The Olympic ban on Afro swim caps – and the backlash it has received – is a huge lesson for business leaders

Swimmer Alice Dearing photographed in a Soul Cap
The Soul Cap, which fits over Afros and thick hair, was banned by the international swimming federation. British Olympic swimmer Alice Dearing is a brand partner with Soul Cap.

  • Soul Cap tried to have its swim caps – which fit over Afros – approved for the 2021 summer Olympics.
  • The governing Olympic body rejected the request, saying it didn’t conform to the “natural” head.
  • Fortune 500 consultants explain why the decision is a teachable moment for other leaders.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Maritza McClendon, the first Black woman to make a US Olympic swim team and a 2004 Olympic silver medalist, vividly remembers the sound of her white teammates in high school and college laughing as she struggled to fit her thick, curly hair into her swim cap.

She’d laugh along with them, but inside, she had an awful, sinking feeling. It was one of many microaggressions she endured over the years.

To be Black and a swimmer, she said, is difficult. And a new ruling by the International Swimming Federation, or FINA, makes it even more difficult.

A company called Soul Cap recently tried to have its swim caps – which fit over Afros, locs, extensions, and thick hair – approved for the 2021 summer Tokyo Olympics. FINA rejected the product, saying the caps didn’t follow “the natural form of the head.” Following swift backlash, FINA is revisiting the ban.

In response to a request for comment, FINA pointed to its latest press release on the matter, which said the federation understood the “importance of inclusivity and representation,” and that it would be revisiting the decision at an undisclosed date. As of this writing, no formal announcement has been made.

“It’s just really disappointing,” McClendon said. “The Olympics is the C-suite of sports. What kind of message does this send? It excludes the diversity the sport so desperately needs.”

In addition to calling the ban “ridiculous” and “racist,” consultants who work with Fortune 500 companies on issues of diversity said FINA’s decision is a learning moment not only for Olympic leaders but also for business leaders.

Corporate America has been engulfed in a racial reckoning ever since George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, and many experts said FINA’s swim-cap ban highlights a problematic status quo. Decision-makers must not only welcome opportunities to be inclusive, these experts told Insider, but also question whom these standards of dress and behavior are serving.

“When we talk about something like the Afro cap not conforming to the ‘natural shape of the head’ – Well, the natural shape of whose head exactly?” said Tiffany Jana, the founder of the diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting firm TMI who works with Fortune 500 companies.

A lesson for all leaders

Maritza McClendon portrait in a pool
Maritza McClendon, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist and the first Black woman to make a US Olympic swim team, said the ban excluded diversity that the sport “so desperately needs.”

The backlash against FINA has been swift.

Soul Cap has spoken out against the ruling, saying it discourages many younger athletes from underrepresented backgrounds from pursuing the sport. And an online petition for FINA to remove the ban has garnered more than 59,000 signatures.

That FINA snubbed the opportunity to be more inclusive is a lesson for business leaders, said Jana, the author of “Subtle Acts of Exclusion.”

Jana, who is nonbinary, called the decision “utterly ridiculous” and “a demonstration of white supremacy.” “What is being stated is that the white standard is normal, that it is best, and that it is what’s acceptable.”

Some writers have said that FINA’s language is reminiscent of phrenology, a pseudoscience from the 1800s involving the measurement of bumps on the skull to predict mental traits. It was used to argue that nonwhite people were inferior because of the shapes of their heads.

Jana said the decision showed a lack of historical and emotional awareness and “overall intelligence.” Kerryn Agyekum, a DEI principal at the consultancy The Raben Group, agreed. Both said it’s no longer OK for leaders to not be aware of how racism has influenced their sector, field, or even company or sport.

Stop policing Black and other nonwhite bodies

There’s a parallel to draw between the ban on the Afro swim cap and the ban, in many professional spaces, of braids, locs, and other ways Black people care for their hair.

Both bans, DEI experts said, are knowingly or unknowingly racist.

“It’s just another expression of how different people, their needs, their expressions, their well-being, and their way of being are not taken into consideration, honored, or privileged,” Jana said.

Oftentimes, the “standard” or “professional” way of doing things – whether in sports or the office – is how white, able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual people have existed, Agyekum said. The US Army has gone through a reckoning regarding what hairstyles are and aren’t permitted, with new guidelines released this year that allow styles such as cornrows, braids, and ponytails.

The CROWN Act, a bill that prevents workplace discrimination based on one’s hair texture or style, has passed in 11 states, including New York and California. Still, there is no law preventing such discrimination on the national level.

But business leaders shouldn’t wait for the CROWN Act. They should question the status quo, Jana said, and stop policing Black and other nonwhite bodies, or making it harder for them to exist in work spaces.

For example, leaders should reexamine workplace rules around presentation, adjust healthcare policies to include trans and nonbinary people, and make sure their offices are accessible to differently abled people.

“Historically, there was a lack of the ability for Black people to actually swim in pools that were for whites only. Now you have this generation of people who don’t know how to swim for that reason. In the present day, now hair becomes the issue,” Agyekum said. “It’s about exclusion.”

Workplace culture and sports culture can change, Jana said, but only if leaders are willing to put in the work. Take, for example, how women have made gains in the professional world. Many companies now have lactation rooms, offer free menstruation products such as pads, and offer paid parental leave.

“This only happened after we stopped and took a hard pause,” Jana said.

Embrace mistakes to usher in progress

No leader or organization will always get things right, especially when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. But it’s what leaders do after they make a mistake that defines what they stand for, DEI consultants said.

“You don’t get from institutionalized slavery and racism to any kind of international, global utopia without tripping, without learning,” Jana said. “What I’m interested in now is what FINA does next.”

In order for FINA to be an anti-racist organization, Jana said, its committee should not only withdraw the ban but also issue an apology and commit to a full review of its practices.

“Show me you’re doing the work,” Jana said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Insider spoke with 8 of the most powerful Black women in money management about microaggressions, mentors, and career triumphs

From left: Kim Lew, president and CEO of the Columbia Investment Management Company, Dekia Scott, CIO of Southern Company, Tina Byles Williams, CEO CIO and Founder of Xponance, and Michaela Edwards, partner and portfolio manager at Capricorn Investment Group with magenta circles and a faded white grid behind them on a purple background
From left: Kim Lew, president and CEO of the Columbia Investment Management Company; Dekia Scott, CIO of Southern Company; Tina Byles Williams, CEO CIO and founder of Xponance; and Michaela Edwards, partner and portfolio manager at Capricorn Investment Group.

Institutional investors control a combined $70 trillion in assets – and the majority of people managing that massive money pile are white, male, or both.

Insider spoke with eight Black women in high-powered asset-management roles who collectively control billions of dollars in assets. They shed light on whether the industry’s diversity problems are fully understood. They also discussed victories and pivotal moments in their careers:

  • “I’m fully aware that when you ask the random person, ‘What comes to mind when you think of an investment manager?’ I’m pretty sure that the image that comes to mind doesn’t look like me,” said Tina Byles Williams, the founder, CEO and CIO of Philadelphia-based asset manager Xponance. “It probably doesn’t look like a woman, and it surely doesn’t look like a Black woman. That is the opportunity and the burden.”
  • “I unapologetically take up space,” said Dominique Cherry, head of capital markets at the Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement. “You just make a decision that you’re going to take up as much space as needed until that point that your presence is recognized, your voice is heard, and hopefully you can bring a couple of young people along the way with you.”

SUBSCRIBE TO READ THE FULL STORY: 8 of the most powerful Black women in money management on microaggressions, mentors, and finding their voice on Wall Street

Read the original article on Business Insider

The chief talent officer of enterprise tech company HPE shares her 3 best pieces of career advice for breaking into in-demand industries

Black young businesswoman listening to discussion of lawyers during meeting at office
  • Alessandra Ginante Yockelson is chief talent officer at fintech company Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
  • She said any aspiring professional can achieve their career goals with the right approach.
  • Build your professional and personal confidence and champion diversity at every stage, she said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Each year, more than half of a million professionals apply to job vacancies at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a fintech company based in Houston, Texas. Only 12,000 of these applicants were hired globally in 2019.

Alessandra Ginante Yockelson
Alessandra Ginante Yockelson.

Despite the seemingly low odds of landing a position with this enterprise tech leader, HPE’s chief talent officer Alessandra Ginante Yockelson said that nearly 40% of hires in 2019 were gender diverse.

As a woman and immigrant, Yockelson understands that each professional faces unique intersectionalities. She believes that any aspiring professional has the ability to achieve their career goals even if they’re confronted with societal barriers.

“I come from a very humble family in São Paulo, Brazil,” Yockelson told Insider. “I had to overcome a lot of adversities in the beginning.”

She advises job seekers in every industry to follow these three pieces of advice.

1. Build your confidence professionally and personally

“Believe that no matter where you start from – no matter how limited your resources are or how victimized you are by institutionalized racism – there’s a way forward and a strength in you that will show,” Yockelson said.

Experts suggest that low levels of confidence negatively impact your career, especially if you’re a recent graduate.

To build confidence as a person and professional, consider first embracing your past accomplishments, identifying your weaknesses, and strengthening your resume. Other suggestions include:

  • Learning how to align the skill set, achievements, and knowledge you’ve already developed with the requirements of the role you seek
  • Highlighting the skills or certifications that you lack and identifying ways to formally improve them
  • Continuing to enhance your resume through freelance projects and volunteering
  • Seeking out support from peers to help you remain on-track to achieving your goals
  • When feeling lost, consider taking aptitude tests to help you refocus on your unique motivational drivers, expositional traits, and learning style

2. Utilize free resources

Yockelson recently earned her doctorate in business administration. “Education, I truly believe in my case, has opened doors,” she said.

The pandemic has expanded online opportunities and free resources. Princeton, Harvard, and Yale are among the many universities that offer online courses through edX and Coursera, which also features courses led by companies like Google Cloud.

Yockelson insists that job seekers keep in mind that academia isn’t the sole provider of education. She encourages everyone to seek out diverse experiences outside of their comfort zones, even if that means simply grabbing lunch with people you don’t know at work.

3. Proactively champion diversity at every stage

Regardless of industry, all professionals have the power to champion diversity at every stage of their careers.

Leaders can immediately increase diversity on their teams by expanding the scope of job requirements, standardizing the interview process, and intentionally sponsoring employees belonging to minority groups.

By purposefully and publicly making an effort to counter the “invisibility effect,” leaders can elevate their existing employees while encouraging other diverse candidates in the workforce to pursue these roles.

Achieving certain career goals may seem impossible for those affected by intersectionality in the workplace, but Yockelson is determined to give these diverse professionals hope.

“If they knew my story, they would believe that they could do it as well,” she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 25 best CEOs of small and midsize companies, ranked by employees of color

Alessio Alionco standing in an office. There are other employees working in the background.
Alessio Alionco.

25. Ray Grainger, Mavenlink

Ray Grainger standing in an office
Ray Grainger.

Location: Irvine, California

Industry: Computer software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Diverse, inclusive, and fosters the development of deep, long-term relationships.”

24. Todd Olson, Pendo

Todd Olson standing in front of a brick wall.
Todd Olson.

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Industry: SaaS/enterprise software

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Transparent, diversity-minded, and modest with employees.”

23. Ziv Elul, Fyber

Ziv Elul wearing a Fyber shirt and a blazer in an office.
Ziv Elul.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: Digital marketing platform

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Put together a diverse group of people who have Fyber’s main interest in hand.”

22. David Grace, Deem

Headshot of David Grace.
David Grace.

Location: Oakland, California

Industry: Mobile and cloud technology

Employee quote about the CEO: “Transparency and inclusion from both a knowledge as well as a people perspective.”

21. Eran Gilad, Fuel Cycle

Eran Gilad with his arms crossed and wearing a suit.
Eran Gilad.

Location: Los Angeles, California

Industry: Market research 

Employee quote about the CEO: “CEO is very inclusive in the big picture.” 

20. Joel Hyatt, Globality

Joel Hyatt wearing a blue dress shirt in the Globality office.
Joel Hyatt.

Location: Menlo Park, California

Industry: Software and technology services

Employee quote about the CEO: “Empathetic, loving, intelligent, and charismatic. They see talent like no one else does.”

19. Brady Brim-DeForest, Theorem

Headshot of Brady Brim-DeForest wearing a suit.
Brady Brim-DeForest.

Location: Encino, California

Industry: Information technology and services

Employee quote about the CEO: “Openness to feedback and awareness that they are not perfect, with a commitment to continuous improvement and radical candor.”

18. Gleb Polyakov, Nylas

Gleb Polyakov.
Gleb Polyakov.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: Computer software

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Gleb puts a lot of weight into fostering and maintaining a culture of acceptance and diversity.”

17. Gene Berdichevsky, Sila Nanotechnologies

Gene Berdichevsky.
Gene Berdichevsky.

Location: Alameda, California

Industry: Electrical and electronic manufacturing

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Recognizes the value of all Silazens and takes care to ensure an inclusive culture.”

16. Wes Schroll, Fetch Rewards

Black and white photo of Wes Schroll.
Wes Schroll.

Location: Madison, Wisconsin 

Industry: Mobile rewards app

Employee quote about the CEO: “I like the goal of mindfully diversifying the leadership team. It’s important to be in a company that understands the need for representation.”

15. Jessica Mah, inDinero

Headshot of Jessica Mah standing outside. There are trees blurred in the background.
Jessica Mah.

Location: Walnut, California

Industry: Financial services

Employee quote about the CEO: “Modern and progressive in her thinking.”

14. Hunter Madeley, Vena Solutions

Hunter Madeley talking
Hunter Madeley.

Location: Toronto, Canada

Industry: SaaS/enterprise software

Employee quote about the CEO: “CEO is inclusive and makes sure that every employee feels valued and appreciated. I have not worked for a company before where leadership genuinely cares about everyone!”

13. William J. Tessar, Civic Financial Services

William J. Tessar is wearing a suit and sitting on some stairs.
William J. Tessar.

Location: Redondo Beach, California

Industry: Financial services

Employee quote about the CEO: “The CEO is transparent, honest, and is always looking to improve. We demonstrate diversity successfully and have the right people on the right seats.”

12. Ashvin Kumar, Tophatter

Ashvin Kumar
Ashvin Kumar.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: E-commerce

Employee quote about the CEO: “Real passion for building and supporting the global team. Each employee is cared for and treated like a member of the family.”

11. Alex Canter, Ordermark

Alex Canter talking into a microphone
Alex Canter.

Location: Los Angeles, California

Industry: Food tech

Employee quote about the CEO: “Transparency, authenticity, inclusiveness and accessibility.”

10. Brad Hoover, Grammarly

Brad Hoover with his arms crossed standing in front of the Grammarly logo on the wall behind him.
Brad Hoover.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: Computer software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Humble, focused, empathetic, high integrity.”

9. Larry Dunivan, Namely

Headshot of Larry Dunivan.
Larry Dunivan.

Location: New York, New York

Industry: HR software

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Diversity in the workplace is promoted by the CEO! He and the other leaders are always striving to utilize each individual’s unique strengths.”

8. David Muse, Elemica

Headshot of David Muse wearing a suit
David Muse.

Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania

Industry: Information technology and services

Employee quote about the CEO: “The CEO is driving needed change.”

7. Alessio Alionco, Pipefy

Alessio Alionco standing in an office. There are other employees working in the background.
Alessio Alionco.

Location: California City, California

Industry: SaaS

Employee quote about the CEO: “Humanity, transparency, empathy, importance given to diversity.”

6. Ross Wainwright, Alida

Ross Wainwright wearing a suit.
Ross Wainwright.

Location: Toronto, Canada

Industry: Computer software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Leads by example. Encourages diversity, equity and inclusion. Encourages personal well-being and healthy culture.”

5. Amir Movafaghi, Mixpanel

Amir Movafaghi wearing a blue sweater on a gray background.
Amir Movafaghi.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: Data analytics

Employee quote about the CEO: “I love that he has set goals about diversity and inclusion and have really shown up to support women and other minorities in the workplace with career progressions.”

4. Steven Sugarman, The Change Company

Headshot of Steven Sugarman on a blue background.
Steven Sugarman.

Location: Irvine, California

Industry: Financial services

Employee quote about the CEO: “Accessible, hands on, consistent, and fair.”

3. Martijn Atell, VoteBash

Headshot of Martijn Atell.
Martijn Atell.

Location: Wilmington, Delaware

Industry: Market research

Employee quote about the CEO: “What I like a lot about our CEO is that he is cooperative and open to questions and focused on diversity and respect.”

2. Doug Hirsch and Trevor Bezdek, GoodRx

Doug Hirsch and Trevor Bezdek.
Doug Hirsch and Trevor Bezdek.

Location: Santa Monica, California

Industry: Pharmaceutical healthcare

Employee quote about the CEO: “They are inclusive and aimed at creating the best work environment possible while bringing out the best in each of us.”

1. John Berger, Sunnova Energy

Headshot of William J. (John) Berger on a white background.
William J. (John) Berger.

Location: Houston, Texas

Industry: Renewables and environment

Employee quote about the CEO: “I love the diversity and open mindedness John instills in the company.”

Here’s the full list for small and midsize companies:

Graphic of Comparably's list of the best CEOs for diversity at small and midsize companies

Method and data source

Comparably collects workplace ratings from employees at companies belonging to different industries and creates multiple rankings a year based on these anonymous ratings.

The annual ranking of the top-rated CEOs for diversity uses anonymous ratings from non-white employees over a 12-month period. Ratings were collected from June 23, 2020 to June 23, 2021.

In the small and midsize company list, or companies with less than 500 employees, there were only a few non-white male CEOs who made the top 25. Only two non-white CEOs made the top 10.

The full ranking of the best CEOs according to employees of color is available on Comparably. Employee quotes and industries were shared with Insider by Comparably. Some quotes have been edited for grammar.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 25 best CEOs of large companies, ranked by employees of color

Eric Yuan is talking before the Nasdaq opening bell ceremony
Zoom founder Eric Yuan speaks before the Nasdaq opening bell ceremony on April 18, 2019 in New York City.

25. Aman Bhutani, GoDaddy

Headshot of Aman Bhutani.
Aman Bhutani.

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Industry: Website hosting platform

Employee quote about the CEO: “I love that he is attempting to be more accessible by hosting AMAs, rolling out Slido, listening to feedback, and being more diverse.”

24. Carl Russo, Calix

Headshot of Carl Russo
Carl Russo.

Location: San Jose, California

Industry: Telecommunications software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Warm, professional, flexible, inclusive and open.”

23. Tomer Weingarten, SentinelOne

Headshot of Tomer Weingarten
Tomer Weingarten.

Location: Mountain View, California

Industry: Cybersecurity

Employee quote about the CEO: “Transparent and inclusive in his communication, prioritizing company and employee growth.”

22. Carlos Rodriguez, ADP

Headshot of Carlos Rodriguez.
Carlos Rodriguez.

Location: Roseland, New Jersey

Industry: HR management software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Throughout this unprecedented year, Carlos and our leaders served as our north star managing with transparency, empathy, confidence and trust with employee well-being as their clear top priority.”

21. Mike Walsh, LexisNexis Legal & Professional

Headshot of Mike Walsh.
Mike Walsh.

Location: New York, New York

Industry: Legal information and analytics

Employee quote about the CEO: “Besides the business, he has a strong vision on L&D.”

20. Leslie Stretch, Medallia

Leslie Stretch in a suit standing outside
Leslie Stretch.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: SaaS Platform

Employee quote about the CEO: “Our CEO is proactive and transparent about our position on important issues.”

19. Sumit Singh, Chewy

Headshot of Sumit Singh standing outside.
Sumit Singh.

Location: Dania, Florida

Industry: E-commerce

Employee quote about the CEO: “I believe he truly cares about diversity, inclusion, and building an excellent culture.”

18. Kumsal Bayazit, Elsevier

Headshot of Kumsal Bayazit on a gray background.
Kumsal Bayazit.

Location: New York, New York

Industry: Publishing

Employee quote about the CEO: “Kumsal is a super star leading the way in inclusion and diversity and how a global company can be sustainable and profitable.”

17. Bradley Jacobs, XPO Logistics

Headshot of Bradley Jacobs.
Bradley Jacobs.

Location: Greenwich, Connecticut

Industry: Freight brokerage

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Strives to be inclusive and always helping us build new skills and praising us for the ones we have.”

16. Andy Lee, Alorica

Headshot of Andy Lee on a blue background.
Andy Lee.

Location: Irvine, California

Industry: Customer service

Employee quote about the CEO: “He is always ready to help. It is very human. He is the best leader I have ever had.”

15. Robert G. Painter, Trimble

Robert Painter on a gray background
Robert Painter.

Location: Sunnyvale, California

Industry: Software and hardware technology

Employee quote about the CEO: “Caring and compassionate. Progressive approach to allowing employees time to act upon diversity, equity and inclusion.”

14. Cesar Carvalho, Gympass

Headshot of Cesar Carvalho on a white background.
Cesar Carvalho.

Location: New York, New York

Industry: Health and wellness

Employee quote about the CEO: “The Global CEO remains humble and mission-focused. He treats all with respect and values his employees.”

13. Bryce Maddock, TaskUs

Headshot of Bryce Maddock.
Bryce Maddock.

Location: Santa Monica, California

Industry: Customer service outsourcing

Employee quote about the CEO: “Empowerment, inclusivity, investment in people, and transparency.”

12. Sundar Pichai, Google

Headshot of Sundar Pichai.
Sundar Pichai.

Location: Mountain View, California

Industry: Internet cloud computing

Employee quote about the CEO: “Does the right thing for everyone, truly cares. Dedicated to inclusion, diversity, opportunity, and outreach to help communities.”

11. Satya Nadella, Microsoft

Satya Nadella on a white background
Satya Nadella.

Location: Redmond, Washington

Industry: Computer software and consumer electronics

Employee quote about the CEO: “Satya Nadella is really inspiring. He has a good vision and the global strategy is excellent.”

10. Brian Halligan, HubSpot

Brian Halligan on a black background
Brian Halligan.

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts 

Industry: CRM software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Appreciate his efforts to keep attracting and retaining the best human talent, and to be a company with empathy and equality.”

9. Chris Caldwell, Concentrix

Chris Caldwell sitting in a chair and smiling
Chris Caldwell.

Location: Fremont, California

Industry: Customer service outsourcing

Employee quote about the CEO: “The concepts of diversity, inclusion, development, and opportunity are not just lip service.”

8. Henry Schuck, ZoomInfo

Zoominfo CEO Henry Schuck
Henry Schuck.

Location: Vancouver, Washington

Industry: SaaS

Employee quote about the CEO: “I appreciate his openness to discuss tough issues like diversity and growth.”

7. Kenneth Lin, Credit Karma

Headshot of Kenneth Lin on a white background
Kenneth Lin.

Location: Oakland, California

Industry: FinTech

Employee quote about the CEO: “It’s rare to see such an ethical and thoughtful CEO that ‘walks the talk’ the way he does.”

6. Arvind Krishna, IBM

Arvind Krishna with his arms crossed and wearing a blue suit
Arvind Krishna.

Location: Armonk, New York

Industry: Computer enterprise software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Embraces the culture of equality and inclusiveness in every internal process and policy.”

5. Rich Lesser, Boston Consulting Group

Headshot of Rich Lesser.
Rich Lesser.

Location: Boston, Massachusetts 

Industry: Management consulting

Employee quote about the CEO: “Compassionate and cares about what really matters to individuals (e.g. social issues).”

4. Dan Rosensweig, Chegg

Dan Rosensweig on an orange background
Dan Rosensweig.

Location: Santa Clara, California

Industry: Online education and training services

Employee quote about the CEO: “Always evolving, making positive changes, driving company growth, providing amazing employee benefits.”

3. Shantanu Narayen, Adobe

Headshot of Shantanu Narayen wearing a suit
Shantanu Narayen.

Location: San Jose, California

Industry: Enterprise software

Employee quote about the CEO: “So proud of Shantanu and the steps that he has taken not only after COVID-19, but also regarding the racial strife this year.”

2. Vladimir Shmunis, RingCentral

Vladimir Shmunis on a gray background
Vladimir Shmunis.

Location: Belmont, California

Industry: SaaS/enterprise software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Vlad is inclusive and caring about employees’ well-being.”

1. Eric Yuan, Zoom Video Communications

Headshot of Eric Yuan wearing a blue shirt
Eric Yuan.

Location: San Jose, California

Industry: Video conferencing software

Employee quote about the CEO: “We have a diverse and approachable leadership team. Our CEO Eric is my hero, such an inspiring person. His focus on happiness — for customers and employees — is infectious and permeates the organization from the top down.”

Here is the full list for large companies:

Graphic of Comparably's list of the best CEOs for diversity at large companies

Method and data source

After publishing the best CEOs based on ratings from female employees, career site Comparably released its ranking of the best CEOs based solely on ratings from employees of color. Ratings were collected from the end of June 2020 to the end of June 2021.

Eric Yuan ranked at the top of the large company list, or those with over 500 employees. On Comparably, Yuan has an overall approval rating of 98 out of 100 and high ratings from non-white employees. 

The complete list of top CEOs for diversity is available on Comparably. Quotes and industry categories listed above were given to Insider by Comparably and have been edited for grammar.

Read the original article on Business Insider

6 strategies for creating a robust, multifaceted approach to improving diversity at your organization

D&I training
Create opportunities for coworkers of all backgrounds to gather and talk openly to bring about a more inclusive culture.

  • Diversity trainings are only the tip of the iceberg for improving diversity in the workplace.
  • Organizations need to move beyond implicit bias trainings by following up on their trainings.
  • Treat diversity as a real goal, measure it, and create dedicated spaces for underrepresented groups.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The racial reckoning of spring 2020 prompted much soul-searching at organizations, as companies, nonprofits, and schools realized they could no longer ignore failures of diversity and inclusion. Many quickly rolled out programming aimed at addressing these shortcomings – in particular, diversity trainings.

But training alone can’t address long-standing organizational failings, said Ivuoma N. Onyeador, an assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School. “It’s fine to have trainings,” she said, “but trainings are only the beginning of the efforts needed to improve diversity in an organization.”

Read more: Inside YouTube VP Malik Ducard’s push to fund Black creators and amplify their voices online

On their own, trainings can’t address systemic problems: pay inequity, leadership that is mostly white and male, failure to hire underrepresented groups. Additionally, some trainings just don’t work or even backfire. For example, research has shown that implicit bias training – a popular approach that seeks to help participants recognize and overcome unconscious prejudices – does not reliably reduce bias in the long term and may reduce participants’ sense of responsibility over their own behavior. Yet some organizations have implemented implicit-bias training and figured that’s enough.

In a new policy paper, Onyeador, along with coauthors Sa-kiera T. J. Hudson of Yale University and Neil A. Lewis Jr. of Cornell University, explores how organizations can move beyond implicit-bias training. The researchers reviewed the existing literature on diversity efforts in organizations and developed a set of evidence-based recommendations for creating a robust, multifaceted approach to achieving diversity goals.

Here, Onyeador highlights six key takeaways.

Prepare for bad reactions

Diversity efforts may be poorly received. The backlash can range from eye-rolling in a training session to a sense of grievance that underrepresented groups get “special treatment” to outright hostility.

Organizations should be realistic about these challenges and have plans to address them.

“We do this in other arenas – we would never launch a product without anticipating potential snags in the process,” Onyeador said.

Organizations can build support for diversity programs by proactively addressing employee concerns. Majority group workers may fear they’ll be passed over for promotions in the name of diversity or punished for “saying the wrong thing,” or they may simply believe that diversity isn’t important – worries that can be allayed before a new program is introduced by addressing them in ways that fit your specific organizations’ culture and context.

Facilitate intergroup contact – but also create dedicated spaces for underrepresented groups

When majority group members interact with underrepresented groups, their attitudes change. One recent study found that interracial interactions help white people perceive and combat inequality; another showed that, after hearing people of color discuss their cultural backgrounds, white people displayed more inclusive behavior toward nonwhite coworkers. By creating lots of opportunities for coworkers of all backgrounds to gather and talk openly, organizations can bring about a more inclusive culture.

But it’s essential to recognize that intergroup contact may also place a burden on underrepresented group members, who may feel exhausted, singled out, or responsible for teaching others. That’s why it’s just as important for organizations to create dedicated structures such as affinity groups that allow underrepresented groups to gather. In addition to providing camaraderie, these spaces can facilitate career networking and advancement.

“People of color, for instance, are having a very different experience in these organizations than white people, and it can be nice to have a space where you meet other people and solve problems, share resources, and find role models,” Onyeador said.

Messaging matters, but action matters more

It’s easy to sing the praises of, say, your company’s family-friendly policies in a job description. But it’s much harder to actually be accommodating when an employee needs several days off to care for a sick child.

In fact, research shows that organizations that include organizational-diversity messages in job descriptions aren’t necessarily better at recruiting a diverse pool of employees or less likely discriminate against them.

“We want to make sure that both of those pieces are in there,” Onyeador said. Including inclusive language “is important to do, because it signals to your potential pool of applicants that the organization could potentially be a supportive place for them. But then it’s really important to follow that up with action.”

Treat diversity as you would any other organizational goal

Action means creating accountability structures – which, according to one 2006 study, is the single most effective way to improve managerial diversity.

Assigning institutional responsibility “can look a number of different ways, like having a chief diversity officer with some sort of oversight role, or diversity officers within units reporting up to a leader who has the power to hold units and managers accountable,” Onyeador said.

Organizations can also create incentives for participating in inclusion efforts, like bonuses or perks for serving on a diversity council.

“People are very motivated by extra money at the end of the year,” she said. “I suspect that if bonuses were tied to diversity metrics, we would see things shift. We would find the Black engineers. They’re there.”

You can’t improve what you don’t measure

Often, organizations are reluctant to collect and analyze data on diversity programming.

But that mentality wouldn’t fly with any other important organizational objective, so it shouldn’t be acceptable for diversity efforts. If a particular program or training didn’t work, “it’s imperative that we know that,” she said, so it can be improved.

There’s a similar hesitance about studying outcomes for the overarching goals of organizational change. All too frequently, companies will set out to improve diversity – but fail to measure the variables of interest.

Onyeador summarizes the attitude this way: “Did we increase the number of women in the C-suite? It’s not clear. Is the climate different? We have no idea. Are we retaining more people? Nobody knows.” Organizations have the data to answer such questions. Deciding to pay attention to it “will go a long way.”

None of this is easy, and that’s OK

Diverse organizations are not built overnight or by accident. But just because the work is challenging doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

In fact, “as organizations, as companies, as universities, we’re used to doing hard things by putting our heads down, figuring it out, being really careful, and thinking through everything,” Onyeador said.

There’s no reason, she said, that the same level of effort can’t be applied to diversity.

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US intelligence agency’s amateurish Photoshop of a wheelchair user and a blind man onto its diversity report cover backfires

Stock images of a disabled woman and a blind man were added to the image
Stock images of a disabled woman and a blind man were added to the image used on the cover of the ODNI’s diversity report.

  • A US intelligence agency used a stock photo for the cover of a diversity report, The New York Post reported.
  • The image from Shutterstock was Photoshopped to include a blind man and a disabled woman.
  • The images of these two fictional characters were also stock photos from Shutterstock, Insider can reveal.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Office of the Direction of National Intelligence (ODNI), a senior-level agency that provides oversight to the intelligence community, Photoshopped a stock photo of “multi-cultural office staff” for the cover of its annual diversity report, according to the New York Post.

The cover image of the ODNI’s “Hiring and Retention of Minorities, Women, and Persons with Disabilities in the United States Intelligence Community” report was edited to include a blind man with a guide dog and a woman in a wheelchair, Republican political consultant Luke Thompson first noted on Twitter.

The stock photo used in the intelligence agency’s doctored image is titled “Portrait Of Multi-Cultural Office Staff Standing In Lobby” and is available to buy from Shutterstock, the Post said.

Insider can reveal that the images of the wheelchair user and blind man also available to purchase on the Shutterstock website.

Read more: Your phone’s most popular apps are inaccessible to many blind users, and they may not be covered by the ADA.

The image of the woman in the wheelchair is titled “Disabled White Background His Res” on the Shutterstock website.

Stock photo of woman in wheelchair
Stock photo of woman in wheelchair, used by the ODNI.

The other image is titled “Blind Person White Background Images.” It appears that the ODNI changed the color of the man’s suit, from beige to grey.

Blind man stock photo
Stock photo of a blind man, used by the ODNI.

The report, released on Thursday, details the number of professionals working in the intelligence community who identify as minorities or persons with disabilities.

The ODNI did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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A Lagos-born diamond expert shares the struggles she faced as a Black creative in the industry, from explicit bias to funding challenges

Thelma West
Diamond expert and jewellery designer, Thelma West.

  • Data shows that a lack of diversity is a significant problem for the jewelry industry.

  • Black women in particular have endured many challenges as they tried to enter the industry.
  • Lagos-born diamond expert Thelma West shared the challenges she faced in setting up her business.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The jewelry industry isn’t known for being particularly diverse. Last year, a survey published by the National Jeweler and Jewelers of America, showed that employees gave their companies the lowest marks for staff diversity, with 37% rating their company as fair, poor or very poor.

In addition, 51% of respondents of all races said they were aware of race-based discrimination in the fine jewelry sector.

It may come as no surprise then that women, particularly Black women, must break through many barriers. This is despite women driving demand for more than 90% of the world’s jewelry, according to a report published by the Business for Social Responsibility.

But change is finally on the horizon as women start to take center stage. Thelma West, a diamond expert who was born in Lagos, Nigeria, is among them.

Armed with more than two decades of experience, West, who is now London-based, set up the diamond and gemological laboratory IGR London six years ago. The company provides a full range of services including grading, analyzing, and testing of natural gemstones and jewelry.

“As a Black female in the industry, it was important for me to make as much of an impact as I could even with the challenges that were faced,” West told Insider.

Breaking down barriers

West explained how progressing in her career was helped by having a thick skin to deal with the many obstacles placed in her way.

Some of those challenges included people who neither wanted to work with her, nor hire her. Others told her the style of her hair did not fit the look of the business. There was also a lack of credit for her knowledge in the industry, she said, which hampered attempts to secure funding.

West also suffered explicit racial abuse when people in the industry used discriminatory language towards her.

These experiences inspired West to look outside of the industry for advice and hiring-related matters, especially when it came to employing people.

But hiring came with its own set of challenges, particularly as she wanted to hire female workers to give them a chance to make it in the trade. “You get CVs but most of them are male,” she said. “I’m not discriminating but [men] have enough opportunities in the trade.”

“Well done to them but it’s our turn now to try and get a leg in,” West added.

A shared female experience

But Thelma’s experience is not isolated. The journey for her, she said, is very much the same for a lot of other Black jewelers – which she only realized last year. This awareness helped battle feelings of loneliness, which she suffered throughout her career as a result of being discriminated against.

“It’s important for people to get the full picture. To hear that this person is successful but look what they went through, look what was said to them, and realize it didn’t kill them nor break them,” she said.

But West notes that Black creatives who have lived through the good, the bad, and the ugly were tough-skinned like her.

A bright future ahead

West and other jewelers including Castro, Melanie Eddy, Ashley Thorne, and Disa Allsopp show that success in the industry is possible for Black creatives, however.

West said that, in the end, “we want to make sure that the current promotion of Black creatives will not be a passing fad and/or tokenism that defines us.”

“Instead, we will ensure we are acclaimed for our talent, creativity, and passion for what we do,” she added.

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A software CEO reveals how she used the lessons of the pandemic to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace

Panel at Insider's Future of Work virtual event, June 29, 2021, featuring Insider's Rebecca Knight and Jessie Woolley-Wilson, CEO of educational-software firm DreamBox
Insider’s Rebecca Knight (l) interviews Jessie Woolley-Wilson, CEO of educational-software firm, DreamBox

  • DreamBox CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson says diversity should be leveraged for success.
  • Employers must understand what workers want and need, as they now have the upper hand.
  • This was part of Insider’s event “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation,” presented by ProEdge, a PwC Product, on June 29.
  • Click here to watch a recording of the full event.

There’s a wealth of evidence that suggests diverse, equal, and inclusive workplaces are more successful – but the pandemic and death of George Floyd forced leaders to truly reckon with this reality.

“Instead of focusing on how to manage diversity, we need to pivot to focus on how to leverage diversity,” Jessie Woolley-Wilson, CEO of educational-software firm DreamBox, said during Insider’s recent virtual event “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation” presented by ProEdge from PwC, which took place June 29. “If you really believe that diversity is something to be leveraged and it doesn’t feel like just another project or another obligation, it feels like an opportunity.”

The conversation, titled “Diversity and innovation define the future of work,” was between Woolley-Wilson and Rebecca Knight, senior correspondent for careers and the workplace at Insider.

“Starting out as a woman of color in financial services, the expectations for excellence were either really high or really low,” Woolley-Wilson said. “We believe at DreamBox that diversity is required in order to build empathetic and relevant learning experiences.”

At the height of the pandemic, Woolley-Wilson said she took the unusual step of making the DreamBox digital platform free to help families, students, and teachers combat the equity gaps in education exacerbated by COVID-19.

Internally, she also oriented DreamBox to be guided by three simple principles: take care of each other, take care of our customers, and then by definition, we’ll be taking care of the company.

“We’re at an inflection point,” she said, referring to low unemployment and the changing job market. “The pendulum is swinging, and the leverage is swinging more in the employee camp.”

Woolley-Wilson said the last year highlighted that workplaces need to be more adaptive to the needs of women and racial minorities. Some women might need to work from home more, while others might not have a home environment that’s conducive to work and need to spend more time in the office.

“It’s about being intelligently adaptive, it’s about metabolizing new data, new stimuli from the environment, and meeting people where they are – just like we do with the platform and every individual learner,” she said.

DreamBox also hosts a monthly meeting – the most well-attended meeting company-wide, Woolley-Wilson said – to talk about diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.

“We talked about hard topics like racial bias or white privilege, we talk about things that happen in the current news cycle,” she said. “All those are dealt with in a very open and authentic way.”

She added that MBA programs of the future are going to have to teach leaders how to create “positive gravity” so the best talent chooses them.

“We’re going to have to make sure that organizations are overt and explicit about what they value, because employees now – from the first day of the interview to the first day of onboarding to their first anniversary and beyond – are unapologetic and very courageous and very intentional about what they want and what they need in their professional environment,” she said.

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How major PR firms Ogilvy and Weber Shandwick are preparing for the new hybrid workplace

A panel discussion at Insider's Future of Work Event, June 29, 2021, featuring Insider's Tanya Dua, Gail Heimann, CEO of Weber Shandwick, and Devika Bulchandani, North America CEO of Ogilvy.
Insider’s Tanya Dua (L) interviews Gail Heimann (C), CEO of Weber Shandwick, and Devika Bulchandani (R), North America CEO of Ogilvy.

  • Businesses are investing in processes and technologies to manage the new normal.
  • Two CEOs said now is an opportunity to foster inclusion and positive well-being in the workplace.
  • This was part of Insider’s “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation” presented by ProEdge, a PwC Product.
  • Click here to watch a recording of the full event.

As the US opens up, more and more employees are telling their bosses they want flexible and hybrid working arrangements.

“Three-quarters of our individuals around the world said flexibility is what they want,” Devika Bulchandani, North America CEO of Ogilvy, said.

Bulchandani said that Ogilvy, like many other firms, is also looking at a 3/2 working model and considering other positive changes it can introduce.

“We also shrunk our real-estate footprint because that allows us to reinvest into different areas of the business and reinvest into our people and what they need going forward,” she said.

She added that they’re instituting three compulsory days off per quarter for each employee to manage burnout.

“Just because we did it doesn’t mean we’re going to do it again,” she said. “Things like, do people need to travel to a meeting? Let’s ask ourselves why.”

Bulchandani said that she’s telling her staff to question whether there’s a perspective missing from the room in terms of gender, race, or disability, as well as capability.

“I have a different skillset, would this team do better? And then my question is, ‘Am I just thinking about New York, or should I be thinking about somebody from our Minneapolis office?'” she said.

In a similar vein, Heimann said that the “democratic” and inclusive nature of the virtual world is something her firm is trying to maintain as employees return to work.

Office space, she said, “will be a creative nexus, it will be a collaboration nexus, it will be a team nexus.” As for remote offices, Heimann said that they’re looking at a broad range of technologies that do more than simply combat “Zoom fatigue.”

“I think that the new age is going to be a little more immersive, more gaming-like, and those are the ones we’re testing,” she said. Weber Shandwick also hired a chief workforce innovation officer and a chief impact officer to push leadership toward “transformation that puts inclusion at the heart.”

“We talked to client after client about the need to solve at the intersections and therefore put together agile, cross-functional teams to bring that ability to clients again,” she said.

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