Travelers' Joelle Murchison Teaches Value of Diversity

Before joining the team at Travelers, Joelle Hayes' career was based in developing affirmative-action and diversity programs for young talent. Read how she applies her experiences to her role as the company's second vice president of diversity.

Joelle Murchison, second vice president, diversity, at Travelers, had at one point aspired to become U.S. secretary of education. A public-policy and educational-studies major at Brown University, Murchison wrote her thesis on the impact desegregation had on the education system.


"How I ended up in the diversity space [is] not that much of a departure," says the senior diversity executive. "My entire career has been focused on being a voice and advocating for individuals who may not have a voice themselves."

In 1996, Murchison got her start at Wesleyan University as director of multicultural programs. "At that time, the campus did not have an affirmative-action program … so I had the opportunity to actually craft the diversity strategy," she says. Murchison then moved to INROADS, helping to develop and place talented students from underrepresented groups in jobs, where she built a tremendous network of recruiting colleagues. Since starting at Travelers nearly three years ago, Murchison continues to draw on those relationships for best practices and "to build a pipeline of diverse talent."

As part of Travelers' educational-access initiative, for instance, Murchison serves as an executive mentor to a student in Capital Community College. Internally, Murchison has also piloted a diversity educational program, which will be rolled out to all 33,000 employees over three years "to help them explore their own attitudes toward difference, engage with everyone and experience and learn to become diversity change agents."

Murchison was given Brown University's Young Alumni Service Award for being a positive role model to students.

To see this article as it originally appeared in the January/February 2010 issue of DiversityInc magazine, click here.

Accenture Names First Woman As US Group Chief Executive

Accenture named Julie Spellman Sweet to head its U.S. operations. As of next month, four of the six major consulting firms will have women leaders.

Accenture's announcement that Julie Spellman Sweet has been promoted to Group Chief Executive-North America means that as of next month, four of the six major consulting firms will have women leaders (Deloitte, IBM and KPMG are the others).

Read More Show Less
Thompson

McDonald's CEO to Retire; Black Fortune 500 CEOs Decline by 33% in Past Year

DiversityInc Top 50 companies remain ahead of the Fortune 500 when it comes to having members of underrepresented groups as CEOs.

Read More Show Less

Wells Fargo Names Michelle Lee Top East Coast Community Banking Exec

Michelle Lee, who had been the company's Northeast community banking chief, is a prime example of successful talent development at Wells Fargo.

Michelle Lee didn't plan on being a banker. Now, she's about to become one of the most influential bankers in the country.

Read More Show Less

VIDEO: A Conversation With Warner Baxter, CEO, Ameren

How did Ameren, the utility company that services Ferguson, Missouri, help residents cope with the turbulence around them? Ameren's CEO Warner L. Baxter talked with DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti about community support and the value of diversity and inclusion to Ameren's future at DiversityInc's October event.

Read More Show Less

VIDEO: How to Get Buy-In From Middle Managers

What's the biggest diversity question in corporate America? How do you get buy-in from middle managers, most of whom are white men? Three experts—Ken Barrett of General Motors, Kim Hauer of Caterpillar and Lissiah Hundley of Cox Communications—shared their best practices at a panel at DiversityInc's October event.

Read More Show Less

VIDEO: How to Build Advocacy for D&I

Toyota Financial Services President and CEO Mike Groff demonstrated how top leadership drives diversity initiatives as he inspired an audience of corporate leaders at DiversityInc's October event.

Read More Show Less