted care delivered to patients and their families.



Knowing the challenges and the change required is only the beginning. Healthcare leaders must also implement change. System-wide cultural, business, and clinical transformation is one of the most challenging initiatives any healthcare organization can take on. The cultural competence necessary to deliver unbiased care effectively and efficiently to everyone requires a systemic shift in ideology, capacity of leaders, and accountability initiatives. In healthcare, the dismantling of institutional racism, racist-cultures, and implicit bias begins by focusing on the patient. Quality, reliability, and value-oriented care models with metrics that align with known areas of disparity amongst marginalized populations are a start to the transformation. Some observations of our journey implementing diversity and equity strategies will be relevant to share: Key Findings 1. Limited Progress Many organizational initiatives focus on process, structure, and training; yet there is limited evidence of progress across statistically significant data points. Research shows that racial, ethnic, linguistic, origin, gender, sex, and religious differences are increasingly acknowledged, yet not fully appreciated. 2. Strategies alone to achieve Inclusion are not enough Increasingly, companies are acknowledging that diversity and inclusion is not enough to foster a culture of equity; employees seek to feel respected and valued, but also need a sense of belonging. But what is belonging exactly, and how can companies achieve it? According to a CNN 2007 study where they argue that because we are humans we need to belong; to one another, to our friends and families, to our culture and country, to our world. The concept of belonging becomes more complex since individuals have multiple elements of diversity within them and never have we paid attention to all those elements that can enable a sense of belonging. The concept of intersectionality emerged as a key component of this work.



3. Absence of Inclusion and Equity Throughout the research, it was evident that there is a critical lack of initiatives that lead with equity or inclusion. Historical and ineffective practices are based on academic theory, key performance indicators that count people versus the transformation of cultures, and trainings which are not inclusive of measurable and action-oriented strategies. 4. Impact of Equity A large percentage of the financial burden from not addressing inequities in care and the social determinants of health can be reversed through a more inclusive and equitable leadership and work culture in healthcare service delivery. Developing a racial equity culture requires a continuum of leadership development that highlights leaderships’ responsibility and accountability, the cultural shifts required for change, and the challenge of assuring that everyone in the care process are working toward a new normal of awareness within a culture of appreciation. In the last few decades there has been much discussion and many well-intended efforts to boost diversity in leadership and correct inequities. Progress, however, has been slow, the wins fleeting, and the obstacles subtle and entrenched. That data is actively reflecting this lethargic movement, and recognition of the disparities are increasing in presence through the current health crisis. Exacerbating the community health reality is the social upheaval because of racial injustices inflicted upon minority communities. Discriminatory patient care models, inequitable medical practices and restricted resource allocations are contributors to the societal burden we all bear. Overcoming these pressures will require endurance and leadership development shifts to include a more coordinated and intentionally designed ecosystem of health services through an equitable and inclusive lens. Overcoming these challenges will require endurance and leadership development shifts to include a more coordinated and intentionally designed ecosystem of health services through an



equitable and inclusive lens. A healthier society is the result of leaders that are adequately prepared to develop strategies and build integrated Equity and Diversity initiatives that foster racial equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging. Equality & Inclusion Lens Importance of Inclusion Strategies to Integrate Equity Initiatives Despite civil rights laws and other improvements, current disparities are as bad as, and sometimes worse, than they were before civil rights legislation was passed. We need to examine the systems and processes in which we all live today and go beyond a discussion at a higher level about discrimination. To normalize dialogue, we must build a shared understanding and definitions of racial equity and institutional and systemic racism, have the courage to have the conversation and systemically evaluate the situation, paying closer attention to the role of leadership.7 Leaders with an equity lens agree that society, at large, stands to benefit from systemically advancing economic, political and social well-being for everyone, not just those who have historically benefited. When leaders don’t have an equity lens, systemic issues that exists in work and HR practices; for example talent sourcing, recruitment, identification of talent, and participation in leadership development that sidelines underrepresented talent from rising to the top of echelon of leadership in organizations become invisible. This includes gender differences. From the education and leadership development point of view there are new competencies being introduced to help individuals and organizations set behavioral expectations to help build a culture of inclusion and deliver culturally competent healthcare. Equity, diversity and inclusion research recently has focused on definitions, practices, awards and workplaces, linguistic services connected with disparities, culture of health, inclusive leadership, neuroscience of inclusion, racial equity and evolution of culture of humility among other things. We can say that the role of leadership in equity may be a gap that has not been fully addressed. According to 2018 Deloitte review, the inclusion



revolution “workplace leaders around the world tell us that they are ill-equipped to navigate these swirling waters.”8 Organizational approaches to address equity and diversity challenges has been process focused with the introduction of new roles and structures. One example of that in healthcare is the Government Office of Minority Health including the implementation of Cultural and Linguistic Standards (CLAS) to provide clear expectations for health systems to improve diversity in governance and ensure adequately the provision of linguistic services to ensure the provision of culturally competent care. The concept of inverse care suggests that the availability of solid clinical care tends to vary inversely with the actual need for it by the patient population receiving the care. The populations who need good medical care the most are often the least likely to receive it. Demographic and socioeconomic differences in populations require that aspects of care be addressed to achieve equity, and they can be improved by these actions: ■ Acknowledge that there is a lack of a common practical leadership development programs, a curriculum and framework to prepare leaders for leading with equity in their daily work. ■ Define a common Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) body of knowledge and competencies as the foundation to build a diversity practice with an equity lens. ■ Research and document best practices and design a leadership equity-driven playbook to guide leaders to embed equity in strategy and execution while measuring the financial burden of inequitable resource allotment. The drivers of change in healthcare are those leaders that are closest to patients, the providers. Research proves that through training and experiential occurrences, many providers still reserve an unconscious and organizational bias when making legitimate decisions around care for non-white patients. This is influenced by the organization in which they serve, the guiding principles and



values of that entity, along with their understanding of societal differences amongst the community they serve. In one revealing study called the Implicit Association Test, participants are asked to look at a combination of facial expressions and words on a computer screen, rating each as either good or bad with the touch of a key. The self-administered test is capable of identifying even a millisecond’s delay when assigning positive or negative attributes to people of different races. Consistently, white test takers associate white faces with “good” attributes and Black faces with “bad” ones. Although doctors are certain they treat all patients the same, regardless of race, the numbers don’t lie. Two out of three clinicians were found to have an implicit bias against African Americans, despite the majority having denied any racial prejudices during the self-evaluation phase of the test9 (Pearl MD). Dr. Darrell Gray, a gastroenterologist at Ohio State and the medical director for the National African American Male Wellness Initiative, believes doctors need to come to grips with prejudices they may not even know they have. (Pearl MD) It is inevitable that healthcare delivery systems will fall short of engaging, recruiting, and retaining high caliber minority talent. A recent McKinsey report noted that Black employees are underrepresented in seven of the eight highest paying industries and five of the eight fastest growing industries.10 Healthcare is one of the world’s fastest growing industries due to technological and medical advancements, a growing and aging population, and accessibility to healthcare financing. Therefore, the need for exceptional talent is growing. Additionally, as reimbursement and quality measures include more population health metrics, understanding the racial, ethnic, economic, and linguistic differences amongst the community is raised in visibility and value, healthcare organizations are challenged to have adequate minority representation in leadership to drive decisions that benefit the full spectrum of demographics served. McKinsey reports that because they are likely to be excluded from information networks about high-potential professions, fields, and opportunities, Black professionals tend to take supportive roles in



established industries instead of roles in high-growth industries. The industry of health and healthcare has a visual shortage of minorities in leadership with profit and loss responsibilities and people leadership roles. They face discrimination at a remarkable level. A 2015 study found that Black workers are “subject to more scrutiny” or held to a “higher standard” than white workers. Black workers make up 13 percent of the U.S. workforce, but racial discrimination against this group accounts for 26 percent of all claims filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and its partner agencies.11 This is reflective systems, policies, bias and institutional perceptions that block the most relevant leaders from attaining leadership roles. To address the social pressures and disparities in care, a more equitable allocation of resources and availability of programmatic solutions that will shift the inequities in care provision, requiring minority leaders that can relate to community and patient needs is needed more than ever. More equitable outcomes begin with more inclusive practices, diverse leadership teams, and community connections that activate solutions to healthcare disparities through an equity lens. Leaders need to be equipped with the knowledge, skill, ability, and behaviors to institute this change and adequate leadership development, based in EDI, is one of the keys to success. Leadership Development Gaps As the industry of healthcare requires more from its leaders and providers, regulator influence and expectations of high quality and reliable services are an additional pressure on the performance of key decision makers. Understanding the differences amongst the people they serve and developing structures that deliver equitable and inclusive care to everyone are the beginning of the cultural transformation organizations are experiencing within the healthcare landscape. Patient satisfaction scores, digital transformations, reimbursement model shifts, and payer relationships are critical areas of focus within the operations of health delivery networks. These operational demands are paired



with the social movements toward reducing healthcare disparities, dismantling of institutional racism within patient care models, and the increased cost of healthcare due to the lack of strategy to reduce disparities in underserved communities. In a recent 2020 study at Harvard, “The Key to Inclusive Leadership,” the importance of visible commitment was highlighted. As leaders seek to deliver on their oath to care for everyone, there are critical leadership gaps that must be addressed. Whether a clinical provider or administrator, there is evidence that an authentic commitment to diversity, willingness to challenge the status quo, or a desire to hold everyone accountable to make diversity and inclusion a personal and organizational priority is lacking. Harvard Business Review states that “while conventional diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives focus on employee engagement and belonging, today’s challenges reach far beyond marginalization in the workplace.” The sidelining of core root cause issues is not tolerated any longer, structural systems, bias and societal discrimination practices must be overhauled to better serve patients and their families. This begins with appropriate leadership development, programmatic investment in people and their capabilities to build the capacity to lead social transformation and appreciate differences within our society. Opportunities: ■ Develop learning pathways for true EDI efforts not only for diversity practitioners, but for leaders. This is fundamental to the cultural transformation required in many organizations, especially considering lack of a common body of knowledge and consensus on (EDI) skills and competencies. ■ Integrate Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategies as the foundation for population health management, human capital, and healthcare delivery strategies within the leader’s role. ■ Provide accountability within new and emerging roles like that of the Chief Diversity and Equity officers to own the strategy and include senior leaders in the responsibility of delivering change.



■ Be a sponsor and champion for EDI. Leaders also must unlearn old approaches and learn new skills as part of their jobs to advocate for racial equity. ■ Integrate diversity and inclusion programs with corporate strategy, not just being a peripheral initiative. Often, EDI is not integrated with equity initiatives, limiting the ability to address racial equity and healthcare disparities; including those programs with funding will accelerate progress at a meaningful rate, population health management emergence to increase access to care and address disparities should be connected to or in collaboration with diversity offices. Call to Action Reimagine the role of leaders through an equity lens The Academy of Management states that how organizations respond to large-scale, diversity-related events that receive significant media attention can either help employees feel psychologically safe or contribute to racial identity threat and mistrust of institutions of authority.12 Recently, many leaders have dug deep into their social and emotional wells of experience and thoughts to respond accordingly with the forces impacting the world from a health and social injustice perspective. Too many times, leaders’ experiences are not enough to address systemic inequities. This has been highlighted in the healthcare industry where minority groups are impacted at an exponentially higher rate than other races by COVID-19, racial justice issues, and institutional racism at the structural and policy level. For leaders to reverse the data trends of costly healthcare inequities within underserved communities and amongst minority populations, the role of leaders needs a fundamental and monumental shift. A transformation to lead through a lens of equity and inclusion while driving the development of cultures of appreciation for all human differences.



Proposed Steps: ■ Redefine the role of leadership to address systemic inequities, with expectations of transforming culture and addressing systemic racism with clear and frequently measured accountability metrics. ■ Understand that leadership development is not an isolated HR process. It must be a strategic imperative for organizations to reeducate and recalibrate what leaders do in organizations from understanding their own unconscious bias and taking action to address their biases, to assess their function’s policies and practices to identify system racism and create new equitable models of care. ■ Embrace diversity, inclusions, and equity; not to only apply it in specific circumstances, but as a leadership practice to utilize it as a critical component of day-to-day work. ■ Make EDI a priority for healthcare organizations and partner with academia, medical schools and American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) to agree on that the new body of knowledge required to provide services to address disparities and include disparate treatment is not limited to the clinical experience but to include the EDI leadership skills required to build an equity environment. For example, focusing on emerging competencies such as cultural competence, culturally competent care, and culture of humility is essential. ■ Partner internally with learning and development functions and externally with leadership advisors to redesign how training is created and delivered and focus on diversity and inclusion demographics and workplace cultures. Leadership education, from onboarding should include the connection between equity, institutionalized racism, and inclusion best practices to set the foundation and address community health disparities. Reflections History teaches us that courageous leadership is only one component to drive systemic change. In the healthcare industry,



policy, laws, structure, and social awareness are also factors that contribute to the societal mindset that shift behaviors leading to institutional transformation. Patient safety, reliability of care and quality of delivery are the hallmarks of health and healthcare service provision. Yet, there are known disparities in care distribution. This is primarily due to conscious and unconscious biases toward marginalized groups within our population. Correcting this historical human discrimination, as with most revolutions, begins with leadership. The capabilities of healthcare leaders span across the traditional boundaries of transactional – fee for service care, and extends into the community with concern and metrics around the value of care supplied to everyone, regardless of any other identifiers that historically have altered care delivery in a discriminatory fashion. Harvard Business Review recently released a segment that called for “Acknowledgement,” “Affirmation,” and “Action.” Recognition of the disparities, the root causes, operationally, systemically, and human oriented drivers that have denied adequate and fair treatment for all community members. Identify with the oppressed groups as their plight has been heavy and generational, affirming through empathy and intelligence will provide a foundation for leading the change required. Executing strategies that include leadership development with an EDI lens and approach will deliver the focus healthcare leaders require to embrace the societal realities and own the organizational cultural transformation. Without addressing the vital, interrelated aspects of equity and inclusion, healthcare organizations will be challenged to deliver high quality treatment and outcomes. Millions of healthcare workers have risked their lives to save the lives of patients, those that look like them and those that traditionally don’t receive equal treatment; pandemics like COVID-19 bring out the best in people as we all are suffering in some meaningful way. Coming together without prejudice is a silver lining to such an impactful global health crisis. Those same workers should be empowered with the development to make racial equity a reality, inclusive behaviors the norm, and strategies



that put people first without any level of systemic oppression that results in disparities within those same communities. Our society is multi-racial, with a large spectrum of differences from generational, to sexual orientation and preferences, so our local communities are microcosms of the world. Research shows that because cultural differences aren’t fully appreciated, it leads to disproportionate health outcomes within underserved groups. This paradigm must shift, and it is our individual and collective responsibility to drive platforms of respect and equity for a healthier society. It starts with leaders, their capacity to institute change, appreciate and celebrate differences, and build cultures of equity and inclusion through diverse talent to represent the interests of their patients and produce high quality outcomes for every patient, every time. A healthier society awaits. Notes 1 – Colon-Kolacko, R., Hines, N. and Martinez, A. “3 Keys to Health System Success in the 2020’s”. Retrieved May 15, 2020 from https://www.ccl.org/articles/white-papers/us-health-system-success/ 2 – Ibid 3 – Pamela Newkirk’s “Diversity, Inc.: The Failed Promise of a Billion-Dollar Business 4 – 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/despite-spending-billions-companies-cant-buydiversity/2019/11/21/d8907b92-fb1a-11e9-ac8c-8eced29ca6ef_story.html 5 – Vyas, D., Eisenstein, L., Jones, D. “Hidden in Plain Sight – Reconsidering the Use of Race Correction in Clinical Algorithms”. Retrieved June 17, 2020 from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMms2004740 6 – Pearl, Robert MD. “Coronavirus Deaths Show How Little Black Lives Matter In American Healthcare”. Retrieved June 15, 2020 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertpearl/2020/06/15/coronavirus-blacklives-matter-healthcare/#5407809a6257 7 – Colon-Kolacko, R., Hines, N. and Martinez, A. “3 Keys to Health System Success in the 2020’s”. Retrieved May 15, 2020 from https://www.ccl.org/articles/white-papers/us-health-system-success/ 8 – The Diversity and Inclusion Revolution – Eight Poweful Truths, https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/ insights/us/articles/4209_Diversity-and-inclusion-revolution/DI_Diversity-and-inclusion-revolution.pdf 9 – State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/wp-content/ uploads/2014/03/2014-implicit-bias.pdf 10 – Noel, N., Wright, J. “Black Workers Face Higher Levels of Workplace Attrition at Every Level. Retrieved Jun 19, 2020 from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/coronavirus-leading-through-the-crisis/chartingthe-path-to-the-next-normal/black-workers-face-higher-levels-of-workplace-attrition-at-every-level?cid=othereml-alt-mip-mck&hlkid=3ea0f412df9d403ab66f240d92d0d4e6&hctky=11880728&hdpid=0093721c-499344bb-babb-8306e78589a6 11 – The Economic Impact of Closing The Racial Wealth Gap https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/publicsector/our-insights/the-economic-impact-of-closing-the-racial-wealth-gap# 12 – Leigh, A., Melwani, S. “#BlackEmployeesMatter: Mega-Threats, Identity Fusion, and Enacting Positive Deviance in Organizations”. Retrieved June 1, 2020 from Academy of Management publication. https:// journals.aom.org/doi/full/10.5465/amr.2017.0127



Global Mindset, Experience and Competency for Black Executives by India Martin There have only ever been eight Black CEO’s of the Fortune 500 at any one point in time, and now in 2020, that number has fallen to four. The numbers of Black people on corporate boards are even more abysmal despite there being a dearth of under recognized Black talent. The pathways to both CEO and the board are often relationship based and are also not always linear. The Ivy league, business school, high profile assignments and the ability to manage a P&L (not exclusively) certainly count but those criteria in some ways pale in comparison to network, profile, and the ability to wield the sword of bicultural competency with the fluency of a white American. That is not to say that one must lose themselves to ascend but ultimately navigation requires an ability to talk the talk and to walk the walk that is aligned to white patriarchal corporate America in a way that transcends the barriers that often affect the trajectory of Black leaders. That is no small feat. INDIA MARTIN is a 25-year veteran of financial services and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. She has held several global C-Suite roles including expatriate assignments in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.


THERE IS NO DISPUTE that the road to both CEO and board tables includes active sponsorship and strategic positioning over time. While sponsorships and the relationships that are required to sustain its momentum are critically important, this article focuses on a positioning trump card that has been leveraged by a number Black senior leaders who have attained seats at the decision making tables of multinational corporations. That is, the ability to leverage global networks and access local clients and leaders (outside of one’s own country). While having global experience in a meaningful way is certainly a part of the formula for any multinational



leader, for Black leaders, in particular, this experience is a leveler of sorts. Bringing global business relationships to the table and being able to leverage contacts in a way that others cannot is not only valuable but can also aid in charting a trajectory that is often reserved for but a few. Having macro global competency and micro cultural competency in specific geographies is a part of a formulaic approach to determining readiness for leaders who are expected to successfully manage global teams with a level of understanding that helps them to make decisions that considers local operating practices when determining the most appropriate mechanisms for delivery. There are a number of ways to get this experience and while not having global profile and experience doesn’t necessarily derail those with CEO and board aspirations, it is certainly a potential barrier to reaching those roles in companies that value global experience and even global client relationships. The network that is required for CEO’s and board roles to be successful is exponential when companies operate in multiple countries. There is an expectation that you will be able to navigate those spaces and perhaps even bring business to the table which is very difficult to do if you haven’t had an immersion experience in a culture other than your own or the relationships to boot. Expatriate Assignments Expatriate assignments often serve two purposes; they fill a need for an organization with an experienced person from another geography or they are purposefully constructed to be leadership development opportunities – sometimes, they are both. It isn’t unusual for leaders to return to much bigger and higher profile roles when they repatriate. Whether as a result of not having a robust pipeline of eligible candidates given the numbers or that the opportunities haven’t been as visibly plentiful to Black leaders, the numbers of Black expats pale in comparison to leaders of other ethnic groups. One Black leader who is now a divisional CEO of a Fortune 100 company said that his two-year assignment in London was a pivotal moment in shaping his world view, shrinking the globe, expanding his network of colleagues and friends, and ultimately led his senior leadership to perceive



greater possibilities of his potential contributions. While these experiences may seem obvious and straightforward enough, the nuance is in how others perceived him after his assignment. While he certainly added some level of technical experience to his toolkit while on assignment, his ability to navigate the complexities of working in another culture was something that would inevitably add value to his firm. The evolution of his world view made him seem more aligned to the experiences of the leaders at the top of the corporate ladder many of whom had significant international experience and exposure. Having been an expat in four countries over 20 years has given me unique perspective on the opportunity for Black leaders on other shores. While racism certainly exists in many of the countries that I lived and worked in, it played much less of a role in my ability to move through organizations than it did when I was living and working in the U.S. For example, when I was living in Japan, I was seen as a foreigner. My blackness was absolutely secondary which presented a unique challenge as I had been accustomed to navigating through that lens. As a foreigner (or gaijin), I was lumped into a group that included all non-Japanese people. However, much to my surprise, even that could be managed depending upon one’s grasp of language and culture. This toolset was counterintuitive to my experiences in the U.S. and it took me being there for an extended period to get it. I had similar learnings during my time in Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and London. Expatriate engagements, for those who opt for immersion, provides you with unparalleled insight into the culture of a place and how business operates in practice. Understanding the business culture and having relationships internationally is extremely valuable particularly as navigating those nuances can prove crucial when doing business deals in other geographies. These skills at the executive level are highly sought after when considering the diverse business needs of multinational boards and even CEO seats. In the current climate, expat assignments are likely to slow. Additionally, for senior executives, the ship has often sailed on



the opportunity to take on an expat role as a means of positioning for CEO roles, though they may still prove useful for board seats. According to the Stanford Corporate Governance Research Initiative,1 Black professionals account for just 3% of CEO’s and 1% of CFO’s though that number is much higher in support functions like CAO’s where the numbers of Black executives are as high as 43% but with no direct path to CEO.2 Global Profile There are other strategies to increase global profile and the experience to address the gap in competency that is faced by executives whose primary experience is confined to domestic/ national roles. Successful executives must manage across cultures which isn’t always easy to do when that hasn’t been the experience or lens under which they may be accustomed to operating. It is a natural assumption to make that the overarching culture of an organization supersedes the country culture but that couldn’t be further from the truth and making the shift to having a global mindset is a much more intentional action. In their book, “Managing Across Cultures: The 7 Keys to Doing Business with a Global Mindset,” Charlene Solomon and Michael Shell define global mindset as “The ability to recognize and adapt to cultural signals so that you intuitively see global opportunities and are effective in dealing with people from different backgrounds around the world.”3 Prior to the pandemic and reduction in non-essential air travel – spending time in other places would have been high on the list. Speaking at global conferences, building relationships with work colleagues in other locations and even connecting with other members of global professional organizations are ways of increasing your global profile and relationships. The silver lining in the current environment is that technology and the need for people to connect has made the world much smaller. If you want to understand outsourcing in India, it is much easier to reach out to an outsourcer in India than before we were as tech enabled. If you want to speak to a manufacturing plant in Argentina, it is much easier to identify and contact leaders who are more likely 46


to respond as you are in a leadership role yourself. Seek the opportunities to build global connectivity that may not be obvious but that could be useful to your existing business but that may also be useful to you as you position for your next big thing. In an article for Forbes magazine I wrote, “Second to experience and skill, network is one of the most important characteristics of burgeoning board members. The pool of executives with global networks isn’t as big as the pool of candidates with national networks. If you are a part of the former group, it’s a good thing. Global connectivity is a huge differentiator. It is easier to be someone with a global worldview applying for a local/regional or even national seat than it is to be someone with a local/regional or national view applying for a global seat.”4 While I wrote this about board seats, the same is true of executive roles that have a preference for international experience. Developing a global lens, global profile and deepening global experience allows us to operate outside of the traditional barriers to succession. More than a positioning tool, global competency is becoming the norm for leadership roles in both domestic and multinational businesses. Notes: 1 – Larcker, David F., and Brian Tayan. Fortune 100 C-Suite Organizational Charts. Stanford Corporate Governance Research Initiative, Feb. 2020, https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/sites/gsb/files/fortune-100-csuite-organizational-charts-feb-2020.pdf. 2 – Business, Jeanne Sahadi, CNN. “After Years of Talking about Diversity, the Number of Black Leaders at US Companies Is Still Dismal - CNN.” CNN, CNN, 2 June 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/02/success/ diversity-and-black-leadership-in-corporate-america/index.html. 3 – Solomon, Charlene, and Michael S. Schell. Managing Across Cultures: The 7 Keys to Doing Business with a Global Mindset. McGraw Hill Professional, 2009, p. 53. 4 – Gary-Martin, India. “Five Reasons Why An International Profile Is Essential For Today’s Leaders.” Forbes, 19 Dec. 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/12/19/five-reasons-why-aninternational-profile-is-essential-for-todays-leaders/#583b90263a85.





Leveraging the Power of Emotional Intelligence in Professional Contexts A key driver of leadership success for Black professionals ascending the corporate ladder by Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. and Kathey Porter, MBA, CPSD Cognitive intelligence and technical expertise account for a mere fraction of what leaders need to attain professional success. This is particularly true where high potential leaders are concerned, those climbing the corporate ranks and hoping to make their way into the coveted C-suite. The mastery of soft skills—specifically the ability to perceive and influence our own emotions and those of others—is critical to negotiating day-today interactions and leading others. KARIMA MARIAMA-ARTHUR is founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, a boutique consulting firm with exclusive expertise in professional development and advisory services worldwide. KATHEY PORTER is founder and CEO of Porter Brown Associates, a veteran-and, woman-owned management and professional services consultancy specializing in business strategy, performance management and long-term sustainability.


BECAUSE EMOTIONAL ACUITY is often subordinated to intellect and technical mastery, it comes as no surprise that a lack of EQ (emotional quotient) is the primary cause of executive derailment.1 The inability to effectively communicate, negotiate, and lead diminishes the perceived value and contributions of those expected to manage human relationships, leverage influence, and cultivate thriving cultures that support organizational success. Bridging the gap between the perfect trifecta of cognitive intelligence, technical expertise, and emotional intelligence proves exceedingly relevant in today’s complex global business



environment. For Black executives, the stakes are even higher. Since now more than ever there is an unambiguous expectation of interdisciplinary competence in the workplace, Black executives operate at a clear disadvantage by failing to explore, master, and leverage the immense power of emotional intelligence. Empowering Black executives to capitalize on lifelong learning, especially in this context, should be a non-negotiable leadership imperative. The ability to exercise emotional acumen to maximize workplace contributions creates novel opportunities to lead more effectively.2 There is an interesting connection between race, emotions, and socialization in that there are social, cultural, and psychological dynamics that impact how emotions and behavior are both understood and expressed, as well as the freedom to express them.3 There is no credible evidence indicating that Blacks are any less capable of identifying, understanding and expressing their own emotions, as well as those of others. What is clear, however, is the unfortunate lack of focus, education and advocacy promoting the importance of emotional intelligence as a skillset incident to personal and professional success. Equally egregious is the fact that Black executives are often groomed to focus more narrowly on hard skills mastery, rather than building capacity across the panoply of leadership competencies. As such, even the most practical of skillsets needed to accomplish integrative success seldom make it on their radar. Regrettably, this insights gap also impacts communication, execution and achievement. As numerous case studies make clear, the absence of emotional intelligence manifests as acute performance challenges in the workplace and beyond it.4 Dr. James C. Wadley describes such performance challenges for Black executives this way: “[B]lack executives struggle to make sound business decisions because they are unable to disentangle the fusion of their cognitive, affective, and behavioral experiences at their jobs. [They] experience debilitative thoughts, negative feelings about [themselves] or [their] position, and poor time management, which are just a few examples of how [Black



executives] fail to thrive when unable to effectively navigate their authentic selves.” 5 He further notes that, “[t]hrough the lens of our individual conception of racial and ethnic identities, emotional intelligence [necessarily includes] our ability to be sensitive and vigilant about our own sense of self (e.g., affective, cognitive, behavioral, spiritual) in the spaces that we occupy and the experiential narrative that we reveal to those around us.”6 He maintains that, “while business should never be personal, business is inherently personal because any negotiation or transaction is a product of our race, age, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, ability [and the like.].” 7 Wadley reminds us that even when Black professionals have sound business knowledge and related skillsets, these attributes do not necessarily equal the ability to negotiate or navigate relationally complex issues.8 For example, if a Black Wharton graduate is unable to recognize that his feelings of loneliness impact his willingness to engage others on a team project, then such emotive withdrawal could affect future collaborations or even the security of his position altogether.9 Likewise, if an up and coming Black businesswoman is asked to present her work in an impromptu setting and she is unable to sufficiently manage her anxiety before giving the presentation, then she may be perceived as less intelligent, less capable or simply unable to make the kind of high-level contributions necessary to move the company forward.10 These examples provide an important segue for the next level of analysis – identifying exactly what emotional intelligence is and understanding how to employ competent strategies for developing it. The problem is that the term has been oversimplified and grossly misunderstood. Without a clear understanding of what emotional intelligence really is, it can be extremely difficult to identify blind spots and develop your own skills. Moreover, when those in charge of professional development programming tout clichés and lack the scope and depth of knowledge needed to help others learn and improve—to become more effective leaders— there is an instant loss of credibility and a neutralizing effect on the team.



Drs. Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis explain why domain knowledge of EQ is so critical to leadership development in their Harvard Business Review article entitled, Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On?11 They acknowledge that EQ is a complex concept and that hanging your hat on superficial knowledge and ‘cherry picking’ elements to improve on can be counterproductive. To effectively cultivate emotional intelligence requires a substantial commitment to self and substantive mastery. Understanding the unique domains of EQ and their facets can help Black executives to skillfully navigate the nuances of leadership development and identify performance challenges that undermine effectiveness.

Here’s what the four dimensions entail.


1. Self-Awareness Self-awareness is your ability to identify and comprehend your own thoughts, emotions and behavior. It involves being keenly sensitive to your intrapersonal experiences and the willingness to be vulnerable and honest with yourself. This dimension is all about self-investigation and confronting the ‘soul’ of who you are and how you show up in the world. Emotional self-awareness Self-awareness has one element: Emotional self-awareness. It requires both introspection and observation, to see the self as an object of itself.13 To develop greater emotional self-awareness, sit still with your emotions and develop resonance with them. Do you see a pattern that links to events, activities or an internal dialogue? Ask yourself whether you have explored the universe of emotions that exist outside of those you experience most regularly. Work to cultivate a greater wheelhouse of emotions and become attuned to how each emotion can serve you, as well as how some may not. Being emotionally self-aware can help you to understand your



emotional triggers and be sensitive to the people, situations and circumstances that provoke varied emotional responses within you. It will also help you to make better decisions based on those triggers. Pro Tip: Take an EQ quiz to discover how emotionally self-aware you are currently and where you might need to improve.14

2. Self-Management Self-management is your ability to extract the data gleaned from the self-awareness dimension and use it to engineer your thoughts, feelings and behavior as you interact with the world around you. This is intentional, self-directed work and requires acknowledging areas where you need to improve, exercise restraint and step up to the plate. Self-management is a skillset that helps even the most capable of leaders ascend to the ranks of the world-class. It has four elements. Emotional self-control We are human and prone to the occasional emotional outburst. To avoid the consequences associated with impulsiveness, we must learn to self-regulate. We must not allow our emotions to dictate to us, causing reactions rather than responding to emotional stimuli.15 This is especially significant in situations than can have unwelcome fall-out, such as getting into a nasty verbal confrontation with your boss. By setting standards of behavior, developing a set of prescriptive strategies and tactics to help us overcome compromising situations and scrupulously monitoring our emotions, we can avoid the worst result. Pro Tip: When provoked to an emotionally-charged exchange, instead of reacting to the situational stimuli, determine how you can facilitate the best outcome before verbalizing any thoughts.



Adaptability To be adaptable requires embracing patience and flexibility. Things don’t always work out as planned and we have to allow for that, otherwise we’d probably lose it on a daily basis. In honoring that premise, we must be open to making necessary adjustments that serve the greater good. Such pivots might include changing the time, length, or scope of a meeting, managing the new stress associated with an escalated deadline or stopping everything to respond to a dire emergency. Adaptability helps us to ‘go with the flow’ and change our approach, rather than self-destruct when circumstances shift. Pro Tip: When the unexpected occurs, take a deep breath, then challenge yourself to identify three new benefits that come with the territory.

Achievement orientation No matter how committed you are to accomplishing a goal, there will be times when your motivation will wax and wane. To remain oriented toward achieving it, reach for what psychologist Dr. Angela Duckworth refers to as grit.16 Grit is a hearty combination of passion and the perseverance needed to push past the ‘plateau of arrested development.’ The latter is the proverbial wall that appears when the dream-seeker is too weary to persist, has lost all hope or succumbs to the negative influence of critics. Understanding the multi-faceted aspect of this element is critical; it involves more than merely having the disposition to achieve. You must also dig deep and confront challenges to achievement as you work to bring your success into fruition. Pro Tip: When the going gets tough, take out your journal to remind yourself why what you are working towards matters and why giving up is not an option.



Positive outlook We’ve all heard that perception is reality. In many cases, it can be. However, if we leave our perceptions unchecked, we often end up processing inaccurate information as we strive to make good decisions. This is particularly true of cognitive biases.17 Think first impressions. After all, perception is the unfiltered lens through which we experience the world around us. We should doublecheck our perceptions. But not only that. We should also consider whether a change in perspective might influence the context of what we perceive. Are your current circumstances truly adverse to your well-being? Or could a variation in outlook alter the way you feel about them? Because outlooks can be positive or negative, remember that whatever vantage point we choose to adopt will determine how well we manage our circumstances. Pro Tip: Make a conscientious decision to check your first impressions from now on, with an eye toward recognizing (and potentially impeaching) superficial data and cognitive biases.

3. Social Awareness Social awareness is your ability to identify and comprehend the thoughts, emotions and behavior of others, as well as appropriately respond to social cues, norms and everyday situations based on their context. This dimension urges the leader to shift the focus away from themselves and consider the well-being and worldview of others. By thoughtfully examining the perspectives, values and experiences of individuals and communities at-large, you are encouraged to expand your social reach and confront cognitive biases. This is especially true when those vantage points differ wildly from your own. It has two elements. Empathy Empathy is your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Exercising empathy provides you with a more accurate assessment



of what someone may be feeling and why, which in turn helps you to respond more appropriately and usually with greater compassion. Pro Tip: The next time someone confides in you about a problem, be careful to practice active and reflective listening.18

Organizational awareness To understand what’s happening at the organizational level in any environment means looking beyond the surface to develop a solid understanding of the complex dynamics at play. Cultural norms and the emotional climate can impact employee engagement, interpersonal relationships and performance. Identifying root causes and confronting hard truths are inevitable aspects of this process. The latter also help you avoid what neuroscientists commonly refer to as the Ostrich Effect—the attempt to avoid negative information by simply ignoring it.19 From a strategic perspective, organizational awareness also supports your ability to influence change. By leveraging the insights gained through ground-truthing, you are in the best position to advocate for next practices. Pro Tip: As you strive to contribute to the overall success of your organization, take a moment to identify some of its cultural norms and ask yourself whether they serve its greater good.

4. Relationship Management “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” When the poet John Donne wrote these words, it was clear that he understood the social imperative of human interaction and the inherent connectedness of the human spirit. We are naturally social beings, rarely in a position to completely avoid all human contact. Relationship management then is a critical aspect of our existence. When you manage your relationships well, you are equipped to skillfully navigate your



social environment and purposefully interact with the individuals you encounter along the way. It has five elements. Influence Do you set examples that impact others in a positive way and inspire them to learn, grow and aspire to higher heights? If you show up in excellence in all that you do, then the answer is probably yes. Influence is a force multiplier that enhances every relationship. It boosts trust, promotes rapport and increases the desire for others to self-police and support your leadership vision. Pro Tip: Decide to be a good example of what you ‘represent’ – which means to lead with excellence in practice, not merely in theory.

Coaching and mentoring The desire to help others grow to improve their knowledge, skills and performance is an integral part of relationship management, especially in a leadership development context. Whether formal (coaching) or informal (mentoring), fostering long-term learning and development in others through honest feedback and support maximizes their overall success, which is exactly the point. Pro Tip: Identify someone within or outside of your organization who could benefit from your coaching, mentoring or sponsorship. Then, take the extraordinary step of inviting them to the table to discuss the possibilities and next steps.

Conflict management Do you know how to identify and manage conflict when it occurs? You should. Conflict management is an opportunity to improve problem-solving skills, increase productivity, strengthen relationships and boost goal achievement. Rather than attempting to avoid this common friction, work to effectively navigate it. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI®) identifies five modes for handling conflict. They include: competing, collaborating,



compromising, accommodating and avoiding. Effective conflict management also translates in other areas, lending the skill for providing unpleasant feedback. This skill is particularly useful in helping others to avoid the Dunning-Kruger Effect.20 Teamwork Pro Tip: Embrace conflict management as an important opportunity to listen, learn and leverage collaboration to problem-solve.

Although working independently may have its advantages, working in teams does as well. Teams represent an opportunity to leverage collective intelligence and brawn to get more accomplished faster. Sounds like a no-brainer, but working well in teams can be challenging. If you fail to establish norms and cohesiveness, working in a team can be disastrous. But, when you develop a team that is high-performing and emotionally astute, success is the inevitable outgrowth of an otherwise risky collaboration.

Pro Tip: When orchestrating your next team project, be careful to establish group norms and expectations (i.e. ground rules) from the outset. Also remember that the former becomes an exercise in futility if future violations are not addressed.

Inspirational leadership Think how you lead doesn’t matter? Think again. Inspirational leaders distinguish themselves by the desire to provide direction and create common purpose at the cultural level. They deploy IQ and EQ to their advantage, enhancing their ability to drive change and increase engagement. In an environment where people feel valued and energized to get things done, you can expect esprit de corps to rule the day and build the kind of momentum that fuels self-sustaining, high-performing ecosystems.



Pro Tip: Make sure that employees have intimate knowledge of the company mission and have a tangible connection to its achievement through their work.

The decision to cultivate and improve emotional intelligence is an important one. For Black executives, even more so. By prioritizing EQ as a core component of their overall leadership development strategy, they position themselves for uncommon exploits and competitive advantage. To be sure, the comprehensive study and application of self-awareness, self- management, social awareness, and relationship management will, without question, enhance the ability of Black executives to successfully ascend the corporate ladder. Notes: 1 – Harvey Deutschendorf. “Why Emotionally Intelligent People Are More Successful.” Fast Company, June 22, 2015, https://www.fastcompany.com/3047455/why-emotionally-intelligent-people-are-more-successful. 2 – Kathey Porter and Andrea Hoffman. 50 Billion Dollar Boss: African American Women Sharing Stories of Success In Entrepreneurship and Leadership (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). 3 – James E. Smith. “Race, Emotions and Socialization.” Race, Gender & Class, Volume 9, Number 4, 2002 (94-110). 4 – Porter and Hoffman, 50 Billion Dollar Boss. 5 – James C. Wadley. “Black Emotional Intelligence for Executives.” Black Enterprise Magazine, 2016, https:// www.google.com/amp/s/www.blackenterprise.com/black-emotional-intelligence-bei-for-executives/amp/. 6 – Ibid. 7 – Ibid. 8 – Ibid. 9 – Ibid. 10 – Ibid. 11 – Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis. “Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Components: Which Do You Need to Work On?” Harvard Business Review (2017), https://hbr.org/2017/02/emotional-intelligence-has-12-elements-which-do-you-need-to-work-on. 12 – Karima Mariama-Arthur, “Master Domain Knowledge, Not Platitudes to Cultivate Emotional Intelligence.” Entrepreneur Magazine, April 10, 2020, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/347080. 13 – Karima Mariama-Arthur. Poised for Excellence: Fundamental Principles of Effective Leadership in the Boardroom and Beyond ( New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) 10. 14 – Annie McKee. “Quiz Yourself: Do You Lead With Emotional Intelligence?” Harvard Business Review, June 5, 2015, https://hbr.org/2015/06/quiz-yourself-do-you-lead-with-emotional-intelligence. 15 – Mariama-Arthur, Poised for Excellence,11. 16 – Angela Duckworth. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance ( New York: Scribner, 2016). 17 – Ben Yagoda. “The Cognitive Biases Tricking Your Brain.” The Atlantic, September 2018, https://www. google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/565775/. 18 – JoAnn Yates. “MIT Sloan Communication Program Teaching Note.” MIT Sloan, Fall 2010. 19 – Bill Kahn, Ph.D. “Introducing the Ostrich Effect.” Psychology Today, February 26, 2012, https://www. google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-ostrich-effect/201202/introducing-the-ostricheffect%3famp. 20 – Mariama-Arthur, Poised for Excellence, 11.





Preliminary Global Diversity and Inclusion Observations for Black Executives by Dr. Akosua Barthwell Evans Globalization has been a key factor in the growth of United States corporations. Despite recent challenges to globalization, including trade tensions between the U.S. and China, an increased focus on domestic production, and COVID-19, overseas operations remain a strong source of revenue. The global nature of U.S. corporations is reflected in the S&P 500; in 2018, 42.9% of revenue among all S&P 500 companies came from international sales.1 Moreover, between 2004 and 2014, 47 corporations relocated their headquarters overseas.2 McKinsey and Co. projected in a 2019 report that emerging markets will consume almost two-thirds of the world’s manufactured goods by 2025 and will account for more than half of all global consumption by 2030.3 To succeed in global markets, corporations must understand how to develop and lead multicultural, diverse overseas workforces. These factors make it imperative for Black executives to be able to understand strategic global diversity and inclusion. DR. AKOSUA BARTHWELL EVANS – was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission for Educational Excellence for African Americans and was Co-Marshal of the Yale Law School Class of 1990 where she won the Edward D. Robbins Award. She is the CEO of The Barthwell Group


ARTICLE PROVIDES Black executives with pragmatic observations based on strategies used by two leading Fortune Global 100 corporations, BP and AT&T, to implement diversity and inclusion (D&I) in China, South Africa, Brazil, and India. In addition, it provides tangible best practices which Black executives may consider in their corporations’ strategic discussions. It describes some of the key factors in BP’s and AT&T’s success in




implementing global diversity and inclusion strategies. Some of these include engaging local executives in strategy development, adapting existing global infrastructure such as Business Resource Groups to the specific requirements of overseas countries, and ensuring that adequate support and resources are provided. It also outlines the importance of completing thorough data analysis before developing diversity and inclusion strategies in overseas markets. Finally, this article illustrates the lack of homogeneity in various countries, even in the same geographic region, which makes it imprudent to adopt “one size fits all� regional D&I strategies. Our article is an excerpt from a lengthier white paper which The Barthwell Group prepared in two phases. During Phase I we collaborated with four graduate students studying Cultural Competency: Impacts on Innovation and Model Development under Dr. Sindiso Mnisi Weeks, Assistant Professor, Public Policy of Excluded Populations in the School of Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston.4 We leveraged the research which the students conducted under the guidance of Dr. Akosua Barthwell Evans, CEO, and Karen Delk, Associate, The Barthwell Group to understand how cultural competency factors impact diversity and inclusion solutions. During Phase II, in collaboration with Corey Anthony, Senior Vice President- Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer at AT&T and Ray Dempsey, Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, and President of the BP Foundation and their colleagues, we used these initial insights to determine the key factors impacting diversity and inclusion in Brazil, India, China, South Africa. In addition to conducting research we also conducted interviews with senior AT&T and BP executives in the targeted countries. Diversity and inclusion are not global concepts. They require local participation to develop successful strategies to optimize workforce engagement and inclusionary environments. Although marginalized groups are generally near the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, the demographic factors impacting marginalization (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, geographic origin, or



sexual orientation) are not consistent. Therefore, a one-size fits all regional global diversity strategy is not productive. Overview Although globalization leads to growth, it also presents challenges. As organizations expand their operations abroad, they must manage increasingly complex workforces comprising people of multiple cultures and ethnicities with demographic tensions that may vary greatly from those found in the U.S. As recent events have highlighted, U.S. corporations must especially engage Black populations as employees, executives, and consumers in these efforts, both for political and economic reasons.5 In the U.S. the buying power of Black Americans, Asian-Americans, and Hispanics was over $1 trillion per each demographic group in 2018 and is expected to continue to grow.6 Research has shown that having diverse workforces, management, and leadership and an inclusive environment are critical in appealing to multicultural markets and ensuring greater innovation.7 Moreover, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the consequent increased attention to the presence and inclusion of Black populations in all levels of corporate management, indicates the urgency and necessity of this work. Black professionals remain especially underrepresented in leadership positions in U.S. corporations, bringing this challenge to the forefront for many companies.8 Given the growing buying power of minority populations, especially Black consumers, this research yields a key question: how can organizations develop successful strategies to ensure global diversity and inclusion? During Phase I, The Barthwell Group9 and the School of Global Inclusion and Social Development10 collaborated in order to develop preliminary observations about the following: (i) how diversity and inclusion are defined globally, (ii) what are the strategies and tools used to effectively build inclusive environments, and (iii) identify the methodologies used to align diversity and inclusion strategies domestically and globally. In Phase II, following this collaboration, Walter K. Evans, Chief



Operating Officer at The Barthwell Group, Neha Shah, Managing Consultant at The Barthwell Group, Ben Palmer and Leslie Hicks, former Analysts at The Barthwell Group, and students from Yale University who worked with The Barthwell Group as research analysts, Kiran Damodaran and James Dunn, continued to independently collect data and refine the analysis under the leadership of Dr. Akosua Barthwell Evans and Karen Delk. Focus Diversity was defined as representation of members of groups (e.g., ethnic, racial, gender, etc.) who have experienced marginalization or discriminatory treatment within the broader society as a result of physical characteristics, personal identity attributes, or socioeconomic status. Inclusion was defined as an environment in which all individuals have an equitable opportunity to be valued and respected, and to realize their potential (regardless of differences). Marginalization was defined as systemic discrimination that frequently results in certain demographic groups being likely to occupy the lowest socio-economic strata (often based on personal attributes). Research during Phase I focused on answering the five questions in Figure 1 below. Figure 1. Principal Research Questions: Phase I 1




What are the common and differing attributes of diversity and inclusion among organizations in the designated countries in the region? What are the strategies used to address cultural tensions overseas, particularly as they relate to women?

What are the strategies, programs, and tools used to create inclusive environments where a broad array of people from different cultural origins work and collaborate together?



How do organizations align global and domestic diversity and inclusion strategies?

What are the strategies, programs, and tools used to ensure representation of different marginalized groups, particularly women, in the workforce and within senior management?


We also sought to discover the key marginalized demographic groups which, because of their roles in the larger society, should be represented in the workforce. We analyzed the key factors contributing to the marginalization of certain demographic groups in the broader society. Our initial analysis focused on multiple corporations and countries. (See Figure 2). We selected eight countries: Canada, the United States, Brazil, Chile, Nigeria, South Africa, China, and India and conducted in-depth research based on publicly available data to determine the key factors impacting D&I in these areas. During Phase II, we analyzed the strategies and tools BP and AT&T use to encourage the cultural competency necessary to ensure equitable professional development and integration of these groups in four countries, Brazil, India, China, and South Africa (the Target Areas). We also analyzed their alignment of global diversity and inclusion with their corporate headquarters. Through their colleagues in the Target Areas we were able to obtain pragmatic insights regarding how global diversity and inclusion are implemented. These collaborations were invaluable; using them we could develop practical observations on how to implement diversity and inclusion successfully in various geographic regions in the world. 11 Figure 2. Map of Initial Countries and Organizations Selected for Global D&I Research

Countries and Organizations Selected for Global Diversity and Inclusion Research United States

China India Nigeria Brazil


Africa Royal Dutch Shell Oil

South Africa

Asia AT&T, MasterCard, Pepsi, Gates Foundation, Oxfam,World Wildlife

Latin America Kimberly Clark, Google, Habitat for Humanity, International Federation of the Red Cross

North America 3M, Boeing, Chevron, CitiGroup, EY, Shell Oil, Sierra Club, YMCA, World Vision, Red Cross



Methodology and Analytical Framework Phase I During Phase I, students applied a cultural competency lens as they conducted their research. They defined cultural competency as “a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that join together in a systemic ethos that professionals adopt to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.� When applied in the workplace, cultural competency is the ability to understand, appreciate, and interact with persons from cultures and/or belief systems other than one’s own. It often results when managers have the tools and skillsets to analyze the impact of factors (Cultural Competency Factors) described in Figure 3. Figure 3. Cultural Competency Factors

Discrimination and Fairness

Access and Legitimacy

Learning and Effectiveness

Students assessed cultural competency in global diversity and inclusion, by answering the questions in Figure 4 and implementing the steps listed in Figure 5. Figure 4. Phase I Research Questions Aligned by Cultural Competency Factor Discrimination and Fairness What are the organizational mechanisms (policies, programs, and activities) that address forms of discrimination in the global workplace that are similar or different to those used in the workplace in the United States?


Access and Legitimacy What are the strategies, programs, and tools used to ensure that different demographic groups, particularly women, have access to senior management opportunities in the workforce? What are the organizational pillars that support equal access for populations who are underrepresented in the global workplace?

Learning and Effectiveness How do organizations align and support individuals to increase their skills and knowledge in cultural competence in the global workplace? How can we determine if strategies, policies, and programs are aligned with the global organizational message?


Figure 5. Cultural Competency Assessment Methodology Geographic Demographic Profiles

Organizational Cultural Competency

The students first prepared profiles in order to understand the key demographic groups, cross-cultural stratification, and tensions within the countries where they were analyzing D&I strategies.

Next students analyzed the organizations they were studying to understand their general attributes, their global D&I mission, strategy, and infrastructure, and to assess the impact of the D&I on the Cultural Competency Factors in Figure 3.

Cultural Competency Commonalities

Cultural Competency Challenges

Observation Development

Students identified key strategies, tools, and infrastructures which were used to ensure greater inclusion in multicultural workplaces.

Students identified challenges faced by specific marginalized groups which were particular to certain geographic areas.

Students identified key lessons learned that could influence the development of global D&I strategies relevant to their specific analytical focuses.

To determine how global D&I is implemented in different regions, we conducted a comparative analysis to determine the specific tools and strategies used to address the Cultural Competency Factors using the guidelines listed in Figure 6. Figure 6. Cultural Competency Factor Guidelines Discrimination and Fairness Involves organizational tools and strategies that demonstrate an understanding of, and respect for, the importance of culture in practice, policy, research, and work. These tools and strategies enable more effective appeal and recruitment of the society’s underrepresented groups.

Access and Legitimacy Involves the development of tools and strategies that enable team members recruited from marginalized populations to have access and exposure to professional development, growth opportunities, mentorship, and sponsorship. It also involves developing the tools and strategies which create accountability for the full integration of members of underrepresented populations into the organization.

Learning and Effectiveness Involves the development of training programs and leadership guidelines to improve the cultural competence for employees, including top management, middle management, immediate supervisors, and direct and administrative staff.



Phase II Leveraging the insights of Phase I, The Barthwell Group engaged additional team members to conduct more in-depth research (which included summer research analysts from Yale University) under the leadership of Dr. Akosua Barthwell Evans and Karen Delk.12 We formed collaborative partnerships with AT&T and BP, working primarily with Executive Leadership Council Members Corey Anthony and Ray Dempsey to learn more about the two companies’ global and regional D&I policies. Through these collaborations we developed customized assessment instruments and conducted interviews not only with Anthony and Dempsey, but also with senior AT&T D&I executives in Brazil and India and with BP executives in China and South Africa.13 Interviews focused on the questions shown in Figure 7. Through these interviews, The Barthwell Group learned about the two companies’ global D&I policies and used that information to compare global and local D&I policies. All interview questions were qualitative, and they primarily focused on the specific challenges to D&I in each country and how regional offices have strategized to address these challenges. Observations from both Phases of research immediately follow this section.



Figure 7. Interview Questions Country Specific Questions Describe the company’s presence in the specified country (types of operations, number of employees, recent trends and growth, etc.) What is the company’s approach to D&I in the specified country? Describe the company’s D&I infrastructure in the specified country What specific strategies / initiatives has the company successfully used to promote D&I in the specified country? What are some of the country-specific challenges related to promoting D&I in the specified country? Are there specific marginalized groups which are focal points?

Common Questions Do the company’s D&I approach in the specified countries differ from the company’s global D&I approach? Generally, how are D&I policies developed in each country? How does the company integrate D&I initiatives into business initiatives? How does the company pursue its core value of ‘One Team’ while allowing room for individual diversity? Describe what demonstrating commitment to D&I looks like for the company’s senior-level leadership? What is the structure and makeup of the BRGs in the specified countries (types of employees, management sponsorship / participation, etc.)?

Of the BRGs for women, LGBT individuals, racial groups, ethnic groups, and those with disabilities, and parents at work, what is the relative size of each group? What types of activities do the BRGs participate in? What are the reporting relationships of D&I staff in both countries? How has the company’s D&I index as measured through the People Assurance Survey changed since the company began with this survey in 2002? Are other indicators, such as the Progress and Assessment Framework, demonstrating that the company’s D&I policies in both countries are resulting in greater inclusion and/or representation of diverse groups?

Key Observations Diversity is not a global concept.

In some parts of the world, there is no concept of diversity. Within the U.S., diversity is becoming a more clearly defined concept, with the core value of increasing representation of persons who, because of their membership in a specific demographic group (or an attribute of their identity), are marginalized in the greater society. In the U.S., diversity applies often, though not always, to issues of race and ethnicity; immigration and refugee status; tribal groups; religion and spirituality; sexual orientation; gender 69


identity or expression; socio-economic class; age; geographic origin; veteran status; and mental or physical abilities. Recently, there has especially been an emphasis on diversity and inclusion with regards to Black populations in the U.S. However, internationally, populations may consider different demographic factors when defining marginalized groups and may place different priorities on achieving diversity across different groups. In China, for example, where over 90% of the population is ethnically Han Chinese, ethnicity is often conflated with nationality, and minority ethnic groups such as the Mongols and the Uighurs face extreme persecution by both the government and private organizations.14 Since the majority ethnic identity is so intertwined with national identity, Chinese businesses may be less likely to see ethnic representation as a core part of diversity in the same way it is seen in, for example, the U.S. As a result, companies and other organizations which seek to expand their reach internationally must develop, understand, and adapt to more localized conceptions of diversity. This understanding can help to inform inclusive policies and attempt to provide equal opportunities for gainful employment for marginalized individuals in each region. Diversity demands local definitions.

Although marginalized groups are generally near the bottom of the socio-economic ladder in all the countries researched, the demographic factors impacting marginalization (typically related to race, ethnicity, gender, geographic origin, or sexual orientation) are not consistent. Therefore, a one-size fits all regional diversity strategy is not productive. In both China and India, there is a correlation between societal marginalization and socio-economic status, with the most marginalized groups also being on average the least wealthy in both nations. However, the demographic groups that are marginalized and occupy the lowest socioeconomic position in China and India are not uniform (e.g., in China the most marginalized groups are certain ethnic group such as the Mongols, Tibetans, and Uighurs, while in India the marginalized groups are those of a lower class such as the Dalits



who are considered untouchable). As a result of these cultural differences, people in different regions use different identities as their primary identity. For example, people in India may be more likely to primarily identify as a certain class, while people in China may be more likely to identify primarily with a national or ethnic identity. Even within a given country, the factors impacting marginalization can vary greatly. For instance, in Nigeria, since individual religious and ethnic groups are highly concentrated in different geographic regions, individuals from a certain ethnic, religious, or other background may face discrimination in one part of the country, but be a member of the majority in a different region. Organizations must seek to understand these cultural complexities as they attempt to develop the cultural competencies and the ensuing tools and strategies which might result in greater diversity and inclusion. Furthermore, although individual perceptions regarding which marginalized groups should be prioritized to enhance overall organizational effectiveness will vary, regional and national laws may also factor into D&I policy decisions. Consider Brazil, which mandates that all employers dedicate 5% of their payrolls to handicapped individuals, because they participate in the workforce at a lower rate than the population as a whole. To adapt to these standards, AT&T in Brazil has developed partnerships with multiple schools where AT&T employees teach basic technological skills to disabled students, regardless of whether those students later decide to work at AT&T. Since disabled individuals in Brazil have significantly worse education on average than the general population, this policy has helped AT&T meet national requirements, attract well-trained employees, and ensure a more diverse workspace which benefits all employees. Generally, regardless of region, women are marginalized in society and the work force, particularly in leadership and management positions. Although most organizations recognize the importance of striving to achieve greater equity for women, equitable inclusion of women varies greatly both between regions and within the regions themselves.



Inequality between men and women in almost every country in the world has been well-documented. The United Nations Human Development Report published in 2018 the Gender Inequality Index (GII), which measures barriers to gender equity along three axes: reproductive health, empowerment (measured by positions in office and education levels), and socioeconomic equality. Among the countries researched for this report, China had the lowest GII (meaning the least amount of inequity) and India the highest.15 Reasons for gender marginalization vary greatly, although in many cases they are rationalized on the grounds of tradition. In China, gender disparities are tied to the influence of Confucian philosophy. While pay disparities exist between genders in China (women earn approximately 36% less than men for completing similar work),16 workforce participation is only slightly lower for women than men, 64% compared to 75% respectively.17 This contrasts with India and Brazil, where labor force participation is drastically lower for women than men, and women typically work in unskilled, semi-skilled, or informal settings. Consequently, they earn less, receive less education, and are often doing more menial or agricultural work.18 Even where women are well-represented in the workforce, they may still face poor representation in senior management positions. In 2018, only 9.4% of board directors from publicly traded companies in China were women, compared with 18% of board seats among the 3,000 largest companies in the U.S.19,20 This is true even as more women are educated and gain experience, evidenced by the rapid decrease in China’s GII score since 1996.21 Similar to China, in the U.S., women comprise 46.9% of the workforce, and women receive more than half of all bachelor’s degrees (57.3%), master’s degrees (59.4%), and doctoral degrees (53.3%).22 While women have progressed in the western countries, there is not a critical mass in management and senior management roles.23 Organizations have excelled by ensuring access to promotion opportunities for women and by creating networking and informative events targeted toward female employees and prospective employees. For instance, AT&T in India participates



in an annual conference attended by women technologists and experts from around the country to discuss technology, network, and identify strategies to overcome challenges faced by women working in India.24 Events such as these ensure that women meet leaders in their fields, and create opportunities for independent growth that will positively impact careers for women working in India. Often, the harshest marginalization is directed towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, and this marginalization is systematically upheld through both legal discrimination and social marginalization.

South Africa has developed vastly improved legislative support for LGBT individuals following the end of apartheid. In 1996, South Africa’s new constitution outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation, making it the first in the world to do so.25 Additionally, South Africa has passed legislation barring workplace and educational discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.26 It legalized same-sex marriage with the Civil Union Bill of 2006, making it the first country in Africa to do so.27 This law gives married homosexual couples the right to receive alimony, adopt children, and make decisions on each other’s behalf, granting them legal parity with heterosexual couples.28 In terms of legal provisions, South Africa has been a regional leader on LGBT treatment and support. However, the LGBT community still faces a great deal of discrimination, as the country’s culture lags governmental action. A 2016 social attitudes survey found that 72% of respondents felt that same-sex sexual activity is morally wrong, and only half of South Africans believed that gay people should have the same human rights as other citizens.29 LGBT individuals – particularly lesbians and transgender men – often face prejudice and abuse from law enforcement, employers, educational institutions, and private citizens.30 Violence against LGBT individuals is a key problem. In Cape Town the Human Rights Council of South Africa reports that every week there are up to ten cases of corrective rape, a phenomenon where men rape lesbian



women with the belief that it will somehow correct their sexuality.31 The disparity between legal victories and social progress indicate that organizations wishing to support LGBT rights must do more than operate within legal boundaries regarding discrimination in a given region. Rather, companies must create an accepting and open-minded internal culture which allows for individual expression and discourages passing judgement on others. Race is often a factor in marginalization, but not uniformly. It is most likely to be a factor where slavery or legalized racial discrimination has existed.

Brazil continues to grapple with its history as a large importer of slaves from Africa during the slave trade and as the last nation in the Americas to abolish slavery in 1888.32 Empirically, white Brazilians tend to be much better off than other groups. In 2010, white Brazilians earned roughly twice as much income as Black and mixed-race Brazilians, and more than three times as much income as indigenous peoples.33 White Brazilians also lived 6.1 years longer than non-white Brazilians, on average, in 2008.34 Despite having the largest Black population (counting mixed race individuals) outside of Africa, Brazil had only white men in its 2015 presidential cabinet under President Dilma Rousseff, with the exception of the head of the Special Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality.35 Furthermore, indigenous groups, located primarily in the Amazon, face some of the harshest discriminatory treatment in Brazil; their lands are subject to encroachment by land grabbers, loggers, and miners. (The rate of Amazon deforestation increased by 29% between 2015 and 2016.36) Although the Brazilian constitution guarantees indigenous populations permanent rights to their traditional lands, it also requires that these lands be recognized and delimited by the state before full legal protection is granted.37 The government recognizes roughly 690 territories, covering about 13% of the country’s land mass, with 98.5% of the territories located in the rainforest regions along the Amazon.38 Despite legal protections for these spaces, there are still frequent disputes over land, which often turn violent,39



and there were 138 documented murders of indigenous peoples in 2014.40 Racial discrimination depends heavily upon historical context in a given region. For instance, the historical legacy of the slave trade creates different challenges to racial inclusion than the historic repression and marginalization of indigenous peoples. Since Black populations have predominantly been the ones subject to slavery in these countries, the complexity of the marginalization of Black populations requires significant attention. Ethnicity may cause some groups to be marginalized. This is particularly true when laws or cultural traditions restrict rights based on ethnicity.

For example, Nigeria, which has more than 250 ethnic groups and no single majority ethnic group, has experienced considerable tension on the basis of ethnicity, and some ethnic groups have been marginalized both by law and by social policy.41 In a country where, according to a 2005 study, 48.2% of individuals labelled themselves primarily with an ethnic identity compared with only 28.4% who used a class identity, issues of ethnicity feature prominently in state affairs.42 In particular, northern Nigeria is home to a high concentration of the largely Muslim Hausa-Fulani ethnic group, while southern Nigeria has a higher concentration of Igbo peoples, who are primarily Christian. As a result, increasing migrations of Muslims to the South or Christians to the North, connected with ethnic and tribal identities, have resulted in several state governments advocating for programs to control the population of external ethnic groups.43 In contrast to Nigeria, where marginalization is highly localized even within the country due to the absence of one majority group, minority ethnic groups in other countries might face persecution by one majority group. In Chile, for instance, where 88.9% of the nation’s population is white and non-indigenous,44 the indigenous Mapuche people, who comprise approximately 9% of the nation’s population, often face physical violence, including a highly publicized murder in 2008,45 as well as discrimination in terms of employment and education



opportunity. The World Bank found that, in 2002, the average adult worker in the indigenous population had completed 7.3 years of education, compared to 9.5 years for all non-indigenous working adults.46 The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization found that less than 3% of the entire Mapuche population receives an education past high school.47 Similarly, indigenous primary school children score 0.3 – 0.5 standard deviations below their non-indigenous counterparts on standardized Spanish and mathematics tests.48 Many organizations and corporations profess valuing an inclusive environment where all individuals are valued and can optimize their talent. However, effective implementation policies require a thorough understanding of the local legal and cultural infrastructure which may impact the ability to implement successful diversity recruitment strategies.

Regional and local input is critical to creating relevant diversity and inclusion global strategies. Even in regions with strong legal protections, societal forces enacting discrimination often continue to persist. In Brazil, gay marriage is legal, and the rights of partners are enshrined in law, but LGBT individuals still face both individual and systemic discrimination. In 2019, the Brazilian Supreme Court banned acts of hate against gay or transgender individuals, but in the same year, one of Brazil’s only openly gay Congressmen fled the country due to death threats and homophobic attacks.49,50 Similarly, South Africa became the first country in the world to legally eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation with its new constitution in 1996, as previously discussed.51 In 1998, laws preventing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation became codified, and laws permitting same sex marriage were passed in 2006. Despite these laws, South Africa remains a socially conservative country, and despite the progressive legislation, social norms and attitudes are not always accepting of LGBT individuals.52 In light of the discrepancies between legal action and genuine social progress organizations must take on the burden of 76


understanding complex socio-cultural relationships in each region in which they operate, developing unique policies to uplift employees and create work environments reflective of local demographics. Although all companies and representatives interviewed for this paper espoused beliefs in the importance of diversity and the necessity of a representative work environment, not all organizations have taken the steps to customize their approach to D&I, and that is apparent in the diversity in these offices. In its Chinese operations, BP representatives noted that they utilize the company’s general D&I framework and highlight the value of D&I through events and organizations such as Business Resource Groups (BRGs), which provide support networks and mentorship opportunities for employees belonging to specific demographic groups.53 BP China has achieved progress in gender representation throughout the hierarchy of the company, with more than 30% of senior roles occupied by women. However, they also reported that they do not have specific D&I policies for the region, and that almost all BRG participation is through women’s BRGs exclusively. Many of its reported diversity statistics among senior employees focus on gender. Conclusions In this environment where globalization is increasingly important for the growth of corporate America, it behooves Black executives to be aware of the key observations impacting the management of multicultural workforces. The most important lesson learned, is the necessity to engage members of the local workforce in developing global diversity and inclusion strategies. Because of the great variety in the meaning of underrepresented groups, even within the same region, one size fits all global diversity and inclusion goals are not likely to be successful. How diversity and inclusion are defined varies widely across organizations, as do the infrastructure and accountability measures for ensuring that diversity and inclusion are achieved. Some companies have very general definitions of diversity, while others identify specific areas on which to focus. Furthermore, 77


some international companies maintain strong centralized D&I definitions and strategies, whereas others keep a looser central framework which is adapted based on the needs of specific regions. Although similar attributes of marginalization may be present in different regions, their impact may still differ. The role of women in China’s workforce varies greatly from the role of women in India’s workforce even though both are in Asia. In terms of race, this point especially applies to Black populations; while Black populations are marginalized in many countries, the historical legacy of their marginalization and the types of discrimination they face may differ in each region. Understanding these differences and the complexity of the marginalization Black populations face in individual countries is key to improving organizational diversity and inclusion strategies. While our observations are preliminary, they point to the importance of including local representation in developing global D&I strategies and of ensuring that regional organizations have adequate infrastructure and resources to develop effective cultural competencies. They also reinforce the importance of greater transparency and effective communications regarding D&I policies, particularly between the different regional branches of a company. Today, diversity and inclusion are recognized as important goals for many major organizations and corporations. The global headquarters of many organizations have infrastructure, defined policies and supportive resources that create diverse and inclusive work environments. The challenge is to find the resources and infrastructure to consistently create this type of environment in the regional operations. Not all regional offices of international firms have utilized diversity and inclusion statements, diversity training, or employee resource groups. Organizations can enhance their message of diversity and inclusion globally by making more specific efforts to understand diversity in a regional context and to attract and retain diverse local talent.



Notes: 1 – https://us.spindices.com/indexology/djia-and-sp-500/sp-500-global-sales 2 – https://waysandmeans.house.gov/sites/democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/files/A_Spike_in_Corporate_Inversions.pdf 3 – https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/innovation-and-growth/globalization-in-transition-the-futureof-trade-and-value-chains#part3 4 – This was Dr. Weeks’ position in 2016. The four graduate students were: Jessica Allen, Elena Korepanova, Kevin McCormack, and Michele Tolson. 5 – Several large U.S. companies have donated substantial amounts to support the Black Lives Matter movement. For example, Google has committed $12 million to various groups that fight against racial injustice, Walmart will contribute $100 million over five years to create a new center for racial equity, and Home Depot announced a $1 million donation to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. https://www.cnet. com/how-to/companies-donating-black-lives-matter/ 6 – In the U.S, the buying power of Black Americans exceeded $1.3 trillion in 2018 and is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2021. Additionally, Asian-American buying power topped $1 trillion in 2018 and is projected to surpass $1.3 trillion by 2023, and Hispanic Americans commanded approximately $1.5 trillion in buying power as of 2019, while their buying power as a consumer group is projected to continue to increase. https://www.blackenterprise.com/the-road-to-1-5-trillion-in-black-buying-power/, https://www.nbcnews.com/ news/asian-america/asian-american-buying-power-topped-1-trillion-2018-nielsen-report-n1003061, https:// www.newswise.com/articles/minority-markets-have-3-9-trillion-buying-power 7 – Chip maker Intel’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Director, Rosalind Hudnell explains innovation comes from having a diverse workforce: “We have a vast amount of diversity [within the company] that comes into work every day to build technology that plays out around the world. You can’t be successful on a global stage without it.” http://images.forbes.com/forbesinsights/StudyPDFs/Innovation_Through_Diversity.pdf 8 – https://www.talentinnovation.org/_private/assets/BeingBlack-KeyFindings-CTI.pdf 9 – Founded in 2005, The Barthwell Group has advised several Fortune 500 corporations, not-for-profit institutions, and the military on complex diversity and inclusion challenges. Consult The Barthwell Group’s website www.barthwellgroup.com for specific highlighted clients such as: Lockheed Martin, 3M, Booz Allen, Indiana University, Iowa State University, and the U.S. Marine Corps. 10 – Founded in 2013, the School of Global Inclusion and Social Development focuses on social justice and economic development from an international perspective, with an emphasis on groups of people who are excluded from communities in the U.S. and abroad, due to gender, ethnicity, age, economic status, and other conditions. 11 – We collaborated primarily with Corey Anthony, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer at AT&T, and with Ray Dempsey, Chief Diversity Officer at BP. Both arranged for us to interview their colleagues in the Target Areas. 12 – Additional team members from The Barthwell Group included: Walter K. Evans, COO, Neha Shah, Managing Consultant, Ben Palmer, Parichay Swarup, and Leslie Hicks, former Analysts, and students from Yale University who worked with The Barthwell Group as summer interns and research analysts, Kiran Damodaran, James Dunn, and Frank Boudon. 13 – We interviewed Hui Vandy Ji, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, BP China; Kelebogile Tseladimitlwa, HR Director, BP Southern Africa; Ana Rita Leivas, Director of Human Resources, AT&T Brazil; Achanta Pragathi Kumar, Director of Human Resources, AT&T India; Tammy Walls, Associate Director Diversity & Inclusion, AT&T; and Eric Mitchell, Assistant Vice President-Workforce Diversity & Inclusion, AT&T. Additional colleagues sometimes joined these conversations. 14 – https://www.economist.com/news/china/21639555-uighurs-and-tibetans-feel-left-out-chinas-economicboom-ethnic-discrimination-not 15 – http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/gender-inequality-index-gii 16 – http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-workforce-china 17 – Ibid. 18 – http://minorityrights.org/minorities/afro-brazilians/ 19 – https://www.catalyst.org/research/women-in-the-workforce-china/ 20 – https://fortune.com/2018/06/21/women-board-members-leadership-positions/ 21 – http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/gender-inequality-index-gii 22 – https://www.catalyst.org/research/women-in-the-workforce-united-states/ 23 – http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/statistical-overview-women-workforce 24 – Interview with AT&T India, 2018 25 – https://outrightinternational.org/content/south-africa-new-constitution-protects-gays-and-lesbians 26 – http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/history-lgbt-legislation 27 – https://www.brandsouthafrica.com/governance/services/rights/same-sex-marriage 28 – http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/history-lgbt-legislation 29 – http://theotherfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/ProgPrudes_Report_d5.pdf



30 – https://www.hrw.org/news/2011/12/05/south-africa-lgbt-rights-name-only 31 – https://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/south-africas-brave-struggle-against-lesbian-hate-crimes/ 32 – http://www.slaverysite.com/Body/facts%20and%20figures.html 33 – http://sites.middlebury.edu/ehrgc/files/2015/04/Bucciferro.pdf 34 – Ibid. 35 – https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/24/opinion/vanessa-barbara-in-denial-over-racism-in-brazil. html?_r=0 36 – http://www.dw.com/en/amazon-deforestation-ticks-tragically-up/a-36597538 37 – https://pib.socioambiental.org/en/c/terras-indigenas/introducao/o-que-sao-terras-indigenas 38 – http://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/brazilian 39 – http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/01/160120-brazil-illegal-logging-indigenous-people-Amazon-Basin-Awa-ibama/ 40 – http://www.cimi.org.br/File/Report%20Violence.pdf 41 – https://www.accord.org.za/ajcr-issues/ethnic-religious-crises-nigeria/ 42 – Ibid. 43 – Ibid. 44 – https://www.britannica.com/place/Chile/People 45 – https://www.worldcrunch.com/culture-society/indigenous-of-chile-why-discrimination-against-mapuches-still-runs-so-deep/c3s10678 46 – https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/6542944.pdf 47 – http://unpo.org/article/16270 48 – http://academics.wellesley.edu/Economics/mcewan/PDF/canschools.pdf 49 – https://www.wsj.com/articles/brazils-supreme-court-criminalizes-homophobic-acts-11560467658 50 – https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-46996206 51 – http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/south-africa-progressive-lgbt-rights-gays-still-battle-social-reform-1471213 52 – Ibid. 53 – Interview with BP China, 2019



Self-Security Post COVID-19: Making the Transition from Corporate Steward to Entrepreneur by Hume G. Merritt III and Sherrel A. Sampson The Great Equalizer: Experts proclaimed COVID-19 is the great equalizer, and whether we believe the notion or not, there is no denying that it is an unprecedented event that will force us to rethink our new normal for the decade to come. The Black community was disproportionately affected both physically and financially as we saw this pandemic touch every part of our lives. As we prepare for life after COVID-19, it will be essential that we not only analyze and change health safeguards but also construct financial safeguards to ensure there is not an acceleration in the economic divide. SHERREL A. SAMPSON is the founder & Chief Executive Officer of Canviiy, LLC. As founder and CEO, she is responsible for management, strategic planning, innovation, and growth for all areas of Canviiy. Coming from the corporate world, Sampson is known as a visionary leader with a history of delivering omnichannel success across personal care, consumer healthcare (OTC), grocery retail and enterprise software verticals. HUME G. MERRITT III is the Chief Marketing Officer of Canviiy, LLC. An accomplished marketing and sales professional with over 20 years of experience in Consumer-Packaged Goods. Merritt has progressive expertise in developing effective brand strategies and has proven himself on brands ranging from start up to $1billion.


FINANCIAL INDICATORS project that we are headed into a recession as March 2020 figures reached a three-year unemployment high. COVID-19 drove this crisis, with Figure 1 showing Blacks being affected disproportionately.1 Also, noticeable that coming out of the last three recessions (marked in blue) the Black unemployment gap has only widened when compared to other races. In the past,



many professionals could count on our specific industry expertise to protect us, but we are now seeing increases in unemployment across all industries, with the exception of information and financial services (Figure 2).2 We can expect corporate business models to be forever changed as companies are doing more with less and asking remaining employees to absorb the work of furloughed and terminated counterparts. Figure 1: Unemployment Numbers By Race 18% 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 ‘90






Blacks Hispanics or Latinos











Whites Asians Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics. March 2020



Figure 2: Unemployment Numbers by Profession

Industry Description

03/19 03/20


Unemployment- National








Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, Nonagricultural




Construction Industry




Manufacturing Industry




Durable Goods Industry




Non Durable Goods Industry




Wholesale and Retail Trade




Transportation and Utilities Industry







Financial Activities Industry




Professional and Business Services Industry




Education and Health Services




Leisure and Hospitality




Other Services Industry




Agricultural and Related




All Industries Government




All industries, Self-employed, Unincorporated, and Unpaid family workers




Information Industry

*Private Wage and Salary Workers

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics. March 2020



For those of us that survive COVID-19 furloughs, as Blacks we will still have to endure the racial disadvantages that are systemic to corporate America. Despite representing 14% of the population, we represent only 8% of professionals, with only 3.2% making it to Senior Management (Figure 3).3 Given this attrition, it is unfortunate but not surprising that a dismal 0.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs are Black. While the Black Lives Matter movement hopes to help address this discrepancy, we cannot expect a near term horizon that delivers our fair share of senior roles (14%), so as we are noticing this discrepancy, we must expand our options for the future. Lack of opportunities within corporate culture are driving Blacks to seek to leave their current employer at a higher rate than their counterparts (Figure 4). 4 As shown below in Figure 5,5 Black men historically take this switching opportunity to start their own businesses, but with COVID-19 we are seeing an additional increase among Black women as 15% of women were considering quitting their jobs because of the increased family demands while sheltering in place.6 Figure 3: Representation of Black adults in US

Fortune 500 CEOs


Executive/Senior-level officials and managers


Professionals College degree holders

8.0% 10.0% Men

Women Source: Center for Talent Innovation Statistics. Dec 2019



Figure 4: Professionals Intending to Leave Employer (<2Yr)
















Source: Center for Talent Innovation Statistics. Dec 2019

Figure 5: Professionals Leaving to Start Own Venture




38% 25% 9%






16% 5%



* This question was only asked of those who are not currently business owners Source: Center for Talent Innovation Statistics. Dec 2019



Self-Security Paradigm Shift: As corporations adjust their business models, we must adapt from the traditional “Job Security” thought process to a more intentional “Self-Security” paradigm. Figure 2 shows that the self-employed are 25% below the national average unemployment rate and has defied trends with self-employed unemployment rates contracting in the last year. We are not advocating resigning from your day job, but rather suggesting an intentional commitment to developing additional streams of income. Case in point, 43% of people with annual household incomes of $80,000 or higher have a secondary source of income.7 In preparation for identifying the best sources of secondary income, it is first necessary to conduct two personal assessments. The first assessment is a financial audit. We must understand our current assets and liabilities, identifying our personal investment limits so that we can understand how to best invest for the future. The second assessment is a core competency audit. Professionally, we must assess our strengths and their value in the marketplace? Attitudinally what is our risk profile and how much time can we dedicate to learning new skills and are we willing to partner with others or prefer to go solo? With these questions answered we are in a better position to identify our best options for secondary streams of income, from real estate, to consulting, and from investment clubs to starting a business. The journey of entrepreneurship will create a microcosm of thoughts and ideas; this is the optimal time to decide what new skills, data or information is needed to increase business building human capital. In fact, Chris Dixon, noted tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, states as a wealth vehicle that “Building a start-up will be the homeownership of the next century.”8 This is a strategy that we have continuously seen from our counterparts over the last decade and one that we must implement to close the gap. We are our single best asset, our expertise, our intellect, our drive are all proven equites that have made us successful in the corporate world and they are transferable characteristics that will make us successful in the entrepreneurial world.



Unrealized Competitive Advantage of the Black Professional: As accomplished black professionals, we have the competitive advantage, a resourcefulness of developing and implementing proven capitalism business models often across multiple corporations. This gives us a mental muscle memory for quickly identifying new environments and to adjust models accordingly. Whether it be go-to-market timelines or operational processes, we know how to identify risk, streamline, and adapt. Additionally, along our careers we develop an internal resourcefulness as well, a kind of failure is not an option mentality, whether it be a defense mechanism that allows us to escape our humble beginnings or rather it be the rarified air of corporate progression where we are often the only one in the room and either ignored or expected to speak for a race of people. The tenacity to be the best and strive for excellence are foundational pillars that may go unnoticed, but they are core competencies that must be recognized as advantages. Key Characteristics of a Successful Transition: To help successfully transition from corporate steward to part-time entrepreneur we will discuss the key characteristics of prioritization, agility, initiative, and know-how, as we feel they are key. Case in point, when we made the decision to launch Canviiy, we had inherent characteristics that positioned the company for success. First, we prioritized the most crucial elements to launch the brand: ■ Define Problem ■ Ideate ■ Build Prototype

■ Test Concept ■ Develop Brand Strategy ■ Digital Platform Selections

As an entrepreneur, one has the advantages of forgoing lengthy approval processes and bypassing internal politics, which provides the freedom to be agile and make swift decisions. Taking the leap to be a part-time entrepreneur is no easy feat, but we are firm believers that if you have the initiative to build and nurture a client



base then your transition to create self-security may be smoother than imagined. However, the most game-changing characteristic that will propel your entrepreneurial success is your know-how. Your ability to succinctly communicate, build relationships, articulate the value proposition, and build a first-class product and or service will differentiate you from your competitors. Making mistakes and poor decisions are enviable as an entrepreneur, nonetheless your experience and drive to succeed will shape the growth of your business concept. There are truly no shortcuts to success, nonetheless efficient technology platforms give part-time entrepreneurs today the unique ability to work smarter, not harder. Depending on the product or service, entrepreneurs are literally a click away from reaching new clients and capturing sales conversions. There are tech platforms for all aspects of business from accounting to email marketing tools. Provided below is a comprehensive list of business tools to achieve efficient operations: Accounting:

Website Management:

Project Management:

Social Management:

Asset Management:

Email Marketing:

Xero, Inuit, FreshBooks Smartsheet, Basecamp, Trello Dropbox, Box, Google Drive

Shopify, WordPress, Square

Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer Mailchimp, HubSpot, Constant Contact

The idea of starting a business from scratch may seem like a daunting task. It may be best to examine joining a co-founder or partnering with an existing company. In the formative stage, consider building a digital portfolio showcasing your expertise and experience. The next step in the ideation phase will be funding the business. There is an art to deploying capital in meaningful ways to upstart your company and never mistake raising capital for success. Utilization of funds should be prioritized on essential business needs and customer acquisition strategies. There is validation in raising capital, though be prepared for expectations



and pressures from investors to yield returns on any investment. It is recommended to explore alternative methods to finance your business: crowdfunding, grants, pitch competitions, small business loans, peer-to-peer lending, sponsorships, invoice factoring, donations, etc. Building a business with growing demand and repeatable sales is the true definition of success not raising capital. In a short period of time, COVID-19 has reminded us that nothing is guaranteed and in an instant circumstance can change. The essential question we must ask ourselves is what will we do to achieve self-security? We have witnessed how developing multiple streams of income is a proven way to insulate ourselves from economic down turns and to build wealth. Now, we must challenge ourselves to step out of our comfort zone because we should feel confident that we are equipped with all the essential skills to succeed. Notes: 1 – Unemployment Numbers by Race, US Bureau of Labor Statistics. March 2020 2 – Unemployment by Occupations, US Bureau of Labor Statistics. March 2020 3 – https://www.talentinnovation.org/_private/assets/BeingBlack-KeyFindings-CTI.pdf 4 – Ibid 5 – Ibid 6 – https://synd.io/workload-impact-survey/ 7 – https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/side-hustles-survey-june-2019/ 8 – David Kidder, Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups from Their Founding Entrepreneurs, January 2013.





About the Contributors Verónica Caridad Rabelo, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the Lam Family College of Business at San Francisco State University. Her research examines how organizational inequities affect people’s dignity and well-being. Rosa M. Colon-Kolacko, Ph.D., MBA, CDM, SHRM-SCP is the former NYC Health + Hospitals, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals and is the President and Principal Consultant of Global Learning and Diversity Partners, LLC. She is also a Professor at Thomas Jefferson University. Akosua Barthwell Evans, J.D. Ph.D. was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission for Educational Excellence for African Americans and was CoMarshal of the Yale Law School Class of 1990 where she won the Edward D. Robbins Award. She is the Chief Executive Officer of The Barthwell Group. Cheryl Grace is the Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement for Nielsen and drives Nielsen’s multicultural thought leadership strategy. As the lead content executive for all domestic multicultural and diversity initiatives she spearheads important conversations on trending diversity issues of importance to Nielsen, its clients, stakeholders, and U.S. communities. Nkanta Nicholas Hines, Sr., MSc., MBA currently serves as the President/Chief Executive Officer of Capital Strategy Group, LLC and is also the Healthcare Vertical Leader - The Center for Creative Leadership. He has over 25 years of leadership experience as a C-suite executive, business strategist, and leadership development consultant. Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of WordSmithRapport, a boutique consulting firm with exclusive expertise in professional development and advisory services worldwide.



India Martin is a 25-year veteran of financial services and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. She has held several global C-Suite roles including expatriate assignments in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Courtney L. McCluney, Ph.D. is a faculty member in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. Hume G. Merritt, III is the Chief Marketing Officer of Canviiy, LLC. An accomplished marketing and sales professional with over 20 years of experience in Consumer-Packaged Goods. Merritt has progressive expertise in developing effective brand strategies and has proven himself on brands ranging from start up to $1 billion. Kathey Porter, MBA, CPSD is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Porter Brown Associates, a veteran- and woman-owned management and professional services consultancy specializing in business strategy, performance management, and long-term sustainability. Sherrel A. Sampson is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Canviiy, LLC. As founder and CEO, she is responsible for management, strategic planning, innovation, and growth for all areas of Canviiy. Coming from the corporate world, Sampson is known as a visionary leader with a history of delivering omnichannel success across personal care, consumer healthcare (OTC), grocery retail and enterprise software verticals.



A Research Journal for Black Professionals The Executive Leadership Council The Executive Leadership Council (ELC) is the preeminent membership organization committed to increasing the number of global black executives in C-suites, on corporate boards, and in global enterprises. Its mission is to increase the number of successful black executives, domestically and internationally, by adding value to their development, leadership, and philanthropic endeavors, thereby strengthening their companies, organizations, and communities across the life cycle of their careers. Its purpose is to open channels of opportunity for the development of black executives to positively impact business and its communities.

ISBN 978-0-578-76810-6


9 780578



Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.