Magazine article Workforce Management

5 Questions: MINORITIES IN THE C-SUITE

Magazine article Workforce Management

5 Questions: MINORITIES IN THE C-SUITE

Article excerpt

CARL BROOKS, president and CEO, Executive Leadership Council

Workforce Management: Everyone understands the social-justice reasons for increasing the number of minority executives. What is the business case?

Carl Brooks: The more diverse the grouping, the more creative the output. Progressive companies want to have as broad a group of thinkers involved in the decision-making process as possible. The new markets are obviously the global markets, but the other increasingly attractive market is the emerging domestic markets, which are populated by African-Americans, Hispanics, females, Asian-Americans. To the extent you can ensure that you understand their needs, their desires, you have a greater opportunity to be able to have products and services which satisfy these groups.

WM. What is holding back African-American women?

Brooks: The networks for African-American females were considered more social than strategic. They know each other, they know the family makeup of each other, they socialize together. But they didn't have the strategic ingrethent that would allow them to advance and ask each other for support and endorsements. Without that, no one moves to senior levels in any corporation.

WM: Another problem for African-American women is a misunderstanding of their capabilities. How do the jobs they hold influence that perception?

Brooks: The advice in this research is that if you seek an operational position at the top level, you need to stay focused on that and not move so easily to staff or administrative positions in corporate America. …

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