Should a chief diversity officer come from a traditional HR background or is the increasing trend of using line officers with real P&L experience paying off? Should these be permanent or revolving positions? What about other backgrounds–legal, foundation, etc.? Do they help or hinder diversity success?
A panel moderated by DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti, explored the backgrounds and benefits of five chief diversity officers and was preceded by a talk from new PricewaterhouseCoopers Chief Diversity Officer Maria Castañón Moats. PricewaterhouseCoopers is No. 3 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. “It’s a unique opportunity to get in front of our 2,400 partners,” says Moats of her new position” to talk about diversity as a critical business issue, respective to the line of service, geography and industry you are in.”
Moats spoke of how the professional-services firm works to marry the role of CDO with that of revenue-generator. Moats recently took over from Niloufar Molavi. The position at PwC is a rotational role, where the firm’s line partners serve for two to three years at a time.
“I am not an expert,” she says, admitting that the rotational model only works because “I have a terrific team supporting me.” She acknowledges that her team’s knowledge of diversity and its insight into the continuity of business relationships is critical to her success. Read the full-length, 1,039-word What Background Is Best for Chief Diversity Officers? article at DiversityIncBestPractices.com to watch the exclusive videos of her presentation.
Putting Diversity in P&L Terms
“Diversity is hard to measure but having a hard-ended discussion with our leadership is something I have done and am not afraid to do,” says Shaun Hawkins, chief diversity officer at Eli Lilly (No. 39). Hawkins has an investment background and attributes those P&L roots to his success as chief diversity officer. “We really rely on employee engagement, so diversity and inclusion have to be there. We have to be able to translate what we are doing here to some sort of business in an appropriate way.
Hawkins discussed these issues along with three other diversity leaders—Linda Jimenez, chief diversity officer and vice president, diversity and inclusion, WellPoint (No. 36), who is an attorney; Steve Bucherati, chief diversity officer at The Coca-Cola Company (No. 12), who was previously with the Coca-Cola Foundation; and Andrea Snorton, manager of diversity and inclusion at Southern Company (one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies and Top Company for Diversity-Management Progress), who has an HR background. Read the full-length, 1,039-word What Background Is Best for Chief Diversity Officers? article at DiversityIncBestPractices.com for more insights and the exclusive video of this interactive panel.
Making Friends with Legal
Jimenez says that her background as a lawyer has helped her in finding solutions and ultimately becoming a mediator for employees and managers’ qualms with diversity issues and goals. “It’s one of the things we like to do as a CDO. It’s about having everyone walk away with a win-win situation,” she says.
Understanding the Community
Chief Diversity Officers with experience in corporate community outreach know the value of these good relationships within and outside the company. Bucherati used to run the Coca-Cola Foundation, which enabled him to see the value in “connecting the dots” and working as a team, especially since CDO’s don’t manage every aspect of the business.
Linking Back to HR
This is not to discredit those in traditional HR careers, as Andrea Snorton attests that her “background in HR has definitely been an asset, in terms of what our succession slates look like, determining which organizations we’re going to recruit from.” Knowledge of HR gave her the understanding of what the challenges were, allowing her to leverage her relationships and credibility within the organization.
Read the full-length, 1,039-word What Background Is Best for Chief Diversity Officers? article at DiversityIncBestPractices.com for more insight and the exclusive videos of these sessions.
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