The Fortune 500’s difficult relationship with diversity and inclusion

by Ray Hayes

What if I told you that Supplierty News was committing funding to increase  diversity within our staff,? What if I also included a list of initiatives to further our mission?   Would you believe our effort is genuine or would you need statistics to back up our narrative?  Unfortunately for many Fortune 500 companies, diversity programs stop at just that, with little to no statistics kept.  The only time real changes happens, it seems, is when someone complains or feels “violated”. These companies give us this grandiose mission statement about diversity and inclusion however when you look deeper these statements are words lacking action.

Above the Law recently reviewed the diversity and inclusion statements of many Fortune 500 companies to see if they were following through on them and the results prove they are not. Let’s take a look at one of the company’s statements:

Diversity & Inclusion Policy: Best Talent. Diverse Experience. Inclusive Culture. Shared Success. [Fortune 500 Company 1] is dedicated to being a high-performing organization built on the foundation of a diverse and inclusive workforce, with individuals and teams working to blend a wide range of talents, experiences and perspectives in pursuit of shared purposes [emphasis added]. A culture that strengthens this foundation is essential to unlock individual potential and build business success. Our employee-driven Diversity Enrichment Council & Network along with our Women’s Leadership Network are key elements in our commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Diversity Enrichment Council & Network and the Women’s Leadership Network are committed to increasing awareness of the meaning and importance of diversity and inclusion throughout the organization and supporting networking, development, recruitment and retention of diverse employees.

Although the above statement sounds good, there is one glaring issue.  The above company has 27 members on their board of directors, zero which are women.

As you can see the company’s mission statement is solid but the question is now about commitment. But let’s be fair, what if the company has interviewed several women for a position on their board but have been unable to find a qualified woman?  Well that in itself is a failure as the current diversity programs should be preparing women in their corporation for leadership roles.

There needs to be more investigation into the steps the company is taking into diversifying their board of directors as well as humanizing the commitment to diversity and inclusion in order to diversify the board further.

Damien Hooper-Campbell, eBay’s Chief Diversity officer, said it best. “We need to do what we very rarely do as human beings when we first meet each other. We need to be okay being politically incorrect for the moment as long as we’ve established an assumption of good intent. That allows us to get our real views out there and gives us permission to call BS when we see it. Being in the circle of trust is like being in the exit row on a plane. You need verbal confirmation before proceeding.”

The Federal Reserve will appoint its first black regional bank President

Congratulations goes out to Raphael Bostic, the first black person to achieve the title of Federal Reserve Regional Bank President.  This June Bostic will take over as the President of the Federal Reserve of Atlanta.  Bostic is a New Jersey native, obtaining his bachelors from Harvard University before earning a doctorate in economics from Stanford University.  His list of achievements include serving “as a board member of Freddie Mac, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Abode Communities. He is a fellow of the National Association of Public Administration, vice president of the Association of Public Policy and Management, a member of the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners, and a research advisory board member of the Reinvestment Fund.”

The appointment of Bostic comes at a crucial time in the Federal Reserve when many have urged the organization to reach out to more diverse candidates.  Currently, according to Fed data, 82% of employees are white with no indication of future change.  Among the critics were Mark Calabria from the Cato Institute, who once wrote that “the Fed has increasingly over time come to look less and less like the rest of America” in terms of background and education.  While educationally the pick is not diverse, background, Bostic being the first gay and African American pick is.

The biggest issue and call for diversity revolves around community representation.  For those not aware “the Fed’s regional bank presidents vote to determine America’s monetary policy, which has huge implications for everyone in the economy.”  The Fed “are also responsible for other extremely important tasks such as determining important bank regulations and directing publicly-funded economic research.”  Funding for economic research is important, and with zero diverse representation, research benefiting diverse communities is lacking.  Although this is a first step, organizational issues still remain.  Hopefully this first step will push people, particularly in the Atlanta area to seize on the opportunity within the Federal Reserve.

#WeAreNMSDC Podcast: New York / New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council

On today’s #WeAreNMSDC Podcast, we chat with Terrence Clark, President of the New York / New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council (NYNJMSDC).  The NYNJMSDC is an affiliate organization under the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) umbrella and serves minority and corporate members throughout the New York and New Jersey regions.  Clark sits down with us and discusses his council’s commitment to its organizations providing access to capital, mentorship, and business development programs for minority and corporate members.

To learn more the NYNJMSDC, listen to the podcast below!!!! For a brief summary of our conversation, check out the 5 Fast Facts section below.

0:32 Who is Terrence Clark and what is the NYNJ Council
3:30 Access to Capital
6:05 Other programs to benefit council members
10:40 The competitive advantage NYNJMSDC provides to its Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs)
14:15 What are corporate memebers looking for with MBEs
16:20 How to use your certification
17:40 Connecting with fellow MBEs
19:11 Working on your sales / business pitch
20:37 How to get involved with the NYNJMSDC
22:36 Final Thoughts

WeAreNMSDC 5 Facts

  1. The NYNJMSDC helps its minority owners get paid quicker. Speedpay in partnership with MBE Capital allows minority owned businesses to be paid in only 10 days instead of the usual 60 to 120 day payment period.
  2. The NYNJMSDC prides itself on seeking to grow minority businesses from Class 1 (under a million dollars in revenue) to Class 4 (sales of over $50 million)
  3. The NYNJMSDC helps to develop back office services such as accounting, marketing, and operations for businesses in conjunction with Rutgers University and large MBEs
  4. The FastTrack program helps MBEs gain city and state certifications which can lead to opportunities for million dollar federal contracts
  5. Check out the upcoming New York New Jersey Business Expo taking place June 27th – 28th. To learn more about the conference, check out

Supplierty News in conjunction with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) have teamed up to connect with NMSDC corporate and MBE members for podcast interviews. These conversations will highlight the benefits of supplier diversity programs from the personal experiences of both corporate and minority-owned businesses. If you’re interested in supporting the effort, Follow both Supplierty News and the NMSDC on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook, and visit their websites for more information. Also don’t forget to mention #WeAreNMSDC on all social media platforms.

#WeAreNMSDC Podcast: A3i – Helping Patients in their hour of need

Today we release another episode of the #WeAreNMSDC Podcast campaign.  Before we begin, I want to personally thank each and every one of you for following the weekly podcast thus far!  Without your support we could not have reached so many listeners to date.

For today’s episode, we sit down with Jorge Amaro, President and CEO of the new yet innovative A3i.  A3i is a Healthcare company that partners with customers to provide patient focused solutions that leverage innovation to help improve a person’s quality of life. These solutions include Patient Services and Authorizations, Analytics, and Actionable Insights.  Amaro talks with us about his passion for helping others and his 34 years of experience within the health and pharmaceutical industry.  He explains the benefits of A3i and why every patient in today’s market needs help with managing their daily care.

To learn more about Jorge and A3i, simply listen to the podcast!!!! For a brief summary of our conversation, check out the 5 Fast Facts section below.

A3i Podcast
0:54 Who is Jorge Amaro?
2:42 When did you realize you wanted to help people in the Healthcare industry?
6:35 Tell us about A31.
8:52 How do you shorten the authorization process from months to a week or less?
11:59 Can you tell us the benefits of being a certified NMSDC company?
14:56 How will A3i grow over the next two years? What position will it hold within the Healthcare industry?
24:09 NMSDC and Final Thoughts.

WeAreNMSDC 5 Facts about A3i

  1. Jorge Amaro has a SERIOUS passion for serving others (34 years).  To learn more about his experience in the industry and what drove him towards his passion, take a listen to his controversial call on the release of Dilantin (a prescription which helps to treat and prevent seizures) at 2:38
  2. A3i helps to shortened authorization time for surgeries (based on what your Healthcare covers). The process can be cut down from months of waiting to 3 – 7 days.  In addition, A3i can take hospital papers and create a series of instructions that patients can follow by accessing the A3i mobile application.
  3. A3i works with over 150 different health plans and operates in all 50 states, working with national and local payers.  They also have a database of over 10 million transactions which gives doctors the opportunity to ‘manage by fact’ to help patients.
  4. Amaro believes that the role of the patient in healthcare is changing (see 15:35). According to Amaro, patients are much more informed in the healthcare process and want to be apart of the solution in a shared decision model to create an Optimal Healthcare Plan.  Because of this, healthcare will be based more on outcome rather than the amount of patients a physician sees.
  5. Being a certified NMSDC business works!  The certification has helped A3i register with 33 large corporations and led to conversations with 4 of them. The certification has also resulted in business from corporations met through the NMSDC network.

Supplierty News in conjunction with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) have teamed up to connect with NMSDC corporate and MBE members for podcast interviews. These conversations will highlight the benefits of supplier diversity programs from the personal experiences of both corporate and minority-owned businesses. If you’re interested in supporting the effort, Follow both Supplierty News and the NMSDC on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook, and visit their websites for more information. Also don’t forget to mention #WeAreNMSDC on all social media platforms.

President Trump’s New Executive Order Promotes Religious Liberty

President Trump recently promised to destroy the President Johnson amendment and provide religious organizations with the right to freedom of speech. Today I will discuss why the new executive order is needed in today’s political climate.

Navigating the Retail collapse as a small business

Brick and mortar retail shops are closing at a fast rate.  We’ve all seen the news of Macy’s, Kohl’s, and others shutting down store after store in an effort to become smaller, leaner, and increase profit shares.  Unfortunately, these closing may be too little too late for giant retailers looking to redefine themselves in the 21st century.  On a somewhat bright side, the fall of big business is a clear opportunity for small operations.

Ten years ago companies such as Netflix, Amazon, and others were still figuring out their niche in the transforming internet market.  Now, both are leaders in their respective fields.  While retailers look for new and innovative ways to market themselves to online customers, small businesses have the opportunity to navigate the terrain better and more effectively.  Small businesses have always been able to pivot quicker than their larger rivals and are more open and flexible in regards to new ideas.  If you are a small business, now is the time to innovate and test out new ideas as the market opens.

People still need to purchase items after all.  Sure Amazon is growing and seemingly cornering the market in online sales, but they’re is still billions left on the table in potential customers (like myself) who are still considering different purchasing methods.  Malls are currently in transition and may not be the purchasing hubs they once were, but if a small business can create a loyal customer base and sustain a close relationship with it as it grows, they may be at the forefront of the emerging online retail market.

Buying clothes is entering a new age and it is the small businesses that have the opportunity to redefine it.  In the next few years one business will figure it out, and that company will make millions, possibly billions because of it.

Think Tank: How Small Businesses Can Grow Amid Collapse of Retail Giants

Gender Diversity and the Corporate Boardroom

Discovering ways to increase a company’s profit margin is crucial in today’s bottom line driven economy.  One of the ways profit is measured is a corporate’s ROE or return on Equity.  According to the global research firm MSCI ESG, companies with “strong female representation on boards generated a Return on Equity of 10.1% per year versus 7.4% for those without.”  With an almost 3% difference, female inclusion on board of directors should probably be a priority for global corporations.

While numbers are trending upwards, it has been incremental increases.  The Global Board Diversity Analysis (GDBA) states that in 2016, “almost 19% of seats on the boards of the largest companies in the world were held by women. That’s an increase of nearly 5% since 2012.”

Taking a look at organization diversity by country, the US falls somewhere in the middle with countries such as Italy and France performing better due to government mandates.  Other countries that are more diverse in terms of women on boardrooms include Canada, South Africa, Brazil and surprisingly Russia.  Countries still struggling with the concept include China, Japan, Mexico, and the Czech Republic.

So what does this mean for the future?  Well, according to Fast Company “If progress continues at the rate we’ve seen globally over the last two years (1.6% per year), the average number of women per board will reach three by 2021, while gender parity remains 20 years away.”