Diversity under the Trump Administration – Javier Palomarez, President of the USHCC, joins Trumps Diversity Coalition

Javier Palomarez, the President of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), has accepted President-elect Donald Trump’s offer to join his transition team and diversity coalition. Palomarez has not been too friendly of Trump in the past. The USHCC endorsed fellow GOP Presidential candidate John Kasich during the primary and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for the general election. To add more intrigue to this odd relationship, ABC reported that Trump backed out of the USHCC’s Presidential Candidate Q&A after Trump was made aware of the questions for the session.

Palomarez spoke about the reason why Trump backed out of the Q&A session at the time of the incident. “Mr. Trump was unwilling to abide by the terms and conditions of the USHCC’s Presidential Candidate Q&A Series – the same rules that all participants have previously followed,” said Palomarez. “The USHCC refused to change the format of the forum, show any favoritism, exclude any issues or topics, or grant any immunity from objective scrutiny of his policies.”

Trump’s relationship with the USHCC has grown negative over the years but with Palomarez’s appointment maybe the relationship is slowly changing for the better. The question I am pondering is how will this impact the diversity initiative under the Trump administration? Or will it have anything to do with it? We shall see but I expect Palomarez and the USHCC to provide thoughtful and valuable insight to the Trump team of experts.

-Ray Hayes


Game of Thrones lacks diversity but is that really an issue?

The HBO show Game of Thrones (Thrones) is one of the biggest phenomenon’s in cable television. From incredible storytelling, compelling characters, and outstanding battle scenes, Thrones has captivated audiences despite its lack of diversity. But is this an issue really?

As a reader of the books, I’ve noticed that the show is MUCH more diverse than the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. Many characters were changed in an effort to cater to a diverse audience. While, some characters were changed from white to black, others were made much older in an effort to appeal to modern viewers. If you compare the cast of the TV show to the books, than HBO’s Thrones is a trailblazer in diversity. Unfortunately for the casting director, some people don’t take that into account.

Here’s the truth: Thrones’ takes place in a European Medieval time-frame heavily influenced by European history and traditions. In the novels, George RR Martin makes it clear that there are other more diverse countries in the world (for example the Summer Isles is a location where most of the black characters in the series originate from). In the future, a novel series could always be completed on that country alone, but since that is separate from the current series many do not take that into account. There are other parts as well, including the Sand Kingdom with the Sand Sisters which has a middle eastern influence and the Free Cities are made up of a mixture of people. The main cast, similar to Lord of the Rings, are white, and that makes sense.

As a promoter of diversity, I am realistic. For Game of Thrones the main cast should be white, based on its influence and author. It honestly makes sense. If an Asian person had written a similar novel with heavy Japanese influence, I would expect the main cast to be Asian. For this, I am not as much of a supporter on changing the main characters. It’s a fantasy novel written by a George RR Martin and if his vision is Medieval Europe…well…then Medieval Europe it is.


Scholars prove that diversity is not inherently dangerous….yay!

In reading the recent Washington Post article asking the question “Is diversity inherently dangerous”, I was reminded of the Social Network scene in which Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) checked the math of the prosecuting attorney when she calculated 19,000.00 for her defendant, as shown below.

Now although I understand the need for empirical evidence in all things uncertain, the fact that questions to whether blacks and whites can inherently get along are being raised is a bit ridiculous.  The article essentially breaks down diversity as a man made definition that has been used to divide groups in an effort for establishing dominance.  While diversity, similar to religion or education can be used for evil purposes, it is not inherently evil.

My response is “of course it isn’t”.  It’s a sad time when things of this nature have to be researched and analyzed however.  It would be like having to research other universal truths such as, if you stop breathing for 24 hours will you live.  But alas, as the article points out, some people do believe that a cleansing of different peoples will make for a more prosperous society.  There are countless examples throughout history of different people getting along with no problem.  Only when perceived struggle and strife occur do groups turn on the minority of a society and blame them for it.

Yesterday it was the Irish and Italians, today it’s the Mexican’s and Muslims, and tomorrow it will be two other groups that start with the same letter.

Washington Post

This week in Small Business Tech News from @forbes

Amazon has a drone delivering packages, Yahoo accounts get hacked, and much more from Gene Marks , writer for Forbes, in Small Business Tech News from the past week.

  1. Amazon is not only changing the retail and grocery industry, the delivery processing industry is next. This past week Amazon shipped its first package via drone. Yep, drone. Amazon has plans to make Prime Air the thing of the future.
  2. Approximately 1 billion Yahoo accounts have been hacked into. Yahoo confirmed that the hack happen back in 2013. Some of the things that were stolen include names, emails addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and security questions/answers.
  3. Skype has officially made things much easier if you are making calls to customers from out of the country who may not speak English. Skype now allows you to use real time translation when making a call. “It works for any landline call and supports the translation of English, French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic and Russian.” This new tool will open the doors for many small businesses who had previously suffered from language barriers and missed out on potential foreign customers.
  4. Dobot M1!!! Oh, Yea!…So, what is it? “It’s a programmable with interchangeable tool heads and kits for soldering, sorting, engraving, cutting, 3-D printing and manufacturing.” Basically it’s the robotic arm your company has always dreamed of. Dobot M1 could be a great investment if your company is in the manufacturing industry and requires repetitive sorting, cutting, engraving, or other things that the Dobot M1 could perform effectively and quickly compared to other options.
  5. Facebook Live now has more competition. Twitter recently announced that they will now let users broadcast live videos directly. “This improvement makes Twitter a better player amongst the giants competing for your company’s online video content.”

-Ray Hayes


Is San Diego the top city for veteran entrepreneurship?

There are currently an estimated 229,000 military veterans living in the city of San Diego. According to the New York Times, the “100-mile radius supports more military and Coast Guard personnel than any other metropolitan area in the country, according to the Department of Defense.”  The high concentration of military veterans is thanks to the many military bases located in the San Diego region.

With so much opportunity for military business, it makes sense that experts in the field (i.e. veterans), start businesses in an effort to service the many needs of the industry.  Because of this there are many organizations supporting veteran entrepreneurship in the area.  Examples include the SoCal Veterans Business Outreach Center, which helps veterans gain access to capital, and the Rosie Network, a nonprofit that recently opened the Military Entrepreneur Development Center geared to help active duty, veterans, and spouses of military personal develop small businesses. The support and environment has currently created a healthy atmosphere for veteran focused business within the city and a hub for military veterans with entrepreneurial spirits.

As the city looks towards the future, California’s second largest city currently offers a great deal of opportunities in the fields of life science, telecom, biotech, IT, clean tech, and more all in the defense sector.  If you’re a veteran looking to start a business focusing on your military background, San Diego may be the city for you.

New York Times

Creative Access: The miseducation of the word fairness

Have you ever heard the saying “life isn’t fair?”

I’m sure many of you have.  The purpose of the saying is to convey the idea that life doesn’t conform to a person’s belief of fairness.  When it comes to the word fair, most people often take the stance of “What is fair….for me”.  In the instance of the British non-profit Creative Access and the harsh criticism from Katie Hopkins, this is most certainly the case.

Usually when it comes to diversity antagonists, I can understand where they are coming from.  On this very site, I’ve even promoted the inclusion of rural small business in the idea of diversity.  I do not think that diversity should only include ethnic, gender, or sexual orientation, but should encompass under-represented individuals who need aid in achieving success not immediately provided to them.

In the case of Katie Hopkins’ argument against the Creative Access organization, I have zero idea what she’s attacking.  In the beginning of her article Hopkins writes “I completely understand. You have no qualifications. That doesn’t matter – school isn’t for everyone. Have a sticker for effort.”  For anyone who has ever gone through a program promoting diversity, the assumption of applicants having no qualifications is insulting.  I don’t care who you are, you’re not going to get hired for a job if you’re not qualified, unless you have some connection to the organization that is.  And that fact supersedes race and gender.

Hopkins then gives loose examples to bolster her argument.  I call them loose because she mentions a girl who “desperately wants to get into Law but opportunities are closed to her because she is white.”  I know people who desperately want to get into Law but can’t get hired because their black.  In another example Hopkins talks about minorities get special treatment for home applications.  Again, I know minorities who have been discriminated against for home applications as well.  Her nonsensical argument makes no sense to me when using logic, however, it does make sense in the idea of fairness.

Fairness is not logical.  Fairness is in the eye of the beholder and its evolving definition is why Hopkins and her supporters can make illogical arguments so easily.  Take this stat for example; according to Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff of The Guardian, “Journalism is 94% white, rising to near 100% when it comes to senior editorial roles”  Hopkins argument would be this….since 94% of senior roles are whites, then those are the smartest, most hard working and qualified individuals for those jobs.  With this thinking, this would mean that every position filled (without diversity efforts) was filled by the most qualified applicant.  Afterall no one has ever felt as if they were smarter or more qualified then their boss.

In the end, her column, in my opinion, makes her seem petty and ignorant.  Creative Access’s goal was to increase opportunities for black, Asian’s and minorities (BAME) in an industry that did not have high numbers.  CA has placed more than 700 BAME people into these industries and is looking to continue its effort.  Racism and discrimination is the limiting of opportunities.  CA is not limiting peoples opportunities.  If potential media persons want to apply for a job with a media company they can.  CA is only one of many company’s that help individuals get jobs.  Why is CA being targets?  Because their good at it?  Why are companies being vilified by people for wanting to increase their diversity numbers?

CA has nothing to do with Hopkins’issue.  Her issue is the perceived notion that someone somewhere is getting exposed to an opportunity that has in the past been reserved for people who look like her.  Any type of organization or policy that expands that opportunity to include more people is seen as threatening.  It is seen as not fair.

But it is fair.  CA is a legal non-profit organization providing a service that it is good at.  But unfortunately, CA may have been too good at promoting diversity within its ranks.  You can help some BAME’s get jobs but if you help too many, then it’s obviously a problem.  In the end, Derek Black, godson of white nationalist David Duke said it best.  When you support policy that negatively affect every race but your own, you’re a white nationalist.

Katie Hopkins Article

The Guardian

The Information Ranks Venture Capital Funds based on Diversity

The Information is a niche Tech news site that began ranking venture capital firms based on gender, age and ethnic diversity in 2015.  With another year in the books, the organization has released its latest rankings which you can find by clicking the link below:


According to the site, the rankings were based off of “a list of 581 investment team leaders across the 72 firms selected.”  The list of firms can be separated based on assets managed and people employed.

While the list is extremely informative and I encourage everyone to go and check it out, I can honestly say that after looking at the list I came away learning nothing new about diversity in venture capital.  Venture capital is a white, male dominated industry with no serious solution to become inclusive.  And to be honest why would they.

No I’m not saying the people in the industry like the way the breakdown is at the moment, but they do like the money I’m sure.  In the past I’ve consistently stated that success and revenue should be an organization’s top priority.  If you’re not making money, your business model doesn’t make sense.  When it comes to investing, there is nothing more true than return on investment / a company’s revenue.

When you’re investing you’re going to invest with people you know and trust.  In a past article I’ve written about the fact that over 50% of white Americans don’t have a close minority friend.  Statistics pretty much prove that the numbers revealed in the study are…well….expected.

Now the question becomes….how do we get more diversity into venture capital.  Well for starters, I believe the investment opportunity is there, just in a different light.  No, you won’t get a $1 billion venture firm that caters exclusively to minority owned companies with minority owned founders, but you can probably find a few worth a couple million.  In the near future it is my belief that small minority VCs have to come together and support specific minority owned firms to bolster their capital and success rates.  Currently the funds available are too spread out and too few.  However if a community of investors was created, it would be the perfect opportunity to bolster under represented VCs and the companies they invest in.

The Information

Major League Baseball is looking to expand its supplier diversity

Corey Smith is the Senior Director of Supplier Diversity and Strategic Sourcing at Major League Baseball (MLB).  Having met Mr Smith myself I can definitely say that the man is serious about promoting diversity within the organization.  While the MLB has been in the news for having to fire search firm Korn Ferry for its inability to place a single minority in a front office job, the league is still pushing forward and trying to expand its opportunities for diverse suppliers.

In a recent interview with Rolling Out, Smith discussed MLB’s recent “Winter Diversity Summit at the Gaylord National Resort in Maryland” and the goals of the organization.  For Smith and the MLB the Summit was about finding the qualified suppliers for multiple league opportunities. With the MLB currently in its offseason, apparently now is when alot of the clubs are looking to purchase items for next season. In addition to belonging to every national organization promoting diversity, the MLB has developed their own process in connecting with suppliers directly (i.e. http://mlb.com/mlb/official_info/mlb_official_info_diverse.jsp)

For myself, I’ve attended one of the MLB’s events and I can attest to the great job they do.  When I went to an event in Phoenix, not only did all the 30 MLB teams have booths, but their was also representation from the Minor League organization, the media group, and their nonprofit arm.  I got the sense that with the MLB it is a combined effort to connect with qualified diverse suppliers and grow with them through league opportunities.

I would suggest all companies check out an MLB conference or Summit at least once if there are opportunities within the league.  It is definitely worth the trip.

Rolling Out

How one picture overshadowed diversity gains for Dropbox

Dropbox has increased its workplace diversity numbers in 2016.  In a celebration of its accomplishment, the company released a photo showcasing its commitment to diversity.  Unfortunately the picture, at a glance, was not made up of diverse individuals.

When it comes to ethnicity, often times individuals are categorized by assumptions.  If someone sees a dark skinned man they may believe he is black, and not realize that some Hispanics (which have African heritage) can have a darker complexion than blacks. In addition, just because you see women in a picture does not mean that all women in said picture are straight, or were born women to begin with.

As it turns out the picture Dropbox posted was diverse with an Asian woman, Iranian man, and lesbian all included in it.  For those focused on the increase of darker individuals well, then the photo was a slight.  But the organization seems to be trying.  The recent photo wasn’t on the level of Paul Ryan’s Republican interns after all, and their released numbers have backed their efforts.

In 2016, the company has increased their workforce diversity including a 6% increase in women in leadership positions, and 1% increase in its black and Hispanic employees versus one year ago.  While I agree more can be done, let’s acknowledge the efforts of the organization. They’re not reworking their diversity statistics or delaying their release by 10 months.  Dropbox is giving an honest effort to improve and in my opinion that should count for something.


Missouri non-profit SEED$ is supporting local businesses with micro loans and training

Founded in 2013, the Southeast Economic Development Fund (SEED$) helps entrepreneurs in the surrounding Missouri area develop and grow their businesses.  “The non-profit organization serves an eight-county area: St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Washington, Madison, Iron, Perry, Bollinger and Cape Girardeau.“

In an effort to help expand awareness for business opportunities and development SEED$ provides one-on-one business coaching, “along with technical assistance, group training and workshops that are held to benefit both start-ups and existing businesses.”  In addition, since 2013, “SEED$ has counseled and trained more than 200 small business owners and entrepreneurs in a variety of industries, including service, retail, food, manufacturing and hospitality. Additionally, eight loans totaling $362,500 have been approved with 54 full-time and two part-time jobs retained and/or created as a result of those loans.”

The organization receives its funding from the Washington County Industrial Development Authority which granted it $250,000 to for small businesses loans in Washington County, and the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) through USDA Rural Development, which awarded SEED$ $75,519 “to assist in providing financial and business services to entrepreneurs, small and micro-businesses and job-generating agencies across Southeast Missouri.”

“The organization also helps qualifying small and micro-businesses gain access to loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 for start-up and expansion” in their Park Hills location.

If you’re a Missouri business looking for additional information on the organization, check them out their available services or make an appointment with a business development coach, through phone at 573-431-4296 or email at jradford@eastmoaa.org.

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