Airbnb Hires New Head of Global Diversity and Belonging

In an effort to move forward with efficiency and to further enact its most recent manifesto, Airbnb has hired Melissa Thomas-Hunt whose background is rooted in building inclusive, global teams. She comes from Vanderbilt University, where she served as vice provost for Inclusive Excellence.

In her previous role, Thomas-Hunt was responsible for helping advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in Vanderbilt’s academic research and community of almost 22,000 students, staff and faculty. Prior to her work at Vanderbilt, Thomas-Hunt served as global chief diversity officer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business where she was focused on ensuring that the student community was seen, heard, valued, and supported.

In her role at Airbnb, Thomas-Hunt will lead the strategy and execution of global internal diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging programs for Airbnb’s 5,000 employees around the world.

“We aspire to be a global leader in diversity and belonging—not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s core to our mission,” said Brian Chesky, co-founder, CEO, and Head of Community in a statement. “To have the impact we want on the world, we have to start inside our own walls and make sure every employee at Airbnb feels like they belong. Melissa is a visionary in this space who has spent her career exploring the causes of inequality, finding solutions to promote inclusion, and producing real change. I am incredibly grateful that she has agreed to bring her leadership and expertise to Airbnb.”

At Vanderbilt, Thomas-Hunt’s research and teaching focused on organizational behavior and the factors that unleash, leverage and amplify the talents and contributions made by women and underrepresented individuals. Prior to that, she worked at IBM as a marketing representative and received her master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University.

“I felt deeply called by Airbnb’s mission and purpose. Increasing belonging is powerful, compelling and complex to operationalize,” said Thomas-Hunt in a statement. “By continuing to build a diverse and inclusive team around the world, we can help individuals shift and shape their trajectory to realize their full potential, and I am honored to join Airbnb to help achieve these goals.” 

In recent years, Airbnb has launched a series of initiatives like the Airbnb Community Commitment and Open Doors policies that help fight discrimination and promote belonging. Thomas-Hunt will advise Airbnb on these and other initiatives that are designed to work to fight bias and ensure the platform is open and fair for all hosts and guests.

Career | Black Enterprise

EMPLOYMENT UPDATE:

Cardi B. Album Artist Launches Brand Calling Out Virgil Abloh’s Silence on Diversity

Nicky Chulo is a graphic designer who has helped create album covers for household names including Cardi B. However, he views his art as more than just work; it’s a vessel he uses to engage with contemporaries and create dialogue through creativity. For instance, his opinion about the lack of inclusion in the fashion industry and criticism about Virgil Abloh inspired him to create his own fashion brand.

As creative director at Louis Vuitton, Abloh has a high-ranking position in fashion. Last month, Abloh shared a behind-the-scenes look at a party for his brand Off-White. The footage sparked a firestorm of backlash on social media from critics who called the Off-White team too white and noted that there appeared to be no black art directors for a brand owned by a black man.

Chulo created his own apparel line called “Off-Black” in what he says is to call Abloh to task while using the proceeds to empower black creatives.

In an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, Chulo explained how art can be a conduit for purposeful dialogue.

Nicky Chulo

Nicky Chulo

 

BLACK ENTERPRISE: Describe your background as a designer and your progression into your current role.
Nicky Chulo: I’m currently an art director at Atlantic Records with a background in graphic design and typography. I’ve been a graphic designer for almost 10 years now and it’s been a very wild ride. To keep it short, I came up in Northern Virginia, went to college in Atlanta (SCAD), and jumped into the corporate side of my career in New York circa 2013.

 

What are some of your other most impactful projects to date?
 
I have two. I would have to say hands down Trap Karaoke is the most impactful project I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of. Trap Karaoke is a very black, very safe, and very wholesome place where everyone can have a good time. A quick sum up for those who don’t know: Trap Karaoke is an event where you can sign up to perform your favorite song on stage in front of a crowd whose sole purpose is to sing along with and encourage you. On a few occasions, we’ve had people performing their song and the musician who created said song would join them on stage and perform. It’s a really beautiful thing.

 

The second most impactful project to me was working with Sylvan LaCue on his Apologies In Advance album. I had the pleasure of working with Sylvan and his team to develop the concept and visuals. Apologies In Advance is about growth, acceptance, how to deal with hardships, and the list goes on. It’s about healing and becoming the best person you can be and as a millennial, I can say it’s a priceless project. Jay Z gives us free game in the form of witty classy lyricism and Sylvan gives us free band-aids in the form of honest, vulnerable words.

 

Off-White

Nicky Chulo’s Off-Black apparel line

 

What inspired you to create your latest t-shirt design “Off-Black”?
What inspired Off-Black is the lack of diversity on Virgil’s “Off-White” team. Even if he’s just the “face” of the brand I believe he has a responsibility to speak up on behalf of diversity. I’m not discrediting the talent at Off-White, but knowing how hard I worked, especially as a designer of color, to get to where I am, it hurt a bit. Blood, sweat, tears, relationships, lack of sleep, and having to be twice if not three times as good to be seen. Having to be ready for anything at all times. We need more people of color in the room. We need more people of color inside the room.

 

 What type of dialogue are you looking to create with the “Off-Black” merchandise?

I remember Virgil once tweeted “Design is the freshest scam” and I thought that was a very very cornball tweet. Design is purposeful always.

Why were you initially hesitant to release the apparel? 

I was definitely hesitant at first. I knew if I was going to do this I had to be all in. In the end, I found out that Virgil was blocking people who reached out to him in his Instagram messages with the #Diversity hashtag, which I think is dismissive and irresponsible. You have a platform and we want answers to a particular question, why not give them to us? Right or wrong, why not be transparent? Lastly, my girl was like “Baby, you know you want to do this” and I was like “Angel, you are 100% right,” and I got busy.

 

How has the culture rallied behind your message?
Man. I mean the culture pulled up with open arms, dollars, and megaphones.

 

What will you do with the proceeds? 
 
One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to The Whlgns for Leaders Amongst Leaders. I think the conversation we’ve started is equally, if not more important, than the money we’re raising. I hope to inspire black creatives with this Hail Mary of a project. I’m grateful I was in a position to take this on.

The post Cardi B. Album Artist Launches Brand Calling Out Virgil Abloh’s Silence on Diversity appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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ICYMI: Beauty Products We Love, ‘Ugly’ Sandals & Virgil Abloh’s Off-White Diversity Problem

Sure, we’re all glued to our phones/tablets/laptops/watches that barely tell time, but even the best of us miss out on some important #content from time to time. That’s why, in case you missed it, we’ve rounded up our most popular stories of the week to help you stay in the loop. No need to thank …

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Meet the Black Woman Promoted by Elon Musk to Lead Diversity at Tesla

Executives leading the charge in diversity and inclusion are leaning more towards the practice of belonging to create more inclusive work environments. Felicia Mayo, vice president of HR & head of diversity at Tesla is one of those leaders. Her journey as a human resources professional spans over two decades with executive HR roles at PwC, Oracle, and Juniper Networks. After working 19 years in Silicon Valley, she was sought out by Tesla and promoted by its founder Elon Musk to lead their HR and diversity initiatives.

It was a simple as a phone call from someone in her network who knew she could add to and elevate the way Tesla handles business when it comes to belonging.

Business Leader Versus Diversity Leader

After getting an inside look into the company and the interviewing process, Mayo decided she wanted to engage in diversity and inclusion holistically by looking at the total business of Tesla and being able to see where she could leverage her tools which include, but aren’t limited to, HR technology, operations, compensation benefits, business strategy, and talent acquisitions.

“Once you see diversity as an add-on or a program, you fail. And that definitely is something that I’ve always tried to stay clear of them, making sure that I am seeing not just seen as this diversity and belonging or inclusive leader that I’m seen as a business leader,” said Mayo.

“Coming in as a business leader versus just as a diversity leader allowed me to have different connections with different leaders as well as it allowed me to really grow my career here at Tesla really quickly. I could be leveraged in many different ways,” says Mayo.

It was just after a year and a half at the company that Musk promoted her from senior HR director and head of diversity and inclusion to VP of the role where she reports directly and works closely with Musk and vice president Kevin Kassekert.

“Allowing Tesla employees, regardless of their demographic, to feel like they belonged to the staff, is the mission of the company, and the strategy of the future of the company is monument. And ultimately means allowing them to bring their whole selves to work every day and feeling like they belong in the workforce.”

Bringing Her ‘Whole Self’ to Work and Confronting Tesla’s Racism Allegations

As a person of color, in some tech spaces, feeling like you belong is a challenge, however, adding the automotive industry to the mix can make things more complex. That is why Mayo practices showing up to work as her authentic self to set the standard.

“I am who I am. I am Felicia. And that does not change when I walked through the door. So when you see me outside of Tesla, I am Felicia. It is refreshing to be able to work within a workforce and a company where belonging is about bringing my whole self to work.”

Despite reports that suggest a number of past black employees faced racism and discrimination at Tesla, Mayo says people within their workforce belong to the mission of contributing to the future of the world; and Tesla takes training its workforce from the top down seriously.

“I’ve even volunteered to dress in my performance wear and have worked in the factory as well as in our delivery locations just to be able to experience and see what is really occurring,” says Mayo who enforces a zero tolerance policy for discrimination.

“Diversity and inclusion is the need to sit down and have those conversations and we’ve had those conversations internally,” she adds.

In addition to being a champion for change, she is invested in creating a pipeline for young people into the tech automotive industry. The Tesla START program gives students at community colleges 12 weeks of technical automotive hands-on experience and the opportunity to be hired by the company.

“It is a way to have a pipeline of individuals regardless of background, regardless of what you know, or your trade. We want to make sure we offer up opportunities to all different types of pipelines to be able to come here to Tesla,” says Mayo.

Mayo’s Advice: Remain Open to New Possibilities

Beyond her daily responsibilities, Mayo believes wellness in the workplace is just as important as belonging and says it starts with self. In fact, meditation is what keeps her firmly rooted.

“I have to be balanced to make just and fair decisions every day. It’s really meditation; being grounded with my friends; staying grounded with my team here; my family most importantly; and being able to share some of the unfiltered fun times with them, and really going hard in those areas that keeps me on my game.”

Mayo’s advice for others to stay on top of their game is to remain open to new possibilities.

“Never be so firm on the plans that you have for yourself. I would’ve never said ‘I’m going to be an executive leader in Silicon Valley.’ I didn’t even know to dream that big. So I just went with where my journey was taking me and it was uncomfortable sometimes. So I also learned to be okay with being uncomfortable because typically if you’re uncomfortable that means that you’re moving in the right direction.”

 

The post Meet the Black Woman Promoted by Elon Musk to Lead Diversity at Tesla appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

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Are Black People Hindering Diversity and Inclusion Progress?

In January, BLACK ENTERPRISE posted an article that featured one of my Facebook posts “16 Things Black People Do to Annoy White People.” Social media tried to rip it apart. For the first time in my life, I pissed a lot of black people off.

Let’s rewind: I have spent my entire career giving black people a voice and fighting for diversity and inclusion.

Fast-forward to now: It was extremely disheartening that one of my first national forays on a black platform was negatively received, especially by black people. The article didn’t offer the context around my post, so out of context, the meaning was lost. I’m a rational person with 20-plus years in diversity and communications. So the first thing I did was go to social media to put context to the article to explain why I was compiling the information. To many — it made sense, but I soon realized many more did not care about the rationale behind the post.

The Post

In case you missed it, my original post asked white people what black people do that irritate them. I didn’t ask black people the same question because I have been black for 45 years. I have a pretty good grasp on what those things are, but I do realize black people are not all the same. I have held many forums and conversations with thousands of us to understand our different thoughts and feelings. Also, having worked in this field for as long as I have, I was pretty sure I knew the answers white people would have, but that is a part of the problem. We “think” we know how each race feels without actually speaking with them to gain understanding. After asking a few white people around the office, I posted it to see what kind of responses it would elicit.

Emotions got heated on Facebook, but it got ridiculous after BE posted it. Radio personality and actor D.L. Hughley retweeted without much comment, and from there it blew up. I was called a coon. My mother was called a coon. I was another black woman looking for a white savior. I was bringing down the entire black race by providing a platform for white people to be racist in telling us how they feel. The white people who did answer my post by sharing their thoughts were harassed, ridiculed, and disrespected.

I was hotter than fish grease. Nobody disrespects mom. Once I calmed down, I took some time to think. I was left with one burning question: Do people of color (mainly black people) bear some responsibility in hindering the progress of diversity and inclusion?

Before you get pissed off again hear me out. I know that unconscious bias plays a huge part in people of color not getting hired for jobs or earning promotions. As a diversity expert, I know systemic racism is a part of many companies and that inclusive cultures don’t truly exist. This means many of us still don’t have a voice to share ideas, to provide meaningful collaboration, or to act in opposition to how we feel.

How are Blacks Hindering Progress?

By now you’re saying, if you know all that, how is it that we are hindering progress? Regardless of how we feel, it will never be all about us. If we don’t figure out how to meet people where they are, we will continue to stifle our inclusive growth. This growth can transfer into a skill set that would enable you to have a stronger voice at work, with family and in valued relationships. It is imperative to know what others are thinking. Not because you need to validate their feelings, but because learning how each other thinks can bring about strategic change or at the very least, let you know where you stand in someone else’s mind.

If we are to move the needle toward inclusion, we cannot let the stereotypical, angry responses define us. If we do, then who are we? And how do we have open conversations with others, if we allow our emotions to overtake our good sense and humanity? A simple mental paradigm shift can make the difference in acquiring a new skill, but this won’t happen overnight. So I invite you to take this journey with me as we talk through the difficult conversations. Follow me at #RishaTalks to stay tuned and add to the conversation.


Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.

The post Are Black People Hindering Diversity and Inclusion Progress? appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

EMPLOYMENT UPDATE:

Gucci Launches Initiatives to Foster Cultural Diversity and Awareness

MILAN – Gucci is making good on its promise – and acting quickly.
The Italian luxury company revealed Friday the first four long-term initiatives to achieve cultural diversity and awareness throughout its organization and activities globally, following accusations last week that a Gucci balaclava-style sweater evoked blackface. 
The first four initiatives are:
-Hiring global and regional directors for diversity and inclusion;
-Setting up a multicultural design scholarship program;
-Launching a diversity and inclusivity awareness program;
-Launching a global exchange program.
Gucci is pledging to hire diverse talent within key functions and leadership positions of the group, including the design office, and will invest in educating all of its 18,000 employees around the world “to achieve a much higher level of global cultural awareness.”
President and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri said Gucci accepted “full accountability for this incident, which has clearly exposed shortfalls in our ongoing strategic approach to embedding diversity and inclusion in both our organization and in our activities.”
In an interview with WWD earlier this week, Bizzarri pointed to “ignorance of this matter. Certainly, it was not intentional but this is not an excuse.”
A “thorough review of the circumstances that led to this” followed, said Bizzarri on Friday, explaining that he had “also engaged with

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Fortune 500 Company Corporate Board Diversity at All-Time High

A new report from the Alliance for Board Diversity (ABD) and Deloitte, reveals that women and people of color represent 34% of all corporate board seats in Fortune 500 companies—placing board diversity at an all-time high.

Here are some key findings from the study:

-Black woman gained 32 board seats in 2018, an increase of 26.2% from 2016.

-Black men gained 26 board seats in 2018, an increase of 8.5% from 2016.

-Black and Asian women achieved the largest increase in board seats; black women at a 44.8% increase, and Asian women at a 30.8% increase.

-Companies are increasingly re-appointing minority board members to their boards rather than seeking out new directors.

“The increase in boardroom diversity over the last two years is encouraging, but we must not overlook that Caucasian/White men still hold 66% of all Fortune 500 board seats and 91.1% of chairmanships on these boards,” said Linda Akutagawa, chair for the Alliance for Board Diversity and president and CEO, LEAP (Leadership for Asian Pacifics).

“While progress has been achieved, there is still much more work to do,” said Deb DeHaas, vice chairman and national managing partner, Deloitte Center for Board Effectiveness.

‘Wokeness’ in the Boardroom 

Corporate America has been responsive to the wave of activism, particularly across social media, in regards to racism, sexism, economic inequality, and various other societal ills. Last year, Nike interjected itself into the heated debate over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem pre-game, to protest police brutality. The athletic apparel company made the symbol of the kneeling movement, Colin Kaepernick, a star in one of its ad campaigns.

The risk of offending customers who disagree with protesting on the field seemed to be worth taking. Nike’s sales increased 31% after the Kaepernick ad backlash.

Recently, Gillette, a Procter & Gamble brand, released an ad in line with the #MeToo movement, urging men to take responsibility for sexist behavior of other men. The ad is inciting both praise and outrage.

It’s not yet known how the controversial ad will affect P&G’s bottom line; the company is set to release its Q2 earnings next week (but so far, Wall Street speculation is favorable).

Burger King is the latest company to wade into political waters after posting a tweet poking fun at a misspelled tweet of Donald Trump’s.


CNN coined this ad trend “woke advertising.” This “wokeness” has presumably made it into the corporate boardrooms as the growing diversity board diversity numbers seem to evidence.

Despite Spate of Black Executive Board Appointments, Challenges Persist

A number of high-profile black executives have been appointed to the boards of some of the world’s largest companies. Last November, Nike announced the appointment of John W. Rogers, the CEO and founder of Ariel Investments L.L.C. to its board. Retired AMEX CEO Ken Chenault sits on the boards of Facebook and Airbnb. Edith Cooper, the executive vice president and global head of human capital at Goldman Sachs was added to Silicon Valley company Slack’s board. View a full listing of black board members on BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 2018 Registry of Corporate Directors.

As progress is made, challenges remain. One issue is that most board appointments come from the C-suite level and from the pool of corporate CEOs, in particular. The number of black CEOS at the corporate level has shrunk in recent years. Chenault actually discussed this issue with BE in a recent interview.

“We have a long way to go,” said Chenault. “As I’ve said publicly, I think it’s embarrassing that the number of African American CEOs has actually been reduced from eight years ago. That’s a serious problem. From an African American perspective, we are underrepresented. We can talk all the theories we want. People talk about the complexity of this issue. I know that there are very qualified people. They just haven’t gotten the opportunity.”

While it’s important to celebrate the achievement made in diversifying American corporate boards, there is still the need to build up the pipeline of qualified black executives that can ascend to the C-suite.

The post Fortune 500 Company Corporate Board Diversity at All-Time High appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

EMPLOYMENT UPDATE:

50 Best Companies For Diversity

If you want to find companies that back up their diversity talk, look no further than the 2018 Black Enterprise 50 Best Companies for Diversity list—filled with corporations that have created measurable pathways to ensure African American representation among their workforce, senior management team, board of directors, and pool of suppliers.

Black Enterprise and the Executive Leadership Council have created this roster at a time when a number of corporate chiefs have focused on initiatives to boost the competitive metabolism of their organizations. In fact, more than 400 such leaders have signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge. CEOs of 37 companies on our roster—JPMorgan Chase & Co., ADP, Bank of America, PepsiCo, General Motors, Macy’s, and Xerox Corp. among them—are signatories.

Although a number of D&I proponents applaud efforts to bring women, LGBT communities, and other underrepresented groups under the corporate tent, others like ELC’s CEO Otha “Skip” Spriggs III maintain that African Americans are actually losing ground—especially in the C-suite.

The most noticeable indicator has been the absence of black CEOs operating the nation’s largest publicly traded corporations. Today, there are only three black Fortune 500 CEOs versus seven in 2012. Actually, the trio—Marvin R. Ellison, chairman & CEO of Lowe’s Cos. Inc.; Roger W. Ferguson Jr., president & CEO of TIAA; and Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman & CEO of Merck & Co. Inc.—all manage companies on our Best Companies for Diversity list.

Here’s just one example of why that matters: Lowe’s, a list newcomer, tapped Ellison as its new chief executive in July. In recent months, he’s recruited another African American to its executive management ranks, and now three African Americans sit on its board of directors. And the dedication to building a leadership pipeline is evident: The company sent 22 of its brightest African American talent to ELC leadership training.

The bottom line: Opportunities for African Americans and other ethnic minorities tend to coincide with diverse leadership.

[a-team-showcase id=”628121″]

HOW WE CHOSE THE 50 BEST COMPANIES FOR DIVERSITY

Black Enterprise’s editorial research team, in partnership with the Executive Leadership Council, sent surveys to the nation’s top 1,000 publicly traded companies to get an in-depth look at the ethnic and gender composition, as well as their programs designed to foster an inclusive working environment.

The annual survey is centered around efforts focused on African Americans but includes other ethnic minority groups as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Any information provided by companies on diversity efforts targeted toward women, LGBT, the disabled, and veterans was used as secondary, supporting data.

BE performed a quantitative and editorial assessment of all corporate respondents and measured each company’s diversity efforts using the following criteria:

  1. BE measured companies on four key categories: employee base, senior management, board of directors, and procurement. Senior management and board of directors’ categories were given a higher weighting based on company impact across the board. Procurement was also a major factor while employee base was given a lower weighting.
  2. We reviewed the status of companies across all BE diversity and corporate leadership lists, including The Top Companies for Supplier Diversity, The 300 Most Powerful Executives, Top Executives in Corporate Diversity, as well as companies who have chief diversity officers and/or designated diversity departments.
  3. We also considered those companies in which the CEO takes an active role in diversity practices.

The post 50 Best Companies For Diversity appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

EMPLOYMENT UPDATE:

On the Move: KPMG’s New Diversity Chief, Michele Meyer-Shipp

In August, Michele Meyer-Shipp was named Chief Diversity Officer at KPMG.

KPMG is one of the world’s largest auditing companies along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Amsterdam-based company employs 189,000 people and provides professional services in the areas of financial audit, taxes, and advisory.

According to a press release, Meyer-Shipp is an executive and attorney with “significant experience in inclusion strategy and employment law.” She joins KPMG as a partner.

More information on her appointment is included in the press release:

“[Meyer-Shipp] will lead the national Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) team and oversee its strategy and objectives, including growing diverse leaders and collaboration; inspiring broad perspectives and innovative client solutions; and fostering an inclusive, accessible, and vibrant workplace. She will work closely with KPMG’s leadership teams to advance its inclusive and diverse culture, which has earned the firm recognition as a top workplace by FORTUNE magazine, DiversityInc, Working Mother, and The Human Rights Campaign.”

Prior to joining KMPG, she was the chief diversity and inclusion officer at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. She also served as vice president and counsel and then chief diversity officer at Prudential Financial.

Meyer-Shipp holds a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree from Seton Hall University School of Law and a Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. She sits on several professional boards and organizations including Twitter’s Inclusion Advisory Council, Working Mother Media’s Multicultural Women’s Advisory Board, the National Organization on Disability Board, and the Center for Talent Innovation Diversity and Inclusion Council.

“Companies with inclusive and diverse cultures are better positioned to adapt, grow, and thrive – and we take great pride in embedding these values into our programs and actions,” said Darren Burton, KPMG’s Vice Chair of Human Resources via a press release. “Our national diversity networks engage nearly half of our 30,000 people in professional development, mentoring relationships, and community service activities. Michele’s skills and experience will help us continue to enhance our efforts to recruit, develop, and retain diverse talent.”

 

 

 

The post On the Move: KPMG’s New Diversity Chief, Michele Meyer-Shipp appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Career | Black Enterprise

EMPLOYMENT UPDATE:

Rebecca Minkoff and Gary Wassner Talk Sustainability, Diversity, Pop-ups

Designer Rebecca Minkoff and Hillldun Corp. chief executive officer Gary Wassner covered a number of issues weighing on the fashion industry Thursday morning at the 20th New York Fashion and Design Conference. The pair helped kick off the two-day event at the Museum of the City of New York. Here are a few highlights from their discussion.
The Potential of Plus-size
Rebecca Minkoff: We’re seeing a groundswell of an underserved market, especially across sizing. We had larger sizes a few years ago. No one was buying them so we stopped making them. Then someone asked, “Why aren’t you making larger sizes?” So we started making them again. Big brands are taking incredible strides forward like Nordstrom. They won’t buy an apparel brand unless they go up to a size 20. Other companies like Universal Standard are making really incredible, high-quality stylish clothing for plus-size women. It’s just going to become normal. It will just be a size.
Selling in Stores and Online
Gary Wassner: Statistically, 87 percent of all sales are still done at retail…without print advertising and brands having to reach the consumer directly, which is a plus and a minus because of dollars and cents, we have to look to all the

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Retailer trends on Twitter for showing off size diversity

Here’s a step in the right direction for body positivity. An online retailer is trending on Twitter Wednesday for showing models of different sizes in its latest campaign. British e-tailer Pretty Little Thing, in their recently released line with model Hailey Baldwin, showed size variety in photos of the brand’s sparkly dresses and party outfits…
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Gender swap, diversity and wit rekindle ‘Doctor Who’

She’s here, she’s finally here! After 55 years, the quintessentially British Doctor of the BBC’s “Doctor Who” has finally regenerated into a female form. And the effect is, honestly, almost besides the point, so natural is actress Jodie Whittaker (“Broadchurch”) in the role of the time-traveling, two-hearted, mischievous alien who saves the world (well, a…
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New California Law Forces Board Diversity, But Is It Right?

In a push to further corporate board diversity, California has enacted new legislation requiring publicly-traded firms in the state to have at least one woman on the board of directors.

Companies have until the end of 2019 to comply or face penalties. The more directors on the board, the more women the companies are required to add. For example, if a business has five directors, the law says it must add two women by 2021—six or more directors, then three women must be added to the board.

According to CNN, it’s the first law of such kind in the United States, but similar legislation exists in Europe.

There has been a recent focus on not just diversifying companies at the executive level, but also in the boardroom.

Keeping Tabs on Board Diversity for Over Half a Decade 

A recent 2017 Deloitte survey revealed “90% of directors indicate that they want greater diversity, approximately half of the surveyed corporations ‘lack a clear process for recruiting candidates with diverse skill sets or new perspectives.’ And despite the fact that more than 90% of the respondents cite that greater board diversity would improve innovation, disruption, and overall business performance, only 16% view lack of diversity among the top challenges in enlisting new board members or succession planning,” writes Black Enterprise SVP/editor-in-chief Derek T. Dingle.

Over the past six years, Black Enterprise has identified African Americans who serve on the boards of America’s largest publicly-traded corporations. As part of our examination, we have, for the second time, reviewed the entire universe of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies to gain a more thorough assessment of boardroom diversity. As such, we have witnessed an expansion in the membership of African American board members who comprise our exclusive Black Enterprise Registry of Corporate Directors.

The latest issue of Black Enterprise magazine profiles two black women corporate directors; Lisa Wardell, is the only black woman to serve as CEO in a Fortune 1000 company, Adtalem Global Education, formerly The DeVry Education Group. She sits on that company’s board and was just appointed to Lowe’s board.

Tracy Travis, chief financial officer of The Estée Lauder Cos., sits on the board of Accenture and previously for Campbell Soup and Jo-Ann Stores.

Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

Lisa Wardell, left, an Tracey Travis on the July-August cover of Black Enterprise Magazine

“I had just assumed a corporate CFO role, and I had been working with a headhunting firm to staff my team, and so the headhunter at the time said, “Have you ever thought about being on a board?” Some months went by and I used that opportunity and took some courses from the National Association of Corporate Directors to certify myself in some of the areas of board [service], like compensation committee, strategy, etc.,” Travis said in the article.

While many corporate directors subscribe to the idea of more diverse boards, not everyone agrees mandating companies is the way to go.

Is It Diversity Only for White Women?

The California Chamber of Commerce opposes the law citing it violates “the independent voting rights of corporate boards and force companies to discriminate against qualified men,” The Tribune reports.

Trump-appointed SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce also criticized the law. “Opening such a wide door introduces uncertainty and political influence into corporate operations,” she said at a conference.

And does this law in any way help get more black and brown people onto corporate boards? One of the California Chamber of Commerce’s concerns about this legislation is it prioritizes gender over other aspects of diversity, reports CNBC. Some may feel this will only put more white women on boards.

While there remains a lack of representation of women on boards, the number of black men and women corporate directors are even smaller.

Women’s presence on boards have been increasing albeit progress has been slow and incremental. Women make up about 22% of Fortune 500 boards.

People of color on boards are scarcer. In 2017, African-Americans accounted for 10.9% of new corporate directors.

Part of the problem with getting more people of color on boards is companies often want to appoint those at the c-suite level—preferably CEOs–to boards.

In the last few years, the number of black CEOs of publicly-traded companies has dwindled with several high profile business leaders stepping down from their positions, including Xerox’s Ursula Burns and former AMEX CEO Ken Chenault.

Joseph Grundfest, co-director of the Rock Center on Corporate Governance at Stanford University and a member of Directors & Boards editorial advisory board says the legislation is ‘“well intentioned,” but maintains it “will not achieve its intended effect.” It will, he adds, only lead to a trivial gain of board seats for women, “but increase the risk of judicial rulings inimical to broader affirmative action initiatives.”

 

 

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