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Obama Nominates Charlotte Mayor as Transportation Secretary

The President tries to counter criticism that his Cabinet is not diverse enough.

By Dara Sharif

Anthony Foxx, Charlotte MayorPresident Obama made a diversity pick of his own when he nominated the Mayor of Charlotte to be the nation’s next Secretary of Transportation.

Mayor Anthony Foxx is the first Black person the President has selected to join his Cabinet in his second term. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Foxx will replace outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Obama has faced criticism for the relative lack of women, Blacks, Latinos and Asians among his closest advisers during his last term in office. Attorney General Eric Holder is the only other Black member of Obama’s Cabinet.

Despite the nation’s decision to reelect its first Black president, Politico notes that Black lawmakers overall have fared relatively poorly when it comes to winning offices requiring statewide support. Only two Blacks serve in the U.S. Senate (Tim Scott of South Carolina and Mo Cowan of Massachusetts), and both of them were appointed. The country has only one Black Governor, Massachusetts’s Deval Patrick, who leaves office after this year.

How Well Does Your Workplace Recruit, Retain and Develop Black Talent?

DiversityInc data show that companies that are open and inclusive to all racial, ethnic and gender groups in general, including those in the DiversityInc Top 50, are good for Blacks as well. Several best practices can specifically help companies looking to attract, retain and promote Black employees. These include:

      • Tying diversity-and-inclusion goals into executive-compensation bonus programs.

• Maintaining a balance between external and internal recruitment.

• Providing formalized mentoring, sponsorship and networking opportunities, and factoring the success of the junior person into the overall performance evaluation of the senior person.

• Using resource groups to recruit talent, and exposing resource-group leaders to senior leadership.

• Enhancing retention rates by providing employees with challenging and important assignments.

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