2008 Best Companies for Multicultural Women

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ALLSTATE INSURANCE

Location Northbrook, IL

What they do Provide insurance and financial products

Employees 35,424

Women of color 20%

Women of color executives/ managers 6%

CEO Thomas Wilson

Chief Diversity Officer Anise Wiley-Little

WHAT'S GREAT This insurer is on a mission to fill its ranks with talented multicultural women. One out of four new hires in 2006 was a woman of color, thanks to the company's efforts to reach out to the multicultural community through recruiters and organizations focused on diversity issues.

GROOMING LEADERS Employees are encouraged to nominate themselves for elite training programs, such as Talent Acceleration, to fasttrack their careers. Women of color make up 16% of the women participating in the company's management training programs.

DIVERSITY EDUCATION Mandatory diversity training is offered at least four times a year to the workforce. Managers attend an additional session to help foster understanding of the people of color who work for them.

NOTABLE NETWORKS Six new networking groups have formed in recent years, including the African-American Working Network, which hosted a seminar about career development and success in the workplace.

AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER

Location Columbus, OH

What they do Deliver electricity across 11 states

Employees 20,219

Women of color 3%

Women of color executives/ managers 5%

CEO Michael Morris

Chief Diversity Officer Mary Cofer

WHAT'S GREAT Senior management plays a key role in outreach efforts designed to introduce the company to multicultural groups. Last year, CEO Michael Morris hosted members and guests of the local chapter of the National Black MBA Association.

DIVERSITY MATTERS Helping women of color climb the corporate ladder is a measured goal. The company sets annual diversity targets, and a portion of managers' pay is tied to helping women and minorities in their department develop professionally.

WHAT'S NEW AEP's Power to Generate scholarship program aims to get more women and minorities studying technical disciplines. Additionally, a new mentoring program with local high schools was launched to spark an interest in engineering among the next generation of multicultural workers.

OUTSTANDING PROGRAM Through AEP's Legacy of Knowledge program, eligible women of color reaching retirement age can continue to work part-time with a younger colleague to impart their workplace wisdom to the next generation.

AMERICAN EXPRESS

Location New York, NY

What they do Offer global payments, network and travel

Employees 30,150

Women of color 24%

Women of color executives/ managers 8%

CEO Kenneth Chenault

Chief Diversity Officer Melinda Wolfe

BEST PRACTICE Career counseling continues to be a huge draw for women of color at American Express, with 56% participating last year. Multicultural women can also seek career guidance through a diversity mentoring program that's available to women and minorities.

WHAT'S COOL By connecting with professional organizations and college groups geared to women of color, American Express has expanded its talent pool and boosted the number of multicultural women in its ranks. Nearly four out of ten hires in the past year were women of color, including one corporate executive.

GROOMING LEADERS More than 31% of American Express's women-of-color employees took part in leadership training last year. The company also nurtures women of color by participating in ASCENT, a nonprofit organization that provides multicultural women with career advancement and leadership skills.

ACCOUNTABILITY IN ACTION The company understands that what gets measured gets done. More than 60% of leaders' compensation is based on how well they incorporate diversity into their business practices.

CHUBB & SON

Location Warren, NJ

What they do Provide business and personal insurance

Employees 8,404

Women of color 18%

Women of color executives/ managers 3%

CEO John Finnegan

Chief Diversity Officer Kathleen Marvel

OUTSTANDING PROGRAM Chubb's Minority Development Council held its first Women of Color Leadership conference last year, attracting more than 70 multicultural women. …

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