EY Hosts Facebook Live Veterans Day Celebration

DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti moderated a panel of prominent veterans discussing how their military experience enhances their current careers and views on diversity and inclusion.

(Left to right) Luke Visconti, Koma Gandy Fischbein, Stephen Maire, Christine Lantinen and Kevin Jacobsen. / DIVERSITYINC

Each year on Veterans Day EY (No. 1 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) honors those who served in our Armed Forces and the many people who stand behind them at home.

EY hosted a special Facebook Live Veterans Day celebration at Tribeca Grill in New York City on Friday featuring a panel discussion moderated by DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti, a U.S. Navy veteran.

The panel of veterans included Koma Gandy Fischbein, executive director, Morgan Stanley (U.S. Navy), Kevin Jacobsen, executive director and cybersecurity professional, EY (U.S. Air Force), Christine Lantinen, president/owner, Maud Borup Inc. and selected as one of the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women (U.S. Army) and Stephen Maire, global head of investor relations and communications, Moody's Corporation (U.S. Army).

Beyond military service, veterans build a better working world every day — as entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and champions of diversity and inclusiveness.

The panelists shared their stories on how they've made an impact within the business community as innovators, team leaders and problem solvers.

Maire said his career trajectory has been very non traditional, with varied experiences, but his ability to be flexible in important positions was enhanced by his military experience.

He said the "military has direct transferability because every [three or so] years, you're moving into a completely new job in many respects, and you have to figure out how to be successful."

Maire continued, "Much of that depends on getting the engagement, the buy-in of the team members you have around you … those skills that I gained in the military continue to apply today."

He added, "I've definitely had sponsors along the way. I think everyone needs sponsors in order to really progress in a meaningful way in their career."

Lantinen said her military experience influenced her perspective on team building. The Army veteran owns a manufacturing company and said she began looking at "line leaders as squad leaders" and began to realize it's "important to empower them to make decisions. Building those teams is key to getting the job done."

The panelists also discussed what the military taught them about diversity and inclusion.

"I was speaking about diversity at an event in St. Louis," Visconti began, "and a man came out of the crowd and talked about trust. He had a Vietnam veteran lapel pin on. And he said to me, 'Do you know why you trust Black people?'

"I looked at him and said, 'I never really thought about it.' And he said, 'Who fixed your helicopters?' And my mind immediately flashed to the senior chief who was responsible for night maintenance."

Visconti said at the time he was one of two functional check pilots and relied on the insight of the senior chief, who was Black, regarding the helicopters he would fly for the first time since it had major maintenance.

"I never for a second doubted his work," he said. "He was such a total professional. That taught me to trust. I looked at him and I trusted him implicitly."

Visconti said that experience in the military allowed him to "function in a bigger world trusting people that had shared values."

Jacobsen said that based on his experience, if a person were to "deploy only once to a conflict area, you'd get what inclusiveness means, and you'd get what the importance of diversity is."

He continued, "People come from all backgrounds. As a former combat commander, what I look for is where do I get different context? Where do I get different understanding? Where do I get different perspectives? On, not the tactics of what we're going to do, but the overall objective. Are we really meeting the strategy, employing the types of people we need to get to the right objective?"

Fischbein added, "It really has to come down to knowing your people."

She said it's important to create "an environment where your people feel like everyone is a valued contributor and everyone's opinion is one that should be heard."

During lunch, EY, in partnership with Thirteen WNET New York, screened clips from the PBS documentary series, "The Vietnam War," produced and directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, and "American Medevac," produced and directed by WNET, and former CBS correspondent Morton Dean. Neil Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET, also interviewed Dean about his experience covering the war.

Watch the panel discussion:

Middle-market Companies Seizing Growth by Embracing AI, Diverse Talent Pools and Sweeping Regulation Over Next 12 Months

EY survey shows 87% of middle-market companies plan revenue growth of more than 6% this year, significantly outpacing GDP forecasts

Originally Published by EY.

Middle-market companies across the globe are significantly more optimistic about business conditions and opportunities than last year, according to the findings of the annual EY Growth Barometer released at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Forum. Growth prospects for all major economies are finally improving in 2018, with International Monetary Fund GDP forecasts currently at 3.9% for the year. Amid this positive background, business leaders are bullish about revenue growth.

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Video: Diversity is 'Un-American,' a 'Bunch of Crap,' Says Republican Congressional Candidate

Seth Grossman once said, "I do know of many Africans who wish their ancestors had been taken to America as slaves, and who are now risking their lives on flimsy boats every day to come to America."

In a room of among many of his peers — white, male conservatives — Seth Grossman pleaded his case that diversity threatens the "traditional ways that made America great" and is a "bunch of crap" supported by Democrats and communists.

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Regulatory Complexity is the Greatest Barrier to Widespread Blockchain Adoption, While Regulatory Changes are the Primary Driver of Broader Integration, According to EY Poll

Organizations are making an active effort to integrate blockchain into their business functions as they look to reap the benefits of the technology, with 60% expecting the financial/professional services industry to see the most blockchain breakthroughs in the next two years.

Originally Published by EY.

Regulatory complexity is having a significant impact on widespread blockchain adoption, according to an EY poll of senior professionals who attended the EY Global Blockchain Summit in New York. Sixty one percent see regulatory complexity as the biggest barrier to widespread adoption, followed by integration with legacy technology (51%) and a lack of general understanding of blockchain's capabilities (49%).

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Howard Schultz Steps Down as Chairman of Starbucks

From the #RaceMatters campaign in 2015 to optional racial-sensitivity training last week, Starbucks is failing in diversity and inclusion.


Howard Schultz is stepping down as executive chairman of Starbucks, the company announced in a press release Monday.

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Originally Published by National Organization on Disability.

On November 1st, the National Organization on Disability held our Corporate Leadership Council Fall Luncheon and Roundtable. Hosted at Sony's New York offices, the event centered on the topic of mental health in the workplace.

Members of our Board of Directors and executives from nearly 40 companies held a candid conversation, heard from business leaders, and participated in an insightful Q&A where successful strategies were discussed to accommodate and support employees with mental illness in the workplace.

"Mental illness is the single biggest cause of disability worldwide," said Craig Kramer, a panelist at the event and Chair of Johnson & Johnson's Global Campaign on Mental Health. "One out of four people will have a clinically diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives," he continued. Another 20 to 25% of the population will be caregivers to loved ones with a mental illness.

The costs are staggering. "In the coming decades, mental illness will account for more than half of the economic burden of all chronic diseases, more than cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases combined…. It's trillions of dollars," said Kramer.

From an employer's perspective, the need for a successful strategy to deal with mental illness in the workplace is clear. But what are the most effective ways to confront this challenge? Roundtable participants discussed a wide range of ideas and success stories aimed at de-stigmatizing mental health and incorporating the issue into wider conversations around talent, productivity, and inclusion.


  1. Be empathetic. "The most important workplace practice [with respect to mental health] is empathy," said NOD President Carol Glazer. Empathy is critical for normalizing conversations about mental health, but also for maximizing productivity. "A feeling of psychological safety is important," said Lori Golden, a panelist and Abilities Strategy Leader for Ernst & Young; and this sense of safety requires the empathy of colleagues to flourish.
  2. Tell stories. "Nothing is more activating of empathy than for people to share their powerful stories," said Dr. Ronald Copeland, NOD Board member and Senior Vice President of National Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Policy and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Kaiser Permanente. Copeland's organization partners with the renowned nonprofit, Story Corps, to capture the stories of Kaiser Permanente employees, and also provides a platform on the company intranet for employees to communicate in a safe space. Both Craig Kramer and Lori Golden also shared examples of how their companies provide opportunities to share their stories and "start the conversation, break the silence," as Kramer put it.
  3. Model from the top. Carol Glazer received a standing ovation at the luncheon for her account of her own experiences with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This type of executive-level modeling sends a powerful message that a company is committed to improving mental health for all employees. Lori Golden shared how EY had experienced great success with a program where top-level managers host office-specific events and share stories of mental illness or addiction that they are personally connected to – either about their colleagues or loved ones or, in a surprisingly high number of instances, about themselves. Senior leadership setting the example conveys that this is a forum in which employees can feel comfortable sharing.
  4. Communicate peer-to-peer. "We all know that there's greater trust of our own peers than there is of the organization," said Lori Golden. So to build trust, EY "took it to the grass roots," creating formal opportunities for employees to have conversations about mental health and asking other ERGs to co-sponsor these events. Craig Kramer also noted that Johnson & Johnson had simply folded mental health issues into their global disability ERGs, eventually building the world's second-largest mental health ERG by piggy-backing on existing infrastructure and leveraging existing connections.
  5. Be flexible. Accommodating [the fact that people live busy, complex lives] gets you better buy-in…and keeps production pretty high," suggested Dr. Copeland. A representative from one Council company concurred, explaining how their company has recently instituted a new policy of paid time off for caregivers on top of federally-funded leave. "Being in a culture in which we measure what you produce and not whether you show up in person all day, every day, and where if you can't be there, you negotiate how the deliverables will get done and in what time frame…is immensely helpful to people who themselves have mental illness issues or addiction or are caring for those who do and may need some flexibility," summarized Lori Golden.
  6. Build a trustworthy Employee Action Plan. Many employees do not access or even trust their organization's internal resources. According to Craig Kramer, the percentage of calls placed to most company Employee Action Plans (EAPs) regarding mental health is "in the low single digits," while "if you look at your drug spend, you'll find that around 50% is [related to] mental health." The people answering those calls must be trained in mental health issues, and employees also need to be assured that EAPs are truly confidential.

While revealing and accommodating mental illness remains a massive challenge in the workplace and beyond, a number of successful strategies are emerging for tackling this challenge – many of them pioneered by companies in NOD's Corporate Leadership Council.

EY: Women CEOs’ Growth Ambitions Significantly Outpacing the Market, Despite Their Ongoing Challenges in Accessing Capital

The EY survey, based on views of CEOs from middle-market companies across the globe, showed that this optimism is in line with improving business conditions internationally.

Originally Published by EY.
  • 30% of female-led companies are targeting growth of more than 15% in next 12 months, compared with just 5% among rest of market
  • 52% of women-led companies have no access to external funding, compared to 30% of male-led companies
  • 17% of respondents think that access to capital is the biggest barrier to growth

Despite encountering more obstacles to accessing capital, female-run businesses are targeting more ambitious growth margins than male-led companies, according to the EY survey Is the x chromosome the x factor for business leadership?, unveiled at the EY Entrepreneurial Winning WomenTM Asia-Pacific and Japan conference this week in Tokyo. The survey, based on views of CEOs from middle-market companies across the globe, showed that this optimism is in line with improving business conditions internationally.

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