Business, Career, Economic Equality, Economic Inequality, Entrepreneurship, Equal Pay, Gender, Gender Equality, Gender Inequality, Goals, Levo League, Money, Race, Racial Equality, Racial Inequality, Socioeconomic Status, Voice, Women Empowerment, Writing

Diversity Without Power Is Still Not Enough

I recently penned an article for Jet magazine in response to a photo posted by the Huffington Post. Below is the article in its entirety as well as the link: Diversity Without Power Is Still Not Enough by M. Michelle Derosier for Jet magazine.

huffpost_diversity-610x250

If you’re a professional and a person of color in America, chances are you’ve been part of at least one meeting, a team or a department where yours was one of (if not) the only [insert race or culture] face in the crowd.

Yet, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education reports, “In the U.S., the white portion of the working-age population (generally ages 25 to 64) is declining, while the minority portion is increasing.”

While we’d like to think that our personal experience is the exception and not the rule, the picture below tweeted recently by Liz Heron, Executive Editor at the Huffington Post, seems to spit in the face of this statistic.

HuffPost Editors Meeting Twitter Photo M Michelle Derosier

To answer Ms. Heron’s question, we notice much about this editors meeting. While we give kudos to the solid representation of women, we’re disturbed by the poor representation of people of color.

Even more disconcerting is the fact that in this room sits many who decide which stories are worth sharing and whose voices will tell them. In an organization that draws in more than 200 million unique visitors a month; she who controls whose story is told, shapes reader perception. For those who are saying that this group of women aren’t execs or CEOs and don’t move the financial needle of the company, remember that power can be just as much about who controls the narrative as about who controls the purse strings.

And that is at the heart of my issue with this photo. It’s such a vivid reminder that those climbing fastest or currently highest on the power pyramid – the key decision makers – rarely look anything like the changing American landscape. In 2014, nonwhites accounted for 38 percent of the U.S. population, but those who hold the power to shape multimillion dollar companies are barely a blip on the radar.

An article posted, ironically, on the Huffing Post found just over 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs in 2014 were minorities, a classification including African-Americans, Asians, and Latin-Americans.

To underscore the significance of the power of those in control of the finances as an example, according to Fortune magazine: “In total, the Fortune 500 companies account for $12.5 trillion in revenues, $945 billion in profits, $17 trillion in market value and employ 26.8 million people worldwide.”

Whether 100, 250, or 500 – whatever the Fortune ranking of companies of total revenues for their respective fiscal year – minority representation in key leadership roles is practically nonexistent.

With so few minorities governing the path of these companies, our collective power to see real change that will elevate the social economic status of the masses and not just the few, is significantly diminished.

While we should celebrate–loudly–the people of color who make it into the door; we should never be satisfied with diversity in just the cubicles. We need equal representation at the decision tables. We can start with one voice, then push for two, and continue for three. However, may we never stop until companies such as the Huffington Post are tweeting photos that represent a racially and culturally diverse group of decision makers.

 

 

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What Do You *Really* Need From Your Career?

What do you really need from your career? mmderosier.wordpress.com

Not the cursory responses that most people spit out when asked: money, health benefits, 401k. To be clear, I am not turning my nose up at these perks. On the contrary, they’re great, and should be appreciated. But when I think about the statistics below from a 2014 Gallop report, I can’t help but wonder what thought (if any) goes into deciding what one needs from a career.

  • The average American work week is now 47 hours
  • 21% of full-time U.S. employees work 50 to 59 in a typical week
  • Only 13 percent of workers actually enjoy going to work

Is money the highest need? It could be. But if it is, why are so many spending such a huge chunk of their lives miserable? Is it that the money is not enough? Or is the money enough but there’s nothing else about the work that brings satisfaction?

I can’t answer these questions for everyone else, but I had to answer them for me. And what I found was that my career needs generally fall into these five categories, in order of importance:

1. Glorify God. This means work that won’t ask me to compromise my morals. As Mark 8:36 says, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

2. Impact a greater mission. Especially when my work equips others to better support those lacking opportunities. Opportunity to eat. Opportunity to be safe. Opportunity to be educated. Opportunity to seek a better future.

3. My voice is valued. Working in an environment where my input and contributions are clearly appreciated and not just tolerated.

4. Flexibility. The archaic mindset that good work can only happen when employees punch a clock in, sit in a cubicle for 8 hours, and punch a clock out, doesn’t encourage creativity and innovation. And that kind of environment is not where I will be happy for long.

5. Money. Yes, it does matter. It doesn’t rule my decision, but it is a determining factor when considering an offer. I read a great quote recently that says, “When you learn how much you’re worth, you’ll stop giving people discounts.” I learned my worth long ago and make no apologies for expecting to be compensated according to the value that I bring to the team.

To return to my original question: What do you *really* need from your career?

Maybe it’s better work-life balance. Maybe it’s a clear path towards growth. Maybe it’s a continued creative outlet. Whatever it is, take the time to think it through if you haven’t already. And once you’ve done so, let those needs be the guiding principles for seeking and choosing your career opportunities. Most of us have to work, that’s the reality of today’s economy. But we don’t have to approach it with dread. The closer we are to a job that fulfills our top career needs, the less likely we are to spend our days upset and daydreaming about quitting.

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After College Office Hours

In my first post I referenced Levo League. For those who don’t know, Levo League is a helpful community with “tools to develop your talent, build connections with peers, mentors, and jobs, and stay inspired day in and day out as you grow and develop.” For me, the gem of Levo is Office Hours. These are live half-hour video chats with professionals representing a wide spectrum of careers. The videos are then archived for continued access.

I spent part of today’s lunch hour with Edith Cooper, EVP and Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs. The interview was full of helpful takeaways, but one thought in particular most resonated with me. (12:50 into the video) Someone asked her where she sees young women struggling the most when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder. Her response was not surprising, but sad. She talked about encountering young women at GS with resumes so impressive that she was in awe. These were very capable and intelligent young women hired for their their ability to be leaders in their fields, yet when she observed those same women in work situations where their leadership should have been evident, they appeared to lack confidence.

As someone who has spent years struggling with owning the power of her voice, I know exactly what she means.

Click Levo Office Hours with Edith Cooper to listen and then come back and discuss.

 



office hours with Edith Cooper

 

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Happy International Women’s Day

#HappyInternationalWomensDay

Although not planned, how fitting that I should launch my blog on #IWD2015. According to Women’s Day, IWD is an important day to celebrate women’s social, economic & political achievements while calling for greater equality.

This year’s #MakeItHappen theme is surprisingly timely and appropriate as I celebrate the decision to finally make happen my idea to become a consultant. With over 10 years experience engaging communities to empower and provide opportunities for at-risk students and adults in crisis, I am well positioned to help organizations create and/or formalize their process for employees to do good while doing well. #DoGoodDoWell #DoWellDoGood

Thanks in part to the encouragement from perfect strangers at the Levo League (NYC) #GetBigThingsDone event last month, I was able to publicly declare my goal to get this big thing done this year.

The leaders of the #GetBigThingsDone movement espouse the concept of Connectional Intelligence. As they describe it, Connectional Intelligence is the ability to combine knowledge, ambition and human capital, forging connections on a global scale that create unprecedented value and meaning.

As I embark on this journey to get this big goal done, I hope to forge connections with readers like you who are also working to achieve a professional or personal goal this year. As well as strengthen the connections with my existing support system of incredible women and men.

What “It” do you intend to make happen this year? What “BIG THING” do you intend to get done? How can I or someone else help?

 

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