Diversity as a Competitive Advantage

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A collage of multi-colored crayons

By Jawn Lam, Ed.D. and Le Anne Harper

You may have heard this adage: “Problems can’t be solved by using the same kind of thinking that created them.” When we apply this principle to organizational workforce planning, it means a perpetual stream of fresh perspectives is an absolute must if businesses want to stay agile in a dynamic market. Accordingly, talent management strategies should proactively seek diverse perspectives. This concept intuitively feels right, however, it isn’t always easily accomplished. Let’s take a deeper dive into the business case for diversity to understand why attracting and inspiring new perspectives is a true competitive advantage in a competitive marketplace.

Contention Can Be a Good Thing
A study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Stanford showed that heterogeneous groups generate more ideas than their homogeneous counterparts do. But the upside doesn’t stop there. Creativity is only one advantage of a diverse team. The researchers found the two types of groups tackled problems differently, not only with the number of proposed ideas for final implementation but also in their approach to the initial analysis process.

Sure, a group of like-minded individuals can work more economically and produce deliverables more quickly than a motley crew can. When you and your colleagues are synchronized in your work style and thinking patterns, it’s easier to distribute workloads and trust the outcome will be as you expect. Familiarity has benefits. It reduces stress and puts everyone at ease. But there’s a tradeoff to that amiability.

Among groups of like-minded individuals, the study identified the following common behavioral pattern. When someone has an idea (on how to approach the analysis or solve the problem), everyone else quickly agrees. No one else questions. There is little, if any, contention. And if there is no contention, there can be no synthesis. And without the synthesis of thoughts, there will only ever be one perspective. Innovation cannot grow in that type of infertile ground.

Authentic Innovation
Collaborating with people who have similar values, priorities, and perspectives will reduce cognitive friction in our workflow. It’s much easier to interface with an agreeable clique. There are appropriate times for those types of monolithic groups. When speed and efficiency are of paramount importance, such as times of crisis, you want a well-trained team that operates like a deployed special forces unit.

Typically, the introduction of new members into a group jostles the dynamic, making working in a diverse group more cognitively expensive. The costs come in the form of the lag and debate that emerge as interpretations and interests are tested and argued as a result of this divergent thinking. The natural reaction to the dissonance felt in polarized settings is to raise shields and adopt a stance of self-preservation. However, over time, the interactions will find a steady state as long as we take a step back from the intensity of emotionally uncomfortable scenarios. We can then reap the benefits of heterogeneous groups: robust ideation, more authentic social connection, and innovation.

There is a misconception that new members are the fountain of fresh perspectives for a stale group, but the researchers discovered this is not always the case. Still, while new members may not be the sole source of novel ideas, they are often the catalyst that unlocks everyone else’s stagnant creative juices.

The Collective vs. The Individual
Knowing this, let’s embrace the value of our differences and exploit their advantages for our collective benefit rather than conforming to existing corporate norms. Magic happens when we all accept that there is not a single person in the organization (no matter how smart or how high in the org chart) who has a monopoly on truth or genius. Once we accept that no one individual will ever be as good as the collective “us”, then we can level up our organizational capabilities.

Companies that want to win the race aren’t leaving this to chance. They’re engaging external experts to facilitate diversity transformations, including educating the C-suite and gaining buy-in, training and empowering line managers and their HR partners to drive cultural change. In our in-house work building D&I programs in corporate America and external consulting, we’ve seen companies make deep and meaningful commitments to diversity and inclusion that extend well beyond legal compliance and positive PR. Some companies are creating D&I programs from scratch and others are creating headcount to ensure company-wide, ongoing diversity inculcation.

Many of our clients realize the practical value of this diversity work and engage us strategically to advance their internal efforts. In recent years, entertainment companies have come under fire for inaccurate casting choices (aka whitewashing) and stereotypical, derogatory depictions of various minority groups. They leveraged our expertise to identify and introduce them to diverse creative professionals from under-represented talent pools who could add authentic first-person legitimacy to their narratives. In less than 3 months we found more than one hundred film, television, and digital creatives who represented new possibilities for one studio client—LGBTQ, female, LatinX, and African American perspectives. With a bold, but simple, commitment, an exclusive hiring legacy was disrupted, horizons were broadened, and the studio’s trajectory changed for the better.

Tangible Benefits
This studio’s leadership recognized that far beyond diversity being just a “politically correct” value to embrace, this was an investment in tangible revenue opportunities. According to the MPAA’s 2018 report, per capita movie attendance in 2017 was highest among Latinx and Asian audiences. At the time, the highest-grossing superhero movie ever was Black Panther; this record-setting film, with a predominantly black cast, cost approximately $200 million to make and grossed more than $1.3 billion to date. Further validating the viewing audience’s appetite for diverse perspectives, Frozen II, Disney’s animated sequel featuring two female leads, has grossed more than $1.2B in the months since its release.

Well trained leaders and industry experts know how to draw out the mixed experiences of each individual on the team to everyone’s advantage. Helping each person understand where everyone else is coming from requires more time and patience, but the ROI is well worth it. Companies are finally capitalizing on the profound financial and business benefits offered by well-managed diversity efforts.

Leveraging Your Diversity
Left unmanaged, differences in education level, economic status, gender, race, cultural background, upbringing, personal value systems, and a variety of other factors can become reasons for division or excuses to maintain the status quo. However, with the right internal framework, organizational awareness, and leadership support, those diversity dimensions can instead become compelling competitive advantages that lead to greater organizational performance.
If you’re ready to take a closer look at how effectively you’re leveraging diversity as a competitive advantage, here are some questions for you to consider:
● Legal compliance is the price of admission for companies to stay in the game. What does  your company do above and beyond what’s mandatory to enable and inspire new ideas  and drive innovation?
● If you assess each business unit in your organization, how balanced and varied is the mix  of perspectives? What can you do to shape your line manager’s practices, beliefs, and  comfort levels around diversity to ensure maximum performance and contribution of  everyone on the team?
● How well-equipped are your leaders to identify, attract, and retain diverse and under- represented talent?
● Do your brand and marketing efforts convey a commitment to inclusive hiring?
● What existing internal resources, external advisors, and best practices can you leverage to  evolve your company’s diversity efforts and ensure long-term viability and competitive  advantage?

Jawn Lam is an organizational effectiveness consultant with expertise in change management and leadership development who helps companies strengthen their vulnerable corporate governance policies. His professional passion is helping leaders navigate enterprise politics, obtain legitimate authority, and sustain organizational influence which he does as Principal Strategist at DurableLeadership.com.

Le Anne Harper leads the Diversity & Inclusion practice at Katalyst Group, a talent advisory firm that finds unicorns and purple squirrels for industry-leading companies like The Gap, Samsung, Nike, and Sony. She is a talent consultant and diversity evangelist who has spent 20 years helping companies transform and thrive by recruiting and cultivating the world’s best talent.

Successful Pet Butler ‘Entre-manures’ Showcase Franchisor’s Strong Potential for Growth

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Rebecca Stewart stands outside in front of her Pet Butler work vehicle

(ATLANTA, Georgia)-Rebecca Stewart was home one night watching “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” a former CNBC show that highlighted American business success stories. This particular episode featured Pet Butler, which provided “poo-fessional” pet-waste cleanup and removal services to residential and commercial customers. “Why didn’t I think of that?” thought Stewart, who came from a family of entrepreneurs and was in need of a change from her job in Corporate America.

            That was more than a decade ago and in 2008, Stewart did, indeed, become Pet Butler’s first franchisee in Georgia. In 2017, Spring-Green Enterprises (SGE) acquired the brand and it has been reinvesting in its marketing, technology and operational support systems, culminating in a modernized model designed to deliver a profitable, recurring-revenue business that caters to pets and their people.

Pet Butler is positioned for nationwide growth, especially in the Atlanta market, where Stewart serves clients in DeKalb and Fulton counties and Vinings in Cobb County. She has been one of Pet Butler’s top-performing franchisees ever since she left behind her 22-year career as a systems programmer analyst in 2006 before opening her Pet Butler franchise two years later. Working hard to build a new business was never an issue, given the history of entrepreneurism in the Stewart family and the skills and values learned growing up in a small town. “We work hard for ourselves and that’s earned us loyalty and respect in our community,” Stewart said. “I left IT because I wanted to be my own boss and create my own hours. In IT I was meticulous and that translated well to pet-waste removal. We are very attentive to the clients we serve and pride ourselves on our customer service.”

Pet Butler offers large, protected territories that foster scalable growth, which has helped make the brand No. 1 in the “No. 2” business for thousands of clients across North America. Roughly 85 million U.S. families, or 67 percent of households, own a pet, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). In the U.S., pets include 90 million dogs and 94 million cats. In 2018, pet services accounted for $72.56 billion spent and was estimated to grow to $75.38 billion in 2019.

Stewart’s team provides pet-waste cleanup services to private residences, parks and multi-family properties of all kinds. Pet Butler also offers cat litter box swaps/cleanouts, onsite empty-clean-refill or sift out-top off cleanouts, as well as installation and service of commercial pet-waste stations. Pet Butler follows preventive safety measures during the novel coronavirus pandemic that include wearing personal protective equipment, sanitizing vehicles between jobs and practicing social distancing. “Pet owners have become very aware of the services we provide and appreciate the convenience that Pet Butler provides,” Stewart said. “We are seen as more of a necessity than a luxury.”

About Pet Butler

Pet Butler Franchise was acquired in 2017 by Spring-Green Enterprises, the parent company of +43 years old Spring-Green Lawn Care and SGE Marketing Services. They currently have 30 franchisees located in 26 states with long term plans to open 60 more within the next 5 years. Pet Butler provides an opportunity for pet lovers to turn their passion for pets into a business. To learn more about how Pet Butler serves pets and their people, visit www.petbutler.com and connect on Facebook and LinkedIn. To inquire about a franchise call 844-777-8608 or go to www.petbutlerfranchise.com

This Black-Owned Business Defied the Odds of COVID-19

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Shontay Lundy holding a bottle of Black Girl Sunscreen

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the United States, business owner Shontay Lundy refused to let her company suffer the economic devastations that could come.

Lundy owns a small sunscreen company called Black Girl Sunscreen, which is run by five people. Now, as businesses begin to open back up in the United States, Lundy has successfully secured a million-dollar investment from a private female funding source.

Lundy founded Black Girl Sunscreen in 2016 when she decided that the world needed a sunscreen that specifically catered to women of color. The sunscreen uses all-natural ingredients, avoids harmful chemicals and is made to apply without streaking. The company has accumulated much success since it opened in 2016, but Lundy knew the company had to improve their strategy in the face of a pandemic, as businesses owned by women of color are given very little funding.

The Black Girl Sunscreen team decided that the best way to keep business afloat was to boost the company’s social media presence and marketing strategy, working overtime to accomplish their goals. Since this improvement, Black Girl Sunscreen received a tremendous boost in online sales, persuading them to release a new product in the near future.

The sunscreen company’s marketing campaign for an inclusive sunscreen has also earned Black Girl Sunscreen a full-time spot on Target’s shelves in 200 locations, the only indie product to be carried at all times by the chain. The company currently sells an SPF 30 sunscreen and an SPF 50 sunscreen for children.

The Co-Founder of Reddit Resigns to Support Racial Diversity

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Alexis Ohanian-Serena pictured at HBO event

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and husband to professional tennis player Serena Williams, has resigned from his position at Reddit to persuade the company to hire a black candidate to take his place.

In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, prominent subreddit pages, such as “The Donald,” posted derogatory and racist content toward black people.

While social media platforms are usually able to monitor and ban this kind of content, according to the company’s hate speech policy, the posts remained and were promoted on Reddit remained. In outrage, many popular subreddit pages privatized and blocked new content from being posted as a form of protest. Many called for Steve Huffman, co-founder and CEO of Reddit, to fix the policy including former CEO Ellen Pao.

Ohanian, desiring to better the platform, posted on Twitter on June 5, just two days after the Reddit protests began, and resigned from the company in favor of hiring a black candidate to take his place.

“I’m saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?’” Ohanian tweeted.

In addition, Ohanian has pledged to use any profit he makes in Reddit stocks to serve the black community, starting with one million dollars donated to Colin Kaepernick’s Foundation.

Huffman responded that he will be honoring Ohanian’s request and will be working to change their policies to specifically address hate. “I want to take responsibility for the history of our policies over the years that got us here,” Huffman stated, “and we still have work to do.”

These Companies are Stepping Up in the Fight for Racial Equality

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a person writing word Inequality on glass board

When it comes to encouraging diversity, especially during the Black Lives Matter movement, here are some of the companies that are supporting racial equality.

Bank of America

On June 2, Bank of America announced they will be pledging one billion dollars toward community programs and minority-owned businesses over the course of four years. The money was pledged in response to both the death of George Floyd and the impacts of COVID-19. Bank of America hopes this money will further help minority-owned businesses thrive, improve health services in Black communities, and open up positions for more bank employees.

Uber

To encourage its users to support black-owned businesses in response to George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter Movement, Uber has announced that it will be waiving all delivery fees coming from black-owned restaurants in the United States and Canada. This process will begin on June 5 and continue throughout the rest of the year. Uber has also stated they are planning to create an initiative specifically designed to aid black-owned restaurants, as well as other businesses.

Additionally, Uber has pledged to create more diversity within their employees.

UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group is donating a pledged ten million dollars to help the neighborhoods of Minneapolis rebuild any damage taken in response to the protests. This will include five million of those dollars being donated to the YMCA Equity Innovation Center of Excellence.

UnitedHealth Group has also pledged to pay for all of George Floyd’s children to go to college when the time comes.

Disney

Disney will be donating five million dollars to companies that stand for social justice, including the NAACP, which Disney has pledged two million dollars to. Disney employees are also encouraged to donate to social justice causes, as Disney has promised to match any donation made by a Disney employee.

P & G

The umbrella company for brands, such as Tide and Olay, P & G has created the “Take on Race” fund that will be distributing five million dollars to organizations that will advance education on race, better communities, and improve all healthcare systems. The fund will be working directly with large and small organizations, such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the United Negro College Fund, and Courageous Conversation.

Your Custom Catering & Events: Feeding Those in Need

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nattiel turner seated outside on bench near businesses

By Sarah Jester

The impact of COVID-19 on the catering and event industry cannot be overstated. Gatherings all across the world have been delayed or canceled for the months ahead, leaving many businesses scrambling. However, many have pivoted their business strategy to serve others in this time of need, like Certified LGBTBE® Your Custom Catering & Events. The Charlotte, NC-based catering and events firm has partnered with a local nonprofit to help give back to the community.

“During COVID-19 we had to cancel or move more than 30 events to date due to government mandates and closures,” explained founder Nattiel Turner. “We partnered up with a non-profit, Hearts Beat as One, to feed children that were food insecure due to school closures in the most impoverished zip codes and also families of those laid off due to bar and restaurant closures.”

Turner’s business normally caters events like weddings and corporate affairs, as well as institutional catering for schools, crisis centers, and nonprofits. Now, they are feeding hundreds of children and families every day at multiple locations.

“The donations and grants to Hearts Beat as One cover the product needed and payroll for the staff working to prepare meals,” said Turner. “While we are not profitable, we are sustained and our employees can continue to support their families.”

Turner worked in management in the hospitality industry before going on to found Your Custom Catering & Events in 2012, which was LGBTBE certified in 2019. Through LGBTBE certification, he has opened up numerous opportunities for his business.

“I have been able to leverage corporate and non-profit contracting for both event and institutional catering,” he explained.

When asked what was unique about Your Custom Catering & Events, Turner cited the individuality of their business-client relationships.

“Each client is viewed as unique and we avoid a cookie cutter approach meeting each client where they are and meeting their individual needs,” he said. “We are able to offer a tailored approach and source food from local providers while keeping our costs at a minimum.”

Through his business, Turner aspires to create a foundation to help alleviate the effects of food insecurity through partnerships with local farmers to increase community access to fresh food, in addition to cooking classes for children and young adults. He had some key advice to offer to those with similar goals, as well as aspiring LGBT entrepreneurs.

“Surround yourself with a network that can help guide you in the beginning,” said Turner. “Accounting, marketing, suppliers, etc. Do not be afraid to screw up and be criticized as you move toward your dream.”

Have you repurposed your business to aid with relief efforts related to the spread of COVID-19? Click here to submit your story.

For additional ways to help you, your business, and the LGBT community during this time, visit the NGLCC COVID-19 Resource Hub for the LGBT Business Community.

The Cutting Edge Elite: Supplying Staffing & Hope When Needed Most

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The Cutting Edge Staff outsde witth a lake in the background in group photo

By Sarah Jester

COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, putting many small businesses on pause. However, some of these businesses have been able to repurpose their missions and resources to contribute to significant relief efforts. Headquartered in New York City, Certified LGBTBE® The Cutting Edge Elite, Inc. (CEE) is doing just that!

Founded by Nathan Perry & Lucas Mendieta, CEE is a staffing agency that offers a wide variety of residential, promotional, catering, and event services, as well as field project staffing and project coordination. As most events in major cities have been put on hold or delayed to uphold social distancing, CEE was left with a dedicated team that was ready to help out in a time of crisis.

“During these difficult times we believe it is everyone’s duty to contribute where they can,” Perry explained to NGLCC. “For over a decade, CEE has deployed event staff and leaders who are experts in fast moving, chaotic environments, that are both complicated and stressful. They trained in courses for skills as well as emotional intelligence. And they flourished as bonded and powerful teams. That experience is now critical.

The team’s experience is now being put to use in CEE’s newly minted Relief Division.

“We have developed the Relief Division to offer their expertise during crisis, at-cost,” said Perry. “To have maximum impact. To support the success of others. And to keep our people working. And we partnered with medical professionals to ensure this is done safely.”

CEE is now offering relief staffing and direct hire for relief projects that are taking place in various areas. Some of these projects include food preparation, packaging, and delivery, assistance with wellness checks, facility checks, urgent errands, labor support, and remote project coordination. In other words, as Perry puts it, the CEE team is ready and available for all “ad-hoc relief efforts based on client needs.”

NGLCC

LGBTBEs like CEE are stepping up to support relief efforts throughout the nation, especially in hard-hit New York City. This further underscores why it is imperative that the City of New York finally include NGLCC Certified LGBTBEs in citywide contracting opportunities.

As many small business owners know, teamwork lies in the core of success. CEE is no exception to this belief. Perry told NGLCC he was most proud of “building an employee-empowering, shame-free institution in multiple cities.”

As for the benefits of being a Certified LGBTBE® in times like these, Perry points to the NGLCC network as a point of connection.

“The NGLCC has provided numerous opportunities for learning, growth, networking, identifying partners as well as valued mentorship and personal relationships,” he said.

“My first job when I moved to New York City over a decade ago was with Cutting Edge Elite. Back then it was just a handful of young employees and two courageous, young entrepreneurs with a vision.  As their company grew into one of the most respected staffing and event companies in the region, so too did their commitment to giving back.  CEE regularly donates staff, money, time, and essential resources to nonprofits, including many that support LGBTQ youth. I am not at all surprised to see CEE’s leadership on display through their Relief Division efforts. I am so proud to have CEE in the NGLCC family, and to call Lucas and Nathan treasured friends and colleagues,” said NGLCC Senior Vice President Jonathan Lovitz.

Need assistance with a relief project? Visit ceenyc.com to connect with CEE staff.

For additional ways to help you, your business, and the LGBT community during this time, visit the NGLCC COVID-19 Resource Hub for the LGBT Business Community.

Magic Johnson will provide $100 million to fund loans to minority-owned businesses

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Magic Johnson in a business suit

Magic Johnson may no longer be playing in the NBA, but the Hall of Fame member is still making valuable assists. Johnson announced that EquiTrust Life Insurance Co., of which he owns a majority, is providing $100 million in capital to fund federal loans for minority and women business owners who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

EquiTrust will work with MBE Capital Partners, a lender that specializes in asset-based loans for minority-owned small businesses, to distribute the loans through the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

The loans are aimed at supporting people of color and women who operate businesses in underserved communities, according to a news release.

The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

“These are incredible businesses, small businesses, that have been the pillar of our community that also employ a lot of black and brown people in our community,” Johnson said Sunday on MSNBC. “… We wanted to make sure that minority-owned businesses got small business loans through the PPP program.”

Concerns about people of color accessing loans

The partnership was borne out of a concern that women and people of color were having difficulty accessing the loans offered by the Small Business Administration’s emergency coronavirus relief program — part of the federal government’s massive stimulus package.

“Johnson’s EquiTrust is providing critical financial support to underserved communities and businesses that have been traditionally neglected,” EquiTrust and MBE Capital Partners said in a joint news release. “These small and diverse businesses often have difficulty developing strong lending relationships with big banks.”

The goal is to help 100,000 businesses secure resources that will sustain them through the pandemic, MBE Capital CEO Rafael Martinez said on MSNBC.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

Meet Brittney Nicole: Navy Veteran Turned Fashion Entrepreneur

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A clothes rack filled with women's coats

Transitioning from military life back into civilian life is a challenge for any veteran. While there are many different approaches in choosing a career, one U.S. Navy Veteran decided that she would approach her career choice by following her passions.

Always having a love for fashion, Brittney Nicole decided to open her own clothing business, Coco’s Wardrobe, upon her retirement from the U.S. Navy.  The New Orleans based boutique designs, manufactures, and sells women’s clothing that is meant to look as good as they feel, blending comfort with style. All of the clothing in Nicole’s shop has a women’s desire to feel confident and comfortable at the forefront of everything that is produced.

In addition, Nicole has also began selling uniquely designed face masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meet UCLA’s First African American Athletic Director

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Martin Jarmond in a suit speaking at a conference

Martin Jarmond, the first and most recent athletic director at Boston College and the youngest director to ever be in the Power Five Conferences, will be breaking another record with his newest position.

On May 17, it was announced that Martin Jarmond will become the new athletic director of UCLA. This will make Jarmond the first African American man to hold the position in the school’s 101-year history.

Having an extensive background in sports both on the court and in his studies, Jarmond has quickly been able to move up the ladder of sports administration and is speculated to be the perfect fit to help UCLA fix the financial debt of the previous year’s $18.9 million deficit.

Continue on to the L.A. Times’ Website to read the complete article.

Photo Credit: Stephen Senne/Associated Press

United Airlines appoints First African American President

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Brett J. Hart headshot

Chicago based United Airlines announced Brett J. Hart as the company’s President. The number two leadership role being filled by Mr. Hart is part of the company’s leadership succession plan that was announced in early December.

“I am honored and energized as I take on these new responsibilities to lead this incredible team that I am convinced will build United into a thriving industry leader,” Hart said. “The path forward will not be easy, but I am confident that Scott and I will continue our partnership to lead United through the extraordinary challenge posed by COVID-19. United’s bright future is only possible because of the commitment of the most talented airline professionals in the world who serve United and our customers every single day – and I could not be prouder of them.

Hailing from the southside of Chicago Brett J. Hart was educated at the University of Michigan and received a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Chicago Law School. Hart is the first African American to become President of United Airlines in the airline’s 94-year history.

Hart was a partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago. Before that, he served as a special assistant to the general counsel at the U.S. Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C. Later he would go on to work for the Sara Lee Corporation as the executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, where he directed global legal operations. Hart joined United Airlines in 2010. Over his 10-year career with United Hart has taken on significant responsibilities within the company. Hart has previously worked as Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for the company. In 2015 he stepped in and served as interim CEO for six months while the then CEO Munoz recovered from a heart transplant.

As President of United, Hart will continue to lead the company’s public advocacy strategy, including the Government Affairs, Corporate Communications, Legal and Community Engagement teams. He will also continue to oversee business-critical functions like the Corporate Real Estate team and manage United’s industry-leading environmental sustainability efforts. His responsibilities will expand to include managing the Human Resources and Labor Relations teams.

Hart taking this position comes as he, along with other executives, are waiving their salaries for a time as the company struggles financially. Like others in the airline industry, United is trying to deal with the losses from Covid-19.

Continue on to Chicago Defender to read the complete article.

Meet the Companies that are Scoring 100% on the Equality Index

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A man fixing his rainbow striped tie representing equality

The Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index has become the nation’s standard for recording the best LGBTQ+ companies in the nation. The Index measures companies on how well they are implementing LGBTQ+ inclusion on a basis of non-discrimination policies, employee benefits and public company support of the community.

This year, there were 1059 companies that demonstrated success in all these categories, but earning a 100% on all of these fronts is considered an especially incredible accomplishment. Of the few companies to score a 100 on the index, Ingram Micro, a technological information distributor, has officially become one of the companies to achieve this goal.

Based in Irvine, California, Ingram Micro has been working with the HRC’s index since 2011. Through this process, Ingram Micro has recorded that using this index has helped them to understand how to make improvements for the LGBTQ+ community while ensuring that their company is more inclusive to all of their employees.

In this last year, Ingram Micro has demonstrated their support for the LGBTQ+ community publicly through donations, participation in LGBTQ+ supportive events, and advocation.

Other companies that have received a 100% on this front include Amazon, IKEA, Hewlett Packard, Sony, and Nationwide.

How Sean Combs is Supporting and Protecting Small Businesses

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Sean Combs "Diddy" headshot

On April 23, Sean Combs, previously known as “Diddy” in the music industry, released his newest project, Our Fair Share, which aims to help minority-owned businesses obtain the materials needed to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

A benefit that primarily goes to businesses that have the proper “connections,” Combs wants to ensure the small businesses that we love and depend on have the same opportunities as the bigger corporations.
“COVID-19 is devastating our communities, and without access to stimulus funding, we risk losing critical businesses that create jobs and help build opportunities and wealth in our communities,” said Combs. “I created Our Fair Share to help entrepreneurs play on an even playing field and give them a chance to survive with the hope to thrive.”

To do this, Combs’ new program has teamed up with National Bankers Association, a group that represents minority-owned financial institutions. Through Our Fair Share, the National Bank Association can connect their clients to financial technology companies that will be able to provide the PPP materials and loans needed.

To learn more about Our Fair Share, its origin, and its purposes, click here for the full press release.

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*Please be sure to check event websites for latest updates on postponements or cancellations due to COVID-19 precautions.

Upcoming Events

  1. NOBLE’s 44th Annual Training Conference & Exhibit
    July 24, 2020 - July 29, 2020
  2. Women in Federal Law Enforcement Leadership Training
    August 3, 2020 - August 6, 2020
  3. National Society of Black Engineers 46th Annual Convention
    August 19, 2020 - August 23, 2020
  4. 2020 American Society for Health Care Human Resources Association Event
    August 22, 2020 - August 25, 2020
  5. Blacks in Government (BIG) 42nd Annual National Training Institute
    August 24, 2020 - August 27, 2020
  6. NFBPA: A Construct for Change Forum 2020
    October 8, 2020 - October 13, 2020
  7. HBCU Career Development Marketplace
    November 10, 2020 - November 12, 2020