VIDEO: 2014 DiversityInc Special Awards

The 2014 DiversityInc Special Awards were handed out at a dinner ceremony on October 21, 2014 at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. CEOs from all seven recipient companies were on hand to accept their awards and share some insight into what their company does that sets them apart.


Top Company for Global Diversity: Accenture

Accepting Award: Stephen J. Rohleder, Group Chief Executive North America

Reasons for Honor:

Accenture is a truly global company, with 85 percent of its workforce outside of the United States. The firm pioneered the virtual workplace and has also been a pioneer in creating inclusive workplaces worldwide.

Under the leadership of Nellie Borrero, Managing Director for Global Inclusion & Diversity, the company has promoted a discrimination- and harassment-free environment globally.

Accenture has developed strong programs for its employees and their families to help them succeed in different cultures and countries while on international assignments. The company has excellent global employee resource groups, including women’s groups in 30 countries, LGBT groups in 24 countries and disability groups in eight countries.

Accenture also has formal cross-cultural mentoring and sponsorship globally and is one of the few companies that has supplier-diversity initiatives, including for women- and LGBT-owned vendors, in countries around the world.

Top Company for Supplier Diversity: Wyndham Worldwide

Accepting Award: Stephen Holmes, Chairman and CEO

Reasons for Honor:

Wyndham Worldwide is truly an exceptional company when it comes to supplier diversity. The company spends close to 15 percent and slightly more than 10 percent of its total procurement with Tier I and Tier II diverse suppliers, respectively.

Wyndham Worldwide includes diverse suppliers when possible in each request for proposal and bid notice. The company mentors existing and potential suppliers, and seeks to build partnerships with each supplier.

Wyndham Worldwide doesn’t only focus on supplier diversity domestically, but globally as well.The company partners with organizations such as Minority Supplier Development UK and Minority Supplier Development China to help it connect with diverse suppliers. Wyndham also works with WEConnect International, which seeks to empower women business owners to succeed in local and global markets.

Top Company for Mentoring: Sodexo

Accepting Award: George Chavel, President and CEO

Reasons for Honor:

Sodexo is the only company to have been in the top two of the DiversityInc Top 50 for five years in a row. That’s because of the efforts of many people, but especially George Chavel, President and CEO, and Dr. Rohini Anand, Senior Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer.

At the forefront of Sodexo’s diversity-management efforts has been its remarkable mentoring program, which we’ve used as a model for companies wanting to know what’s best in class.

As part of their compensation-based performance reviews, senior executives are required to be mentors. More than 60 percent of mentoring pairs are cross-cultural. All mentors receive cultural-awareness training, including for LGBT, disability and veterans issues.

Sodexo’s metrics in assessing its mentoring are the most effective we’ve ever seen. They are a critical part in assessing success and constantly innovating the process to improve talent development.

Top Company for Diversity Councils: EY

Accepting Award: Stephen Howe Jr., Americas Managing Partner and U.S. Firm Managing Partner

Reasons for Honor:

Leaders leading by example can make all the difference when it comes to demonstrating diversity commitment. The EY diversity council meets quarterly, sets corporate diversity-and-inclusion goals, and links those goals to compensation. Council members, all of whom are partners, represent different areas of expertise and demographics. They all serve as mentors, and they have two-year rotations that can be extended if they are making a significant impact.

The council is co-chaired by Steve Howe, Americas Managing Partner and U.S. Firm Managing Partner, and Karyn Twaronite, Partner and Americas Inclusiveness Officer.

Demonstrating his commitment to the importance of diversity and inclusion at EY, it is no surprise that Steve Howe has said, “My job is to run the business. This is fundamental to our business.”

Top Company for Diversity Management Progress: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Accepting Award: Christi Shaw, President

Reasons for Honor:

How does a company go from being No. 21 on the DiversityInc Top 50 to No. 13 the next year to No. 6 and then to No. 1

Two things: deeply committed leadership and hard work.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is a case study of diversity-management progress. The company developed a disciplined, two-year plan focusing on human-capital results. The executive-leadership team’s annual performance-management goals include a 20 percent weighting toward objectives that have specific diversity initiatives.

The diversity leadership of President Christi Shaw and Chief Diversity Officer Rhonda Crichlow is apparent in everything this company does. Today, women represent more than 50 percent of senior-level management, including scientific positions, and all of the demographics are improving significantly.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation uses diversity to understand the marketplace and connect with drug patients. The company has 15 employee resource groups, including groups for working parents, caretakers and a group called Cancer Hope. More than 40 percent of employees are members of these groups.

Top Company for Inclusive Culture: MasterCard

Accepting Award: Ajay Banga, President and CEO

Reasons for Honor:

MasterCard has taken specific action to create an inclusive culture, starting at the top of the organization.

President and CEO Ajay Banga meets quarterly with employee resource groups and chairs the executive diversity council. Senior leadership communicates constantly about diversity-and-inclusion’s value to business goals. The D&I effort is led by Chief Diversity Officer Donna Johnson, who is a passionate advocate.

This communication is tied to action: MasterCard’s eight employee resource groups are heavily involved in on-boarding, engagement, talent development, mentoring and diversity training.

The culture is also geared toward work-life integration and support of the community. The Volunteer Incentive Program provides grants to organizations where employees volunteer their time.

Top Company for Employee Resource Groups: Merck & Co.

Accepting award: Willie Deese, Executive Vice President and President, Merck Manufacturing Division

Reasons for Honor:

Merck has nine Employee Business Resource Groups with 60 chapters, including groups based on veteran status and religion. Each group has its own business plan, tied to corporate business.

Merck places priorities on talent and inclusion, reputation, corporate social responsibility and business insights, which impacts product launches on the current product portfolio.

Chairman and CEO Kenneth Frazier meets regularly with resource groups, including small-group meetings. Most top-level executives are sponsors of resource groups.

Resource groups are available to all U.S. employees and many globally, and engagement, retention, promotions and contributions of the groups are assessed.

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