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Mastercard Reaffirmed Commitment for More Connected and Inclusive Cities

Mastercard collaborates with Microsoft for more connected cities.

At Smart Cities New York, Mastercard reaffirmed its commitment for more connected and inclusive cities, highlighting a new collaboration with Microsoft. The two global leaders for urban development will bring together their respective payment, data analytics and cloud technologies to create a global exchange, allowing cities to use economic insights in more integrated and efficient ways.

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Innovative Tactics to Recruit Women in Tech

KeyCorp's Amy Brady shares five tips to help you recruit the best and the brightest women in technology.

By Tamika Cody

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Conservatives Push Gay Bashing vs. Corporate America

The 2016 presidential campaign has transformed into a battle between evangelicals and liberals.

Photo by Shutterstock

Apparently, bullying doesn't stop after grade school. At least that's how the Christian conservatives see it.

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Marvel CEO: Women Can't Be Superheroes

According to Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, films featuring heroine leads cannot compete in the box office.

Photo by Shutterstock

In the latest news on the Sony hack, Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter finds himself in the midst of a controversy after slamming female superheroes.

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Walmart Helps Convince Arkansas Gov. to Wait on Anti-LGBT Bill

Walmart's powerful voice weighed in its home state against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, helping to push the governor to send the bill back to the legislature.

Update (4/2/2015 4:36 p.m.): The Associated Press is reporting that the Arkansas legislature passed a revised religious objections bill after Gov. Asa Hutchinson declined to sign the previous version. The new bill "prohibits state and local government from infringing on someone's religious beliefs without proving a compelling interest. The legislation now heads to Hutchinson, and his office says he plans to sign it into law."

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25 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies Sign Brief in Support of Same-Gender Marriage

They join 354 other businesses/organizations in urging the Supreme Court to strike down the remaining 13 state bans on same-gender marriage.

Same-gender marriage now formally has the backing of much of corporate America.

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Luke Visconti, CEO: I Am Not Charlie Hebdo or Thomas Sowell

The Paris attacks were the result of extremists exploiting a failure of the French government to live up to its principles of liberty, equality and fraternity.

The attacks in Paris were not "'diversity' in action," as Thomas Sowell positions it, because he has the concepts of diversity management completely wrong. In my opinion, the attacks were the result of extremists exploiting a failure of the French government to live up to its principles of liberty, equality and fraternity (the motto of France).

Europe is about 25 years ahead of us regarding a key set of related problems: aging workforce and low birthrate. After World War II, we had seven workers per retiree; we now have less than five (France has roughly three), and by 2050 we will have two workers per retiree (http://www.econdataus.com/workers.html). A whole host of things we take for granted will not work at two workers per retiree. Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, our half-trillion-dollar-per-year military, farm subsidies, scientific research and development simply can't be done. Our President recently took executive action to give a path to legality for millions of documented immigrants already living here, in effect doing what Europe did with the European Union and lowered/eliminated borders—but that's only a first step. The problem is that Europe, including the UK, isolates its immigrants—or allows them to be isolated and refuses to take responsibility for assimilating them. I don't think the United States does a great job with assimilation, but we're far better than the rest of the world. For example, French minorities have practically zero representation in the French assembly—much worse than our Congress.

France and the rest of the EU take the easy and common human reaction to "outsiders": isolate them. And they're not alone—there are plenty of people in this country who are making their bones politically by encouraging xenophobic racist talk about "those" people and how they're coming here to take our benefits. That's a sucker play that rich people have been pulling on poor people forever.

France created its own perfect storm—isolated and societally rejected immigrants who were readily identifiable by skin color or accent were recruited by criminal politicians hiding behind religion. It's not difficult to get disaffected young men to pick up a rifle and start shooting; this is the basis behind every revolution since the beginning of time.

But this isn't entirely a government problem; it's a societal one as well. It's interesting when you see a media outlet position itself as a victim when the problem is at least partially of its own creation. I think it was completely irresponsible for Sony to produce a film—a comedy—about assassinating a sovereign head of state. (Can you imagine FOX's reaction to an Iraqi film about assassinating Dick Cheney?) And it's telling that we all found out after the fact that their senior executives were sending racist emails. In Charlie Hebdo, cartoon images of Mohammed were strikingly similar in style to Nazi cartoons of Jewish people. Of the people killed at Charlie Hebdo, only one was nonwhite: a copy editor of Algerian descent. I don't think it's funny when majority people parody, pantomime or otherwise denigrate minorities because they're in a position of power to do so without obvious repercussions. When those repercussions occur, and endanger the public, is the media outlet (or anyone not living up to the ideals of the society that they draw their freedom protections from) completely innocent? I'm not justifying or condoning these murders, but at a certain point poking a bear with a stick while wearing a blindfold is irresponsible—and it endangers innocent people standing around you who have to deal with the enraged bear.

Where Thomas Sowell has it completely right is in his argument for assimilation. If you want to come to this country, you have to abide by our Constitution—I don't care what it was like back home, or what your religion says, or what you did. It's also critical for people to learn English in this country. Research has shown that children taught in their native language do not do as well as children taught English first and then their coursework in English.

"Diversity in action" does not describe a static end state (unassimilated communities). Diversity in action, in the corporate and/or societal sense, is about taking care of people with one standard. And if your values include that people are created equally, that one standard is easy to define; all you have to do is look at outcome. For example, if you're the CEO of Microsoft, you would be completely justified in giving women advice for their career development if 50 percent of your direct reports were women. But giving advice when only 20 percent of your most senior executives are women not only makes you sound ridiculous, it also has a deeply damaging effect on the company's ability to recruit, and develop and retain.

"Diversity in action" in the nation-state sense is about living up to your ideals and making sure that all citizens, most importantly newcomers, understand their rights, learn the language and culture, and understand the clear repercussions of not integrating into their new homes. I can't think of a single country that does this well. It's too easy for majority citizens to blame the newcomers, when nobody in their government jobs is fired for not doing them well. Much like corporate America, the birth rate of our majority citizens means that our country will decline sharply without fresh labor.

Thomas Sowell is completely wrong when he describes "diversity in action"—and I feel no solidarity with a publication that mocks a religion which 1.6 billion people believe in, especially when the people in that publication are all not from that religion and are, unlike those being mocked, from the majority. Nor do I have tolerance for politicians who develop terrorists to advance their political agenda.

People behave amazingly consistently. They thrive when they're cared for, mentored, guided and valued. This is "diversity in action."

Microsoft Further Proves the Company Is a Man's World

Microsoft quietly released its diversity statistics last month—and the results not only reinforced CEO Satya Nadella's comments about women in the workforce, but also show that Microsoft's stats are right in line with every other tech company.

By Julissa Catalan

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Luke Visconti, DiversityInc's CEO: Karma Is Not a Career Strategy

This five-point plan would've helped Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recover from his spectacular blunder regarding women in the workplace.

What do you do if you have a Satya Nadella moment? You said what you mean, but then have to backpedal because what you believe is completely unpalatable.

If you haven't seen it yet, Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, said at a conference celebrating women in engineering, "It's not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along." He went on to say that it's good karma to not ask for a raise. (His full remarks can be found here—scroll the video slider to 1:35.) Interestingly, the woman interviewing him, Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College and Microsoft board member, responded by saying she didn't agree with him and then went on to talk about two places in her career where she was cheated on pay. (In one of the incidents, she was cheated by another woman, the then President of Princeton University.) Nadella later issued a memo on Microsoft's website which in part said, "I answered that question completely wrong. … I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it's deserved, Maria's advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask." The memo was not an apology.

His problem is this: Microsoft's own website, which shows that its senior leaders are just 20 percent women. Of the 15 people pictured, there are three women and only three nonwhite people—apparently no non-majority people in the cultures from which they originated. According to public data released in Microsoft, only 29 percent of Microsoft employees are women, so there's a 31 percent spread between women employees and women senior executives. A terrible statistic.

So how could Mr. Nadella have avoided and/or recovered from this mistake?

1. Know your numbers. It took me only a few minutes to find the Microsoft senior-leaders webpage and the total percentage of Microsoft employees who are women. It's not a good story and the CEO should know better than to comment off-the-cuff on a subject that you have terrible performance in. It's not like this is a new subject for Microsoft: A few years ago there was a controversy over Microsoft and other tech companies not releasing their EEO-1 reports; they didn't want to release them because they're embarrassing. With only 29 percent women employees at Microsoft, and only 20 percent women senior leaders, it is not an enticing workplace environment for women.

2. Understand how to address the situation and practice for it. Knowing that this is a problem, the CEO should understand the numbers and be able to speak to specific, actionable and accountable measures that he is putting into place to rectify the problem. if you have goals and you are training your current generation of mostly male executives to attract, develop and retain talent without bias (as has not been done in the past), then you can speak without fear and without appearing hypocritical. ("Karma" sure hasn't worked for women at Microsoft.)

Talking points should focus on the fact that this is about money. If you can't attract the best and brightest, at least half of who are women, then you are not serving the shareholders. And indeed, over five- and 10-year periods, Microsoft has underperformed the NASDAQ composite (and Apple or Google individually), which means you'd be foolish to invest in Microsoft rather than in an exchange traded fund that would mitigate risk by including more companies in your investment. And as an entrepreneur who has spent more than $100,000 on Microsoft products, I can tell you that I'm not impressed. So it's not like the current situation with the gender split is defensible from a business standpoint.

That said, I think most women understand that corporate America in general is not a good place for them. This is borne out by the facts: Fewer than 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women and roughly 17 percent of board seats are held by women. The DiversityInc Top 50 companies do significantly better.

3. If you make a mistake, apologize for it. Issuing a halfhearted memo on your website and some rather pathetic tweets is not a way to get yourself out of a mess. If you have covered points 1 and 2—especially 2—you'll have talking points, because you'll have real diversity management in place and you'll be holding your subordinates accountable. People in this situation tend to want to avoid goals, but that's a bad mistake. We all have goals; even the CEO has goals, from the board of directors. If this is about business, then diversity should have goals as well. If you can speak to the goals and the changes you've made, you can quickly regain trust, which is something that Mr. Nadella has not done.

4. Don't be passive. Microsoft has a market capitalization of $363 billion. Its former CEO just bought a basketball team for $2 billion and is close to the top of the Forbes 400 wealthiest people. Hearing passivity from a company this wealthy just incites anger. During the recent publicity crisis around tech companies and their lack of diversity, there has been a passivity that I find to be repulsive. Google's publicity problems around diversity, for example, seem to have a certain shoulder-shrugging air about them. Google has a similar market capitalization to Microsoft, of $368 billion. It's preposterous to think a company that can figure out how to read your email can't figure out how to capture talent and underrepresented groups and funnel them towards majors that will benefit Google.

5. Watch your pronouns, take personal accountability. "We," "our," "us" are the words that unite. Speaking about women and their "superpowers" of not asking for a raise destroys trust and credibility. Speaking of credibility, you probably want to can most of the happy-go-lucky stuff currently on the diversity area of your website—especially in light of the facts shown on your senior executives page. Replace self-congratulatory nonsense with facts and figures, specific programs, and the accountability you're going to hold people to. Especially if you've made a mistake like this, the word should come from you. Your picture, not pictures of models, should be on the diversity area of your website.

If I were advising Mr. Nadella, I would tell him to come up with a plan that would accelerate recruitment and talent development of women—and I would also advise him to have a plan for pipeline development, as the pipeline of women in engineering is not sufficient to accomplish his goals, which should be 50 percent women (including management and senior-leadership roles). Needless to say, this can't happen overnight, but underrepresented people understand that already. What we're all looking for is a refreshing and unflinching assessment of reality and a plan forward to address it.

Microsoft CEO: Women Should Rely on 'Good Karma,' Not Ask for Raises

Satya Nadella puts his foot in his mouth during a conference celebrating women in computing. Read his entire comments here.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is under fire for his comments about working women, in an industry that already has a reputation as being woman unfriendly.

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Microsoft Picks Asian-Born CEO

Satya Nadella, an India native, has been with the tech giant since 1992. Microsoft also named a Black man, John Thompson, as Chairman.

Nadella

By Albert Lin

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