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Also Featuring… Front-Runner Shirley Davis of SHRM • Black Leaders Leading • Linda Jimenez • Catalyst

Cover Shot

Volume 10, Number 1

January / February 2008
12.95 U.S.


january / february 2008 • VOLUME 10 NUMBER 1
WE Will not bE part of

Generation XXL.
Chairman and CEO
George C. Halvorson
We b e l i e ve yo u ’re n e ve r to o yo u n g to l e a rn t h e i m p o rt a n c e o f b a l a n c e . T h a t b o d i e s
Guiding Kaiser Permanente
yearn for both cupcakes and kickball. At Kaiser Permanente, we’re committed to
h e l p i n g f i n d t h a t b a l a n c e t h ro u g h e xe rc i s e a n d n u t ri t i o n a l p ro g ra m s . L e a rn m o re a t k p . o rg
through the Turbulent Waters
of the Health Care Industry
True Power Is Wielded Quietly.
When I look in the eyes of the people,
I feel their arms
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Every day is a gift
and I never forget that.
My dream is to help others
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True Power Is Wielded Quietly.
When I look in the eyes of the people,
I feel their arms
wrapped around me.
Every day is a gift
and I never forget that.
My dream is to help others
achieve their dreams.

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New Features James R. Rector

Launch Us into 2008 John S. Murphy


Cheri Morabito

Damian Johnson
Let’s start the year with a cocktail party, okay? Well, maybe not a real cocktail
Laurel L. Fumic
party, but a virtual one filled with interesting people. That’s what our feature CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Black Leaders Leading reminds me of. Alina Dunaeva

O verseas C orrespondent

We decided to honor Black History Month by profiling more than two dozen Jason Bice
black leaders in much the same way as we present our popular Women Worth
Watching feature. Readers tell us that they love the personal profiles that accom-
pany the women’s mentoring essays. We do, too. And we think (as you move about
Commentaries or questions should be
our virtual cocktail party) that you will be especially engaged by the backgrounds,
addressed to: Profiles in Diversity Journal,
thoughts, and experiences of the leaders profiled in Black Leaders Leading. Each is
P.O. Box 45605, Cleveland, OH 44145-0605.
someone I’d like to meet in person. All correspondence should include author’s
full name, address, e-mail and phone number.
We’re also introducing three new opinion features you’ll enjoy. These columns
offer individual perspectives of longtime diversity practitioners. Contributors in- DISPLAY ADVERTISING

clude Carlton Yearwood, chief ethics and diversity officer of Waste Management, Profiles in Diversity Journal
Inc.; the American Institute for Managing Diversity, Inc., with founder Dr. R. Gemini Towers #1
1991 Crocker Road, Suite 320
Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. and President Melanie Harrington; and Linda Jimenez, chief
Westlake, OH 44145
diversity officer and staff vice president—Diversity Leadership at WellPoint, Inc.
Tel: 440.892.0444
Fax: 440.892.0737
These columnists join Catalyst and Janet Crenshaw Smith of Ivy Planning
Group, two organizations whose insights are found in every issue of the magazine.
All are thought-leaders in the best sense of the word. SUBSCRIPTIONS

U.S. $49.95 one year / $89.95 two years;

Saving the best for last, be sure to read this month’s cover story on Kaiser in Canada, add $15 per year for postage.
Permanente. Chairman and CEO George C. Halvorson has assembled a team of Other foreign orders add $20 per year.
professionals who are advancing diversity and inclusion in an incredibly competi- U.S. funds only. Subscriptions can be ordered
tive industry, and they are doing it with flair. Kaiser Permanente’s diversity record at: www.diversityjournal.com or call
and culture, from its board to its physicians, is a model for large organizations to customer service at 800.573.2867 from
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST.
emulate. They are doing everything right, and we applaud them.
Enjoy the issue! Reprints:
John Murphy diversityjournaledit@mac.com
Managing Editor
Photos & Artwork:

 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

She co
anything she w uld be
ants at Sodex

Sodexho is Being Recognized as a Leader

2007: 2007 Innovations in Diversity – Profiles in Diversity Journal • 50 Best Companies for Latinas in 2007 – LATINA Style • Top
Company for Diversity – Hispanic Business • Top 15 Best Companies for Workforce Diversity – Black Enterprise Magazine •
Top 20 Companies for Women of Color – Working Mother Magazine • Top 50 Entry Level Employers – CollegeGrad.com • Top
Company for Diversity (#13) – DiversityInc • Top Company for African Americans (#9) – DiversityInc • Top 20 Companies for Asian
Pacific Americans – Asian Enterprise Magazine • Top 50 Companies for Supplier Diversity – Hispanic Trends Magazine • Five Star
Employer – U.S. Department of Defense

Sodexho proudly celebrates Black History Month.

Volume 10 • Number 1
January / February 2008


16 On the Cover / Special Feature

George C. Halvorson, Chairman
and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, is
directing the largest integrated
health system in the United States
by pushing forward bold, innovative
programs. We show you how he and
his team are doing it. 16
50 Front-Runner / Shirley Davis
Shirley Davis, Ph.D., is Director of
Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
at the Society for Human Resource
Management (SHRM). She shares the
story of her rise at SHRM and gives
us a look at how the organization is
serving its members.

60 Black Leaders Leading

More than two dozen business
leaders talk about those who
influenced them on their life’s
journey. Mini-interviews that will
open both minds and hearts.


 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008
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Volume 10 • Number 1
January / February 2008


8 Momentum
Diversity Who, What, Where and When

12 From My Perspective Intolerance is the True Enemy

by Linda Jimenez,
Chief Diversity Officer & Staff Vice President—Diversity Leadership,
WellPoint, Inc.

14 Catalyst
Do Visible Minorities in Corporate Canada Feel Included?
Read the results of a recent study.

48 My Turn Thoughts Through the Office Door…

by Carlton Yearwood,
Chief Ethics and Diversity Officer,
Waste Management, Inc.

58 Viewpoint The Journey of the Diversity Field

by American Institute for Managing Diversity, Inc.
Founder Dr. R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr.
and President Melanie Harrington

102 MicroTriggers
More Instruction Stories
from Janet Crenshaw Smith,
President, Ivy Planning Group, LLC.

 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

At UnitedHealth Group, unique is everywhere. In our approach to health care. Let us hear your unique voice in these careers available nationwide throughout
In each segment of our business. In every professional. In the career op- our family of businesses.
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ArvinMeritor Promotes Systems. Most recently, she served as Ms. Nigro is responsible for man-
Three Executives vice president of Corporate Strategy. aging all aspects of the broker/dealer
force including business development
Colleen Hanley and operations, supervision and suit-
Amelia Quelas
Colleen Hanley ability, sales and marketing support,
Amelia Quelas
has been appointed and commission processing for 6,000
has joined
vice president AXA Advisors financial professionals.
ArvinMeritor as
of Light Vehicle Ms. Nigro joined AXA Advisors
vice president
Systems (LVS) in May 2006. She has more than
and general man-
business and 20 years of experience in the financial
ager of trailers in
product strategy services industry. Before joining
the Commercial
Hanley at ArvinMeritor. AXA Advisors, Ms. Nigro was a
Quelas Vehicle Systems
She will lead vice president and director at JP
business group. She
strategic business planning, business Morgan Chase.
will lead the global commercial trailer
development, technical planning and Ms. Nigro earned a bachelor’s
business with a focus on performance
advanced marketing. Most recently, degree from Ithaca College. She holds
and profitability improvement. She
Hanley was senior director, LVS the FINRA Series 7, Series 24 and
will lead business process improve-
Communications, ArvinMeritor. Series 63 registrations.
ment initiatives, develop strategic
Under Hanley’s leadership, LVS is plans, drive market growth initiatives,
executing its Smart Systems product and manage customer relationships. ITT Names Robert Ellis Chief
strategy to leverage electronics and Most recently, Ms. Quelas was Inclusion and Diversity Officer
controls as a core competency. The responsible for Freightliner’s sales WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.—ITT
business unit provides body systems, and marketing efforts in Mexico and Corporation has named Robert L.
chassis and wheels to light vehicle Latin America. She has a master’s (Bob) Ellis as its Chief Inclusion
customers throughout the world. degree in systems analysis from and Diversity Officer. In this role,
CAECE University in Buenos Aires, Ellis, 56, will lead ITT’s Inclusion
Deborah Henderson Argentina, and a master’s degree in & Diversity Center of Excellence, a
Deborah management of information systems global initiative designed to foster
Henderson from UCLA. an inclusive employee environment
has been ap- that draws value from the diverse
pointed vice Christine Nigro Named backgrounds and talents of its work-
president and CIO, President of AXA Advisors, force. He succeeds Usha Wright,
ArvinMeritor. Broker/Dealer ITT’s first inclusion and diversity
She will focus on officer, who is retiring.
New York—Christine Nigro has
driving the trans- Ellis brings more than 25 years’
Henderson formation of its experience to this role. He joins
promoted to
global information systems (IS) or- ITT from Northrop Grumman,
President of AXA
ganization and improving control of where he established the strategic
Advisors, LLC, the
IS strategy. She will play a key role in diversity function for its Electronic
broker/dealer for
managing the company’s outsourcing Systems & Integration Division and
the retail distribu-
relationship with EDS. served as head of strategic diversity
tion channel of
Ms. Henderson has worked in for the Integrated Systems Sector for
Nigro AXA Equitable
positions of increasing responsibility eight years.
Life Insurance
since joining the company in January ITT also named Tomas Leal,
Company. Ms. Nigro will report to
2002, including site manager of the 54, and Amy Taney, 34, to two
Nick Lane, head of retail distribution
Detroit LVS facility, vice president newly created positions supporting
business platforms.
of Quality for LVS, and vice presi- the Inclusion & Diversity Center of
dent and general manager of Door Excellence. Leal joins ITT as direc-

 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

tor of global inclusion and diversity, and its professionals work together to Patricia L. Barbari Elected
based in Basingstoke, England. He provide clients access to global sup- Senior Vice President
will help integrate diversity strategies port and industry expertise. NEW YORK—
within ITT’s international facilities. New York
Leal brings to ITT more than 14 New York Life Appoints Life Insurance
years of global experience and joins Eileen Slevin Company has also
from BP, where he most recently Chief Information Officer announced that
served as regional diversity and inclu- Patricia L. Barbari
sion manager for Africa, the Middle has been elected
New York
East, Russia and the Caspian regions. a senior vice
Life Insurance Barbari
Ms. Taney, who has 12 years of president in the
Company has
service with ITT, was named manager Individual Policy Services (IPS) de-
announced that
of inclusion and diversity for North partment reporting to Executive Vice
Senior Vice
America. In this role, she will work President and Chief Administrative
President Eileen
closely with leaders across the United Officer Frank Boccio.
Slevin T. Slevin has been
States, Canada and Mexico to devel- Ms. Barbari is now responsible
elected Chief
op inclusion and diversity programs for the IPS department’s new busi-
Information Officer. She reports to
for these regions. Both Leal and ness operations for the Agency chan-
Executive Vice President and Chief
Ms. Taney will report to Bob Ellis. nel. She will retain responsibility for
Administrative Officer Frank Boccio.
Directing a staff of more than overseeing administrative services and
KPMG Names 134 New 1300 technology professionals in six agent contracting and licensing. In
Partners in Class of 2007 U.S. locations, Ms. Slevin is respon- addition, she has assumed responsibil-
NEW YORK—KPMG LLP, the U.S. sible for setting the strategic technol- ity for underwriting operations and
audit, tax and advisory firm, has ad- ogy direction of New York Life as annuity new business.
mitted 134 new partners for 2007, the leader of the company’s corporate Prior to joining New York Life in
according to an announcement by information department, which 1989 as a director in the corporate
Timothy P. Flynn, chairman and provides a wide range of technology quality department, Ms. Barbari was
chief executive. services for New York Life custom- the manager of the call center at a
“Our new partners come from ers, employees and agents. She also leading data processing firm in the
diverse cultural and professional back- has direct management responsibility advertising industry.
grounds, with more than one third for two other strategic areas of the Ms. Barbari has an MBA
of the new class comprised of women Company: business resilience and degree from Columbia University.
and ethnic minorities,” said Flynn. corporate Internet. She is a certified internal auditor
“This diversity further enhances Ms. Slevin joined New York and a registered principal for
KPMG’s culture and brings richer Life in 1977 and has held several NYLIFE Securities.
perspective to our clients.” top management positions. She has
KPMG’s respective practices are served two terms in the company’s Susan Cartledge Joins New
also well represented by the new class. Management Advisory Council and York Life International as
Of the total, 50 of the new partners currently is a steering committee Senior Vice President of HR
serve the audit practice; 38, the advi- member of New York Life’s Political NEW YORK—
sory practice; 44, tax; and 2, national Action Committee. Susan Cartledge
support services. KPMG’s U.S. part- Ms. Slevin received a bachelor’s has joined
nership now totals 1,837 partners degree from Herbert H. Lehman New York Life
with the addition of the 2007 class. College, City University of New York, International
KPMG LLP’s total employment is and has been a member of the Health (NYLI) as senior
approximately 23,000. The firm has Insurance Association of America vice president of
93 offices across the United States, (HIAA) since 1979. Cartledge the human re-

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l january/February 2008 
sources department. Ms. Cartledge is Coles will be responsible for United Skinner’s leadership, the company
responsible for all aspects of NYLI’s States and international store op- grew its store portfolio and acceler-
human resources activities, includ- erations and store development, the ated the opening of drive-thru stores
ing talent management, compensa- Global Consumer Products Group as well as the expansion into under-
tion and benefits, human resources and supply chain operations. developed markets. Ms. Skinner will
consulting, and recruiting. She will Coles brings significant global re- now be responsible for overseeing the
oversee the personnel activities in the tail experience having served as presi- U.S. business, including retail and
eight markets of operation, which in- dent, Starbucks Coffee International, foodservice operations.
clude Argentina, China, Hong Kong, since 2004. Prior to joining
India, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan Starbucks, he served as president and Burger King Appoints Robert
and Thailand. CEO of Reebok International. His Perkins to New Position
Ms. Cartledge earned a bach- experience also includes senior man-
MIAMI – Burger King Corp. (NYSE:
elor’s degree from University of agement positions at Nike, Gateway,
BKC) has announced the appoint-
Wolverhampton, in Wolverhampton, and at one of PepsiCo’s U.S. bottling
ment of Robert Perkins as vice presi-
England, and a master’s degree operations. Coles also served in vari-
dent, inclusion and talent manage-
from University of Portsmouth, in ous management roles for Procter &
ment. In this newly created position,
Portsmouth, England. She currently Gamble, both in the U.K. and the
Perkins will oversee BKC’s internal
resides in New York City. United States.
and external inclusion strategies, and
New York Life International of- As part of the realignment, other
be responsible for ensuring progress
fers insurance and asset accumulation key appointments
against objectives in each of the com-
products through its subsidiaries and include long-time
pany’s inclusion pillars. These four
affiliates in Argentina, China, Hong Starbucks part-
pillars consist of workforce, commu-
Kong, India, Mexico, South Korea, ners Jim Alling
nity, guests and operators/suppliers.
Taiwan and Thailand. to president,
Perkins will also be responsible for
Starbucks Coffee
BKC’s talent management group. He
Starbucks Realigns Executive International, and
will oversee management develop-
Management Team Alling Launi Skinner
ment, including talent assessment and
With a focus on rapid global expan- to president,
reviews, leadership development and
sion, Starbucks Coffee Company Starbucks Coffee, U.S., who will both
training, and succession planning. He
(NASDAQ: SBUX) has realigned its report directly to Coles.
reports to Pete Smith, chief human
executive management team in an Alling most recently served as
resources officer.
effort to maximize operational re- president, Starbucks Coffee U.S.
Perkins comes to BKC as a senior
sources and deliver a seamless, global The presidents of the Company’s five
human resources executive
Starbucks Experience. international regions will report to
with extensive global experience in
The new management struc- Alling, providing a depth of interna-
the consumer products, media and
ture includes the appointment of tional support and experience. Alling
entertainment industries. He worked
Martin Coles, joined Starbucks in 1997 following a
most recently at Sony BMG Music
currently president, lengthy career with Nestle USA.
where he directed the company’s ef-
Starbucks Coffee Ms. Skinner, who most recently
forts in management and executive
International, to served as senior
development, talent acquisition and
chief operating vice president,
diversity compliance.
officer, reporting store development,
Perkins holds a bachelor’s degree
directly to presi- joined Starbucks
in business administration/marketing
dent and CEO, in 1993. She
from the University of Illinois.
Jim Donald. was appointed to
As chief operating officer, Coles her most recent
will manage global operations as the Skinner role in October
company continues its rapid growth. 2004. Under Ms. PDJ

10 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

determines a company’s success.
Eastman Kodak Company is committed to becoming a truly diverse
corporation. Embracing the ideals of diversity enables us to better meet
the needs of our customers, employees, suppliers, and the communities in
which we live and work. All of which ensures our continued success in the
global marketplace.


© Eastman Kodak Company, 2007

from my perspective…

Intolerance is the True Enemy

By Linda Jimenez

Chief Diversity Officer & Staff Vice President—Diversity Leadership
WellPoint, Inc.

A few weeks ago while on a Why? Because the only way we can make sense of a
plane, I was reading another diversity polarizing subject is by hearing and considering every va-
publication. I came across a one-page riety of opinion. In this way we create a forum to address
commentary from a well-known indi- issues directly by presenting stimulating debates that can
vidual with strong opposition to gay, be used to enhance, inform and teach critical thinking
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered skills. While examining opposing views, we can compare
individuals. Initially, I was impressed and contrast credibility, facts, arguments, and the use of
that the magazine was “walking the talk” by offering persuasive techniques.
space to an individual with a clearly polarizing view- Most people form their opinions on the basis of
point. On the opposite page, however, was an equally upbringing, peer pressure, and personal, cultural, or
strong rebuttal from the magazine’s senior leadership. professional biases. Contrary to what I read in the rebut-
The magazine had invited several corporate diversity tal, those we disagree with should not be regarded as
leaders—including this outspoken writer—to partici- enemies, but rather as people whose views deserve careful
pate in a panel discussion on religion in the workplace. examination which may shed light on our own.
However, a few weeks before the panel met, one of the As champions of diversity, we should be willing to
editors of the magazine contacted this individual to question our own strongly held opinions and assump-
dis-invite him after pro-GLBT panelists threatened to tions. This allows us to examine the logical inconsisten-
boycott the discussion if he was allowed to participate. cies in our own views, consider why we hold such an
As an alternative to participating in the panel discus- opinion, and acknowledge the possibility that our opin-
sion, he was offered a full page to share his views. But, ion may require further evaluation. This does not imply
on the opposite page the magazine compared him to a that anyone who reads opposing views will, or should,
19th-century Christian slavery advocate because of his change his or her opinion. After all, in a democratic
opposition to GLBTs and to corporate initiatives that society such as ours, people enter into public debate to
include GLBT-friendly policies. determine the common good.
In my opinion, a guiding principle around diver- Thomas Jefferson once said that “difference of opin-
sity is the unwavering respect for the worth and dignity ion leads to inquiry, and inquiry to truth.” As individu-
of every individual. We may not all agree on certain als and as a nation, it is imperative that we consider the
positions, values, beliefs, etc., but each one of us is opinions of others and examine them with skill and
responsible for creating and maintaining an environ- discernment. The purpose of such dialogue is to embrace
ment of mutual respect and inclusiveness. If we are true and foster diversity, not to question whether or not we
champions for diversity, we should encourage healthy should be inclusive of different people and perspectives.
debate and dialogue. Above all else we should seek to Intolerance of opinions and beliefs other than our own
not let our personal beliefs affect working relationships is the true enemy of diversity.
or business decisions.
I was personally disappointed with the way some PDJ
of these panelists reacted and with the way this other
magazine chose to address the minority viewpoint. Linda Jimenez is a native of San Antonio, Texas,
The basic foundation of our democracy is the First and attended the University of Texas at Austin where she
Amendment guarantee of freedom of expression. received her BA with honors. She is also a graduate of the
I expect champions of diversity to create forums for ALL University of Texas School of Law and has spent 20 years
viewpoints to have a voice. specializing in labor and employment law.

12 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

CHEVRON is a registered trademark of Chevron Corporation. The CHEVRON HALLMARK and HUMAN ENERGY are trademarks of Chevron Corporation. ©2007 Chevron Corporation. All rights reserved.

Our people are as diverse as their ideas.

The world is a vast collection of people, cultures and

ideas. And as a global company working in over 180
countries, we embrace the unique vision that a truly
diverse workforce brings. With the broad experience
of our more than 55,000 employees, we harness the
most powerful energy of all, human energy.
To learn more, visit chevron.com.
Do Visible Minorities in
Corporate Canada Feel Included?
Many lack critical relationships necessary for advancement

By Catalyst

C anada is expected to face an increas-

ing shortage of workers over the next
several years. Immigrants, most of whom
white/Caucasian women. Finally, there
were instances when the stories of visible
minority women differed from all other
playing and/or watching sports, visible
minority women may feel particularly
uncomfortable, and it is more difficult
are visible minorities—a Canadian legal groups—evidence that visible minority for them to find mentors and/or champi-
term used to describe people who are not women may at times experience “double- ons. Being left out of such gender-biased
Aboriginal, non-Caucasion in race, and outsider” status. activities leaves many visible minorities
non-white in color—are predicted to Important findings include the following: feeling excluded from opportunities for
account for all net labor force growth by • Visible minorities and white/Caucasian promotions, access to relationships with
2011. Employers face losing their most women often felt isolated from and clients, or social support.
experienced employees to retirement and uncomfortable in informal networking The report makes clear the challenges
must rely on immigrants as a source of opportunities involving activities such Canadian businesses face in building
as drinking in bars and playing or
much-needed skills. However, there is more inclusive environments where
watching sports.
evidence that corporate Canada is not all employees can succeed. To improve
• A lack of multiple mentors who share
maximizing the potential “brain gain” the situation Catalyst recommends
gender, visible minority status and/or
available as a result of this influx of who are influential but demographically that organizations:
skilled immigrants. different, is a career advancement bar- • Think critically about where informal
To study this situation, Catalyst rier for visible minorities. networking takes place and how this
teamed up with the Diversity Institute • Visible minority men identified may exclude certain people.
at Ryerson University to conduct an mentoring as a strategic relationship for • Provide formal and targeted networking
career advancement, and many specified opportunities for visible minorities.
online survey of more than 17,000
a mentor who was not their manager. • Formalize mentoring programs
Canadian managers, professionals, and
Visible minority women, however, and encourage and train strategic
executives and to conduct focus groups
spoke more generally about mentoring- mentoring behavior.
with visible minority and white/ • Ensure the availability of a diverse pool
style support from their managers
Caucasian managers, professionals, of mentors and encourage diversified
and were less likely to have a clearly
and executives in corporate Canada. mentoring relationships.
defined mentor.
In the resulting study, Career • Base career advancement decisions on
• As with other groups, visible minority
Advancement in Corporate Canada: A men and women believe that having a formal performance evaluations that
Focus on Visible Minorities ~ Critical champion is particularly important, are consistent for all employees.
Relationships, visible minority focus yet visible minorities lack access to the • Provide employees with the necessary
group participants named three types of critical relationships that are necessary resources to communicate their achieve-
ments and engage champions.
relationships that are critical for career to finding champions. PDJ
advancement: having a network, a men- • Focus group participants indicated that
tor, and a champion. However, these re- self-promotion helps potential champi-
About Catalyst
lationships are frequently formed during ons know why they should take on the
champion role. Visible minority women Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading
informal networking opportunities, and nonprofit corporate membership research
frequently expressed discomfort at the
visible minorities often feel excluded from and advisory organization working globally
idea of self-promotion.
such activities. with businesses and the professions to
The study highlights the importance
The experiences of visible minority build inclusive environments and expand
of informal networking, which builds
women often paralleled those of vis- opportunities for women and business.
trust and promotes information sharing.
ible minority men. In some cases, there For more information on this report and to
Because this type of networking often
were strong similarities between the access related reports, visit www.catalyst.org.
revolves around social activities such as
stories of visible minority women and

14 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

© 2007 Pfizer Inc Printed in USA

In a time of rapid change for our company and for our work to find new, innovative solutions for patients, and
industry, we believe that the unique perspective of each better ways of working with our customers, our partners,
Pfizer employee is vital. Why? Because the tough health and the communities we serve.
care challenges people are facing today call for new, At Pfizer, we believe diversity means an inclusive and
different, and diverse ways of thinking. empowering work environment. The result? A happier,
That’s why we’re implementing a global strategy to ensure healthier tomorrow for us all.
Pfizer’s culture not only respects, but also leverages each
individual employee’s background, character, and life
experiences. We’re putting those unique perspectives to

George C. Halvorson :: Chief Executive Officer

y jour
ersit na
iv l



16 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

Kaiser Permanente:
Snapshots of Diversity,
Leadership, Recognition and Service

18 CEO Leadership
24 Leadership Perspectives
34 National Diversity
42 Community Benefit
45 Diversity Heritage
Leadership in Quality, Service, Affordability and Best Place to Work
George C. Halvorson :: Chief Executive Officer

Answers &
the C-Suite
Meet George C. Halvorson :: Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente
George C. Halvorson is chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, a colos-
Corporate Profile
sus of a company by any measure. It takes a special individual to guide Company Name
a company like Kaiser through the turbulent waters of the health care Kaiser Foundation Health Plan &
Hospitals or Kaiser Permanente
industry. But Kaiser, under Halvorson, has done more than just success-
fully navigate the rough seas of a complex industry that is constantly Oakland, California
under scrutiny. The company has pushed forward with innovative pro- Web Site:
grams resulting in the concrete outcomes we all find desirable: Improving
Primary Business:
the quality of care patients receive through the health care system while Health care delivery and insurance
providing physicians greater satisfaction in the practice of medicine. The Industry Ranking:
KP HealthConnect program you’ll learn about in this feature is exciting, Largest integrated health system in the United States

bold and cutting edge. 2006 Revenues:

$34.4 billion

Can you tell us about some of the innovations that Kaiser agenda, but a core business principle, and the diversity of our mem-
Permanente has planned for 2008? We’re working on further bers and staff is a reflection of our success.
development of the KP HealthConnect electronic medical records
system to improve patient care and enable the largest ongoing clini- For the sake of perspective, how big has Kaiser Permanente
cal trial examining all aspects of care. In addition, we will be intro- become? Kaiser now serves 8.7 million people in nine states and the
ducing insurance products aimed at giving consumers more options District of Columbia. We are the second largest health plan in the
and bringing affordable coverage to the uninsured in our markets. State of California and our market share continues to grow in all the
markets we serve. We employ more than 160,000 people.
Most CEOs today say that diversity drives business results.
What part did diversity and inclusion play in your company’s Given the size and scope of your operation, what challenges
2006 growth/earnings? Diversity is fully integrated into our busi- do you face in terms of delivering your services or recruit-
ness plan. Changing demographics dictate that diversity consider- ing and hiring good people? Like other large organizations, we
ations play a significant role in how we deliver care. Being culturally know that we increasingly will face a shrinking labor pool as Baby
competent as caregivers both helps us serve existing members and Boomers exit for retirement. We will need to attract and recruit
attract new ones. huge numbers of caregivers to replace them. Our strategy for attract-
Diversity is also a critical piece of our values as a mission-driven ing the best and most diverse workers is to reinforce our standing as
organization. It would be impossible for us to improve the health a “best place to work,” nurture an inclusive welcoming workplace
of the communities we serve if we didn’t recognize and support the environment, and encourage internal movement that yields more
diversity in those communities. For us, diversity is not an add-on women and minority executives.

18 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Our employees know the data—that 74 percent of our workforce

are women, for example, 45 percent of our executives are women and
54 percent of our total workforce are people of color—and choose us
because of it.
We are constantly learning more about the link between health
care and ethnicity. For example, we know that certain cultures are
more prone to particular health care issues. We also know that some
treatments affect individuals differently depending on their culture.
Our challenge is to continue to learn about these connections so that
we can lead the nation in providing the best care and eliminating
health disparities.

How does a company in an industry as fast-changing as yours

keep up with diversity development throughout the organiza-
tion? Diversity of the market is already an established fact, and it
will only increase. In our field, customers are highly informed and
participative, with Baby Boomers in particular demanding services Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson with San Francisco
Mayor Gavin Newsom and a Buddhist monk at The Kaiser
sensitive to their cultural needs.
Permanente International Dragon Boat Festival.
The workforce has to adjust to these active participants who will
no longer accept one-size-fits-all care, and we are already adjusting
to this reality. We are spending $4 billion on KP HealthConnect,
our new care provider computerized support tool, because we realize
What resources (financial and manpower) are allocated to
that there is too much information changing too quickly for us to
diversity? We have a robust staff devoted to diversity. Diversity
expect our health care providers to keep up without some powerful
Directors, EEO Directors, CLAS leaders, Diversity Councils,
information tools.
Multicultural Staff Associations and a full diversity staff in the
KP HealthConnect will not only give us the best database in
corporate headquarters office comprise the core infrastructure that
health care in the world, it will also give us the capacity to collect
supports implementation of our diversity strategy.
extensive data on the relationship between diversity factors and
health care, leading to the elimination of health disparities and
How do your diversity and inclusion efforts impact your
allowing us to serve patients better. What’s more, we will be able to
company’s bottom line? Our bottom line, as a not-for-profit
provide this information to others outside of Kaiser. We believe that
health care delivery system, is mission-driven: improving the health
a diverse workforce that is well equipped with modern tools is the
and health status of the communities we serve. The multicultural
very best way to meet the needs of every population.
dimensions of these communities are inescapable. Accordingly,
the efforts that we have undertaken to increase our cultural com-
It appears that there are unique opportunities in your par-
petency—the provider handbooks on culturally competent care,
ticular industry for implementing diversity programs. Is that
interpreter training and service programs, and centers of excellence
right? In some industries there are perhaps only vague connections
focusing on ethnically diverse populations and women’s health—all
between diversity and the work of the organization. Not with us. We
contribute to achieving our mission, our bottom line. Responses
have research which proves the connection between health care and
to these efforts from the community, advocacy groups and our
diversity, and this knowledge gives us a compelling case for under-
members demonstrate the positive impact that diversity has on our
standing, leveraging and embracing diversity and its application in
“bottom line.”
our core business.
Let’s talk about recruiting. What qualities do you look for when
Do international issues ever get in the way of corporate sup-
hiring management? How do you measure attitudes? We look
port for diversity objectives and processes? What kinds of strat-
for individuals who are at the high end of the scale with respect to
egies does the company employ in dealing with them? Actually,
overall capability. We look for individuals who bring a depth of
quite the opposite. We only operate in the United States, but we are
knowledge but who also understand the relationship between their
constantly looking at how other countries deliver care to learn from
area of expertise and the other functions with which they will have
them. I have also had the opportunity to share some of our expertise
to interact. We deeply value collaboration skills.
abroad by helping to build health systems in developing countries.
We also value individuals who are flexible in their management
I have been privileged to assist in creating health care programs in
style and who can work with a variety of styles, genders and ethnici-
Uganda, Jamaica and several other countries.
ties. With a workforce composed of 74 percent women and 54 per-
cent people of color, these are essential management competencies.

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 19
George C. Halvorson :: Chief Executive Officer

How are decisions about diversity made in your organiza-

tion? Ronald Copeland, MD, president and executive medical
director of the Ohio Permanente Medical Group and chair of
our overall medical directors group, and Ronald Knox, vice
president and chief diversity officer, co-chair our programwide
National Diversity Council. Our lead diversity officer reports to
our chief HR officer and also works directly with me.
Decisions about diversity are made both at the local level
and the national level. However, national diversity policy for-
mulation, recommendations and operations decisions are made
at the National Diversity Council and National Diversity Office
levels of the organization. Major diversity policies are presented
to the senior-most operations group of the organization for
endorsement, approval and sponsorship.
George Halvorson celebrates the Dragon Boat festivities with What factors make you confident that you and your team
Dr. Anne Tang (left), KP physician and Chief of the Chinese Language
Module at the SF Medical Center; and Claudine Cheng, President/Chair have developed momentum for the organization that will keep
of the Treasure Island Development Authority. it going in the right direction? What is the vision for Kaiser
Permanente in five years? Kaiser Permanente recently held its
How do you deal with or train for cross-cultural competencies 30th Annual National Diversity Conference. The conference has
for leadership? What accountability do you employ to meet received national recognition for the quality of its programs, teach-
objectives? Are Kaiser Permanente’s diversity initiatives linked ings and speakers. Thirty years is a major diversity milestone that
with compensation? Commitment to diversity at the most senior few other large companies can approach and one that we intend on
level is not a simple “bonus” issue—it is a core accountability and celebrating.
a condition of continued membership on the leadership team. The Ultimately, our goals for this year will be no different from
national executive leadership team is accountable for achieving the last year or next year: a fully integrated, fully inclusive workforce is
objectives of a formal diversity agenda, consisting of executive work- our expectation. My vision is for a fully utilized, engaged, and lever-
force diversity, executive mentoring and supplier diversity. I am also aged diverse workforce. We have made significant progress on this
accountable for these objectives, as well as for a host of additional at Kaiser.
diversity initiatives specific to my role as CEO. Today, six of our eight regional presidents are women. We also
set an example at the board of directors level, by ensuring that our
Do you have in place methods or ways to track promotable board is extremely diverse. In fact, it is among the most diverse
individuals? How do you ensure minority candidates are con- boards of large corporations in the country. In addition, our work-
sidered for promotions that become available? Yes, we have back- force has no racial majority. On care delivery, we spend a significant
up development programs for every senior position and diversity amount of resources on building the cultural competency of all of
candidates are a core part of that development process. Our senior our health care professionals and customer service staff.
executive strategy sessions and executive development help us iden- Kaiser has introduced to the public some groundbreaking tools
tify where we have gaps that need to be filled. And we recognize the for ensuring culturally competent care. These tools give direct advice
necessity and value of a diverse leadership group to our organization’s for how to best serve multiple, diverse cultures, including language
ongoing success. preferences, cultural issues and treatment modalities.
We are also taking the long view with respect to our diverse
Can you give us an example of a program getting “off track,” workforce needs, including relationships with medical student asso-
and what did you learn from that experience? There is no
dramatic example of going “off track,” but we have learned that,
in general, improving diversity takes discipline, and if you take
your eye off of it, you will often get slippage in various parts of the
organization. Executive workforce diversity for people of color is
an example of the need for vigilance to preserve gains and achieve
progress. Although we did not experience dramatic slippage, we did
not sustain the rate of increase that previous efforts had yielded. We
have now institutionalized these efforts and accountabilities and
are experiencing the growth and sustained momentum to meet our
needs and established targets.

Let’s talk a little bit about the leadership at Kaiser in terms of

diversity. For example, who chairs your company’s diversity
George Halvorson signs copies of his new book, Health Care Reform
council? Does your lead diversity officer report to you directly? Now!, at the Bay Area Council meeting in San Francisco.

20 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

we are trying to create. I am looking forward to continuing this new

conversation with employees.
We also, of course, periodically conduct a massive, system-
wide survey of employee attitudes and concerns. I also hold regular
town hall meetings and an open Q&A forum following my annual
keynote address at our National Diversity Conference which draws
more than a thousand participants and hundreds more through
national video simulcast from across the organization.

Have you encountered those who perceive inclusion programs

for underrepresented groups as being exclusionary for others?
This has not been a big issue for us to deal with. When inclusion is
George Halvorson at The Kaiser Permanente International the obvious value, it doesn’t feel like exclusion for anyone. In other
Dragon Boat Festival. settings, where exclusion is the cultural approach, these kinds of
ciations, undergraduate internship programs, high school summer challenges can occur.
employment programs and programs like the Hippocrates Circle.
This program pairs our physicians with elementary school students Can you describe your method for orienting new hires
in underserved neighborhoods to provide first-hand exposure to into your culture? For enriching employees’ awareness or
medical professions and encourage their consideration as viable and introducing new issues? We have several orientation programs
attainable career goals. for new hires. We are currently examining them to provide more
consistency; however, we want to continue to respect the differences
across our company.
Sometimes diversity is referred to as a numbers game. How
Another important resource in the orientation of new employ-
does your company know its culture is not just tied up in num-
ees into our culture is enlisting the assistance and services of our
bers? We have a very diverse set of senior leaders and we make that
many multicultural staff associations. They provide invaluable sup-
diversity very visible so people at all levels can recognize that diver-
port for new employees and accelerate the orientation and learning
sity for us is a practice, not an aspiration. We also utilize the diverse
curve by providing practical information, an affinity group network
cultural and language skills of our workforce in very tangible ways
and support throughout the onboarding process.
to provide quality care and services to our members. Therefore, it is
For enriching employee awareness, we conduct periodic town
understood that workforce diversity is not about numbers, but about
hall meetings, and over the past couple of years, we have introduced
the diverse talent and skillsets needed to provide quality, culturally
executive forums, which give employees additional opportunity to
informed care and services to diverse populations.
hear from and ask questions of senior management.
Would you say that employees are more engaged in the com-
Can you name specific ways KP supports upward development
pany than they were two years ago? Yes. We are currently insti-
toward management positions? We support upward development
tuting unit-based teams to do more collaborative work at our various
of all employees—with inclusion and diversity as key goals—through
worksites. These teams are at the front line of the organization and
our formal succession planning process. This is a bottom-up process
they are designed to increase participation in making improvements
in which we review career and promotion opportunities. We also
in the delivery of care and in other organizational processes.
provide tuition reimbursement along with formal and informal lead-
Company sponsored activities, such as the Martin Luther King
ership development programs.
Day of Volunteerism and a Week of Caring, allow employees to
Besides those programs, we are preparing to launch an executive
make meaningful contributions in service to the communities most
mentoring program that involves the most senior executives in the
in need of volunteer efforts and support. These include working in
organization. They will act as mentors to high potential employees
homeless shelters and food banks, painting neighborhood schools
with a particular emphasis on executive workforce diversity.
and distributing warm winter clothing to those most in need. As a
community benefit organization, these activities involve our employ- What about bringing women and minority employees into the
ees directly in core functions of the organization. fabric of the organization? What programs are in place or on
the drawing board to advance women and minorities? Our
How are employees’ opinions solicited? Do you have an
strategy for attracting the best and most diverse workers is to
employee ‘suggestion box’ or similar system and how is it
reinforce our standing as a “best place to work,” nurture an inclu-
monitored and responded to? Our unit-based teams solicit
sive, welcoming workplace environment, and encourage internal
input from all team members. In addition, I encourage employees
movement that yields more women and minority executives. Our
to talk to their managers and leaders and to talk directly to me via
employees know that 74 percent of our workforce are women and
e-mail to help us improve. Open communications are vital if we are
45 percent of our executives are women and choose us because of it.
to be a learning organization. I read all the e-mail I receive from
We have won multiple awards and recognitions for our status as a
employees and respond when appropriate. In September 2007,
diversity-friendly employer. We tend to celebrate these awards with
I started a weekly dialogue with employees via e-mail to further
all employees, to set a tone of values and inclusion.
encourage their feedback and to share my thoughts on the culture

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 21
George C. Halvorson :: Chief Executive Officer

George C. Halvorson: A Look Back…

A younger George with then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Halvorson at a He advised Mrs. Clinton’s panel on health care reform
speaking engage- in 1993-94 and today advises campaigns of both
ment. He speaks parties on this important issue. Halvorson at
to groups several HealthPartners
times a week and in Minnesota,
estimates speaking where he served
to thousands of as CEO prior to
audiences over joining Kaiser
his career. Permanente.

Halvorson with former

Secretary of State Colin
Powell. George’s book,
Strong Medicine, was
written prior to Epidemic
of Care and Health Care
Reform Now!
George with one of his heroes,
George gets press as an early propo-
Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
nent of managed care in Minnesota.

SUPPLIER / COMMUNITY / CUSTOMERS So, I have a special self-interest in diversity because of the racial
Supplier diversity continues to be a big issue in the workplace and ethnic diversity in my own family. Over the years, I have spent
today. What is your commitment to minority suppliers? Do you a great deal of time studying other cultures and working on research
set specific percentage or dollar targets? How do you measure as well as health plans in other countries that confront the oppor-
success? We have a definite commitment to using minority suppli- tunities and challenges of diversity. I have come to the conclusion
ers. We set goals and track our success. This is an area of considerable that it is human nature for people to view other people in “us
opportunity that further aligns with our business goals and mission. versus them” terms. Understanding, rejecting, and overcoming this
Increasing subcontracting opportunities for minority and women tendency is, I believe, both very doable and imperative to our success
business owners also translates to greater employment opportuni- and survival.
ties in local communities and thereby contributes to their economic
vitality. Further, supplier diversity is good for business as increased Who has shaped your thinking as a business leader? What
competition among suppliers promotes higher levels of performance about their business skill or style influenced you?
and quality as well as cost reductions. My father used to say, if you do a job you love, you’ll never work
Our keys to success include holding leaders accountable to the another day in your life. He also told me never to judge until you
CEO and substantively demonstrating progress toward achievement have all the facts. And he told me never to judge another man “until
of established targets. Proactive measures are taken to increase utili- you have walked a mile in his shoes.” I’ve found his lessons to be
zation of minority and women suppliers. For example, we offer open incredibly useful my entire life.
houses and supplier mentoring opportunities in order to expand
opportunities for new and existing diverse suppliers. How did you get to your present posi-
tion? What was your career path?
CEO PROFILE I’ve held several executive positions in
Where does your personal belief in diversity and inclusion the health insurance industry, most
come from? Who were your role models, or was there a pivotal recently leading HealthPartners, the
experience that helped shape your view? For me, diversity has largest health care co-op in the United
been a lifelong interest and it is a core value. I have written articles States. Coming to Kaiser has given me
and made multiple presentations on these topics. I am very near the opportunity to work with an orga-
completion of a new book on just that topic. nization with an historical and financial
My values on that set of issues have been rewarded for me per- commitment to diversity and innova-
sonally by being blessed with multi-racial grandchildren—incredibly tion, the two areas that will define 21st Earlier in his career,
lovely, bright and talented grandchildren who have blessed me with century success in our industry. George Halvorson was a
their existence and reinforced my commitment from both my head Kaiser’s commitment to diversity health care executive at
was an important factor in accepting Blue Cross Blue Shield of
and my heart. Minnesota.

22 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

George C. Halvorson
:: Personal Profile
COMPANY: Kaiser Foundation Health
my current position, as it affords me a rich legacy on which to build. Plan and Hospitals.
The opportunities at this point in American history are so great for TITLE: Chairman & Chief Executive
the pursuit of diversity that I believe it is also a needed area of focus Officer.
We need to “make a difference” in our society. Organizations
AGE: 60
provide a microcosm and a laboratory for ways our nation can better
EDUCATION: BA, history, political sci-
capitalize on our diversity. It is extremely rewarding to watch this
ence and English from Concordia College
experiment play out within our company. We need a similar agenda in Moorhead, Minn.; graduate studies at
to play out across corporate America. the University of Minnesota; senior fellow,
University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.;
Who were/are your mentors? How did they help in your profes- Senior lecture MBA Program, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.
sional and personal life? I learned a great deal from Jim Regnier, FIRST JOB: Bait-house kid. I sorted minnows, counted worms, waited
former president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. He was on customers and sold fishing tackle.
a farmer from rural Minnesota who taught me the importance of PHILOSOPHY: Do a job you love—you’ll never work another day in
common sense. As I mentioned before, my father also influenced my your life.
professional and personal development a great deal. WHAT I’M READING: I used
to read more books. Now I
If you were in a roomful of colleagues, what might they say primarily read magazines. Seed
is a great new magazine find.
about you, your style or your business sense? I very directly
strive to do the right thing and do it consistently over time. My FAMILY: Engaged, four sons,
with a stepson soon to be added.
beliefs, practices and values took years to develop, but once devel-
Four lovely grandchildren.
oped, they have been extremely consistent over time. People say they
are very clear about what I am doing and why I am doing it. INTERESTS: Writing, science,
sociology, health care, public
policy, political science, various
How would you describe your concept and style of leadership? water sports, travel, and people.
Inclusive, open, strategic, transparent, value driven, and consistent. CHILDHOOD HERO: Charles George Halvorson’s grandchildren,
Marcus, 12; McKenna, 3; Maya, 8.
Darwin and Frederick Douglass—
What business books or journals do you read regularly or two men whose books changed
recommend for aspiring leaders? In terms of general business how the world thought.
publications, I think that The Economist and the Harvard Business “BEST” PICTURE (film/art): Tom Jones, The Godfather,
Review do a very nice job of capturing trends and telling stories Prairie Home Companion, and Big Fish.
in a very readable way. I also read Forbes and Fortune and the Wall MY MUSIC: The blues—particularly the blues harmonica
Street Journal. Scientific American, Discovery, Psychology Today and (the Blues Harp).
Psychotherapy Networker are also on my reading stacks. FAVORITE GAME: Chess, for many years. I seldom play now. I love
I also think it is critical to read the trades and journals in my to watch television football or any sport being played by my sons or
chosen field, because that is the best way to understand your market grandchildren.
and your competition. Modern Healthcare and Health Affairs are DESK-DRAWER MUNCHIES: Granola.
both must-reads for me. FAVORITE CHARITY: Community clinics.
Have you any “mottos” to rally your team regarding diver- TO KNOW OVER LUNCH: Jesus Christ, to learn, but not over lunch.
sity & inclusion? Begin with the end in mind. Each thing in its
turn—each thing in its time.When the student is ready, if you are
the teacher, be even more ready. That’s your job. What has been your proudest moment as leader at Kaiser
Permanente? It’s a great job. Every day gives me a chance to feel
Were there any experiences that discouraged you or taught good about the place.
you hard lessons about diversity & inclusion implementation?
I was stunned back in the 1970s when I brought both women and What words of advice would you give to those who want to
minority employees into professional jobs and saw how angry and advance in their organization? Know your job. Know your co-
upset the people were in those work areas. I did not expect that much workers. Help people. Maintain absolute ethics so no one ever won-
resistance. However, they and I persevered. I have seen significant ders what you are really up to. Work hard and smart. Never be a jerk
progress in this area over the years and have been dedicated myself and don’t encourage, support or retain jerks on your team. Love your
to creating a diverse workforce wherever I have worked. job or find a job you love.

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 23
Leadership perspectiveS
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente’s Diversity Strategy

Ronald Knox
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
There is considerable data to demonstrate the CEO’s

In describing the diversity strategy active commitment to diversity:
of Kaiser Permanente, vice presi- •T
 he governing board is 36 percent women and
dent and chief diversity officer and 50 percent people of color.
co-chair of the National Diversity •T
 he three most senior operations leaders consist
Council, Ronald Knox calls it of one woman, one African American, and one
multi-faceted. Caucasian.
“Central components of our •T
 he composition of the eight regional presidents is
approach to diversity management 75 percent women and 35 percent people of color.
are building and leveraging our •G
 eorge Halvorson is the sponsor of a four-
considerable diverse human talent pronged, robust diversity agenda for which the
and cultural competency to meet top 20 senior executives in the organization are
the organization’s noble mission of held accountable.
Ronald Knox improving the health and health
status of the communities we serve, and leveraging our collective “And that’s the CEO suite only,” Knox says. “There
diversity assets to enhance our competitive position in the market- are other data points to support our claim of work-
place,” Knox explains. “Simply put, diversity is how we achieve our force diversity accomplishments.”
mission and how we grow the business.”
 omen and people of color comprise 74 percent
Pointing out that much of the critical foundation-building
and 54 percent of the total Kaiser Permanente
required to achieve these diversity objectives has already been accom- workforce, respectively.
plished, Knox cites some specific examples of Kaiser Permanente’s
 4 percent of the physicians are people of color,
impressive diversity assets.
and 39 percent are women.
“Our diversity inventory includes population-specific Centers
of Excellence in Culturally Competent Care; interpreter, translation
ment of effective diversity metrics and consistent integration of
and bilingual staff training programs; regional support for diversity
diversity into strategic initiatives and business plans are an urgent
strategy & operations; an over-arching national health disparities
priority,” he says.
initiative, including HIV/AIDS; multicultural staff associations;
“The refinement of a comprehensive, integrated multi-cultural
and a rapidly evolving diversity partnership with Labor position the
marketing strategy which prominently portrays and promotes the
organization favorably to achieve our mission and business objec-
diversity-related products and services that we are prepared to deliver
tives,” says Knox. “Additionally, our CEO has authored two books
is an important next step in our overall diversity strategy.”
on diversity, is an accomplished diversity educator and is a nationally
In addition to those business plans, Knox says, “We have just
acknowledged diversity thought-leader.
recently concluded our 30th Annual National Diversity Conference.
Having these assets in place is critically important because they
This is the premiere educational forum and celebration of diver-
enhance and facilitate the next major phase of our work—the full
sity in the organization, if not the healthcare industry.” At Kaiser
integration of diversity into every major business function, decision,
Permanente’s conference, more than 1,000 employees, physicians,
plan and initiative.”
and guests engage in three days of presentations, workshops, net-
Although these efforts are presently underway, Knox says,
working and learning from some of the nation’s foremost authorities
“progress has been uneven across the organization, but will occur
on workforce diversity, culturally competent care, linguistic services,
with greater precision over time. He adds, “Today, our corporate
EEO and Affirmative Action, diversity business strategies and diver-
customers, most of whom have very diverse workforces and sophisti-
sity-related legal and regulatory compliance. It also features Kaiser
cated diversity programs, recognize Kaiser Permanente’s unique care
Permanente’s most senior leaders, including the Chairman and CEO
and service orientation that is firmly grounded in and fueled by our
and board members, as featured keynote presenters.
diversity values and traditions, thus creating synergy that strengthens
“It is an opportunity to see the organization from a unique
the business relationship.”
vantage point in which a core organizational value is profiled center-
Beyond the work currently being completed, Knox and his
stage for three days.” Knox says
team are looking to the future. “Further development and refine- PDJ

24 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

Leadership perspectiveS
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

N­­ew Permanente Federation Leader

Has a History of Valuing Diversity
John Cochran, MD, FACS Executive Director of the Permanente Federation

When Jack Cochran was named executive director of the Permanente Another business advantage
Federation, he brought to the position a history of diversity leader- comes with recruiting. “You will
ship. While Cochran served as Executive Director and President frequently hear physicians and
of the Colorado Permanente Group, his executive team—which employees say, ‘Kaiser Permanente’s
included an African-American female associate executive medical diversity tradition and reputation
director—set a national diversity benchmark in physician leadership is a primary reason that I joined
among large employers. He is the only executive medical director the organization,’” Cochran says.
to receive Kaiser Permanente’s prestigious R.J. Erickson Diversity “In some ways, this makes our
Jack Cochran, MD, FACS,
Achievement Award. And he doesn’t plan to change course in his job as leaders of diversity easier, recently named
new position. because diversity is a visible and Executive Director of the
Permanente Federation.
“My value of diversity is endemic to who I am, so I will carry public part of our identity.”
those values wherever I go,” Cochran says. “As an organization Though Cochran’s diversity
involved in a service as vital and personal as health care, we cannot orientation has been called unique, he doesn’t see it that way. “I
afford to ignore diversity and its importance to meeting our mission think my orientation to diversity comes from the recognition early
and remaining competitive in the field. We have a great opportu- on that talent was not exclusive to one group or race, or gender
nity and an equally great obligation to integrate diversity into every specific,” he says. “I believe strongly in collaboration which requires
aspect of the work we do.” that all voices be heard, thus fully capitalizing on the value of diverse
Cochran values diversity, in part, because of the business perspectives and opinions.”
advantages it provides. “Our diversity enables us to be aware of and He is quick to add that the work is ongoing, and the organiza-
consider a variety of perspectives and values that a homogenous tion cannot become complacent about diversity. “It’s an ongoing
group is simply incapa- journey of self-awareness for all of us, I believe; certainly for me,”
ble of due to the limita- Cochran says. “Talent comes in many colors, both genders, any
“Our diversity tions of cultural experi- sexual orientation, you name it. If I, as a leader, identify with a
enables us to ence that we all face,” he
asserts. “In this way, we
particular affinity group, my natural tendency, my natural filter is to
favor that group, even subconsciously. In a close decision between
be aware of make culturally informed job applicants, this bias, however small, can have serious conse-
and higher quality deci- quences for diversity.
and consider sions; we capitalize on “If we are to become a culturally competent organization,

a variety of the advantage of affinity

group affiliation in com-
each of us has to be aware of and consciously manage our filters.
In doing so, we unleash the power of diversity and the resulting
perspectives munity outreach, educa- synergy simply creates better products, more responsive services and
tion and partnership. A higher quality, more innovative decisions and solutions.
and values…” senior executive team that “I look forward to the next chapter of diversity at Kaiser
mirrors the racial, ethnic Permanente,” says Cochran, “and how we will creatively utilize
and gender diversity of diversity to eliminate health disparities, contribute to the vitality and
our community provides health of our communities and leverage the rich cultural expertise
culture-specific knowledge and expertise that has high utility in the and knowledge of our workforce to provide excellent care to our
marketplace and in care delivery. Additionally, it speaks volumes to growing numbers of members and patients.”
affinity groups about our values without ever needing to articulate
them. This is an enormous business advantage.” PDJ

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 25
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How the Labor Management Partnership

Supports the National Diversity Agenda
Perspective from John August,
Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions

As the labor leader of the nation’s most progressive labor rely on the workforce to success-
and management partnership, John August has a unique fully implement. “Service on the
perspective on the ways workers contribute to Kaiser Permanente’s National Diversity Council is a
diversity. logical expression and manifesta-
“Kaiser Permanente has one of the largest and most culturally tion of the Labor Management
diverse workforces in the country,” August says. “While labor’s role Partnership.”
in diversity has evolved over the years, just as Kaiser Permanente’s August also points out that
diversity focus has evolved, we have not lost sight of the fundamental “the first cornerstone of the
principles that support the diversity agenda. Fairness, equity, equal- National Diversity Agenda relates John August
ity of opportunity, and respecting and valuing differences form the specifically to improving the skill,
foundation of diversity and also align with our tradition, contractual diversity, cultural competence and
agreements and obligations to our members.” performance of the workforce. The role of labor in the National
Because Kaiser Permanente’s Labor Management Partnership Diversity Agenda is explicit, and we embrace the Partnership and
(LMP) is so important to the organization’s diversity agenda, the the challenge.”
LMP has a seat on the organization’s National Diversity Council. Looking to the future of diversity at Kaiser Permanente, August
“The role of the labor representatives on the Council is to provide an says that “unions must play an evolving role in the 21st century.
informed perspective on diversity discussions and policy recommen- Ultimately, labor represents the means by which the goals of the
dations,” says August. “Labor’s presence reinforces the importance of diversity agenda will be met by the people of Kaiser Permanente. We
the workforce and helps identify additional, novel ways to advance recognize the need for and support the development of diverse skill
our shared interests in the diversity agenda.” sets within the workforce to meet the diverse needs of Health Plan
In addition, he says that labor plays a key role in communicat- members, patients and customers.”
ing, endorsing and supporting diversity initiatives, most of which

A Tradition of Diversity Leadership

Kaiser Permanente takes pride in its history of diversity leadership. Starting in the 1940s, Kaiser Permanente opened its first
hospitals on the West Coast by welcoming black Americans alongside white patients two decades before most hospitals
began to end racial segregation.
These values again put Kaiser Permanente in a leadership role during the 1960s when President John F. Kennedy
tapped Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Board Chairman Edgar F. Kaiser Jr., son of Henry J. Kaiser, for his Equal
Employment Opportunity Committee. President Kennedy’s staff picked Edgar Kaiser in part because of the comparatively
high rate of minority employment at Kaiser Permanente. In turn, Edgar Kaiser, as president of Kaiser Industries, insisted that
all parts of Kaiser Industries reflect the ideal of equal employment opportunities—making Kaiser Permanente a national
Henry J. Kaiser leader during the administrations of both president’s Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.
Against this backdrop, Kaiser Permanente took the lead on another front in the early 1970s, when it elected Mitchell Spellman, MD, as the
first African American to serve on the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospitals (KFHP/H) Boards of Directors.
KFHP/H already had established a tradition of electing outstanding board members, in large measure because of Kaiser Permanente’s ability to
attract high-profile people who were well regarded in their professional fields. The election of Dr. Spellman, who is director emeritus of Academic
Alliances and International Exchange Programs at Harvard Medical International, was in that tradition.
At the time of Dr. Spellman’s election, he was the founding executive dean of the Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School, a post he
held from 1968 until 1977, when he was appointed dean of Medical Services at Harvard University Medical School.

26 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

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Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente Board of Directors:

A Personal Commitment
Kaiser Permanente’s board of directors actively supports and pro- of major corporations in America is 18% people of color and 19%
motes diversity in its governances role. The central ideal of a diverse women, Kaiser Permanente’s board is comprised of 50% people
workforce serving diverse communities has been a mainstay of the of color and 36% women. Further, the nationally acknowledged
board’s commitment to diversity over many years. diversity expertise that resides within the board membership through
Nearly two decades ago, the board endorsed and approved the vocational, professional and governance affiliations is unparalleled in
National Diversity Agenda which set forth the diversity vision and corporate America.
strategy that govern the organization’s diversity management effort The board of directors is a distinguishing asset in Kaiser
to the present day. Permanente’s diversity profile and a novel reflection of how diversity
The board is also unique in its diversity composition. While permeates every level of the organization’s structure.
the ethnic and gender composition of the 50 most diverse board’s

Kaiser Permanente
Board of Directors

Left to Right Front Row

Daniel P. Garcia
Cynthia A. Telles
Jenny J. Ming
Sandra P. Thompkins
Judith A. Johansen
George C. Halvorson

Left to Right Back Row

J. Eugene Grigsby III
J. Neal Purcell
William R. Graber
Thomas W. Chapman
Kim J. Kaiser
Christine K. Cassel
Edward Y. W. Pei
Missing from the photo:
Philip Marineau

Two standing board committees, the Quality and Health Improvement Committee
and the Community Benefit Committee support diversity issues through approval of
grants and donations, and policies designed to support initiatives that aim to improve
cultural competency and linguistic programs. The committee also presents annual
community service awards related to diversity and inclusion.


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Some Thoughts from the Board

Cynthia A. Telles, MD
Director, Spanish Speaking Psychosocial Clinic, Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital
Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences;
School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles

Establishing the elimination of health disparities as an organizational priority is critical from both opera-
tional and governance perspectives as it relates to Kaiser Permanente’s mission. Providing professional
language services for members and patients with limited English proficiency is an essential component of
this policy. Latino and Asian populations represent large proportions of Kaiser Permanente’s membership.
As the fastest growing segments of the overall population, these groups will comprise increasingly larger proportions of the organization’s
future membership. The nexus between care access and health outcomes is clear. Expanding the number of bilingual and bicultural health
care professionals and providing effective interpreter and translation services will lead to improved quality of care, better member/doctor
communication, greater patient understanding and compliance and, ultimately, improved care outcomes. Competent language services are
a key component of the organization’s efforts to eliminate health disparities.

Thomas W. Chapman
President and CEO, The HSC Foundation

We serve on one of the most unique boards in corporate America. Not only are we among the nation’s
top three percent of boards of major corporations with respect to diversity, we are also among the cor-
porate governance elite with respect to professional diversity expertise. This rare combination brings an
added dimension to our deliberations on diversity direction and governance. It also ensures that diversity
is a central consideration, fully integrated into deliberations involving other aspects of the company’s
business. Some of us serve as consultants to corporations on diversity matters in our professional voca-
tions. Others write and conduct research and present at national forums, including Kaiser Permanente’s National Diversity Conference, as
functional diversity experts. Diversity is viewed through a critical and informed lens at the Kaiser Permanente board level.

Christine K. Cassel, MD
President and CEO
American Board of Internal Medicine

Kaiser Permanente has undertaken the massive task of collecting racial, ethnic and language preference
data on its Health Plan members and patients to inform our efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic health
disparities, to increase access and quality of care for individuals with limited English proficiency, and
to validate the efficacy of treatment protocols developed for various population segments. We are com-
mitted to all of the six aims established by the Institute of Medicine—that health care be safe, effective,
timely, patient-centered, efficient and equitable. The goal of equity requires that we understand health status and assess disparities among our
members, to address improvements. This work is critically important to Kaiser Permanente’s Quality Agenda, as well as our social mission
and favorably positioning the organization in the competitive marketplace.

28 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

Leadership perspectiveS
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Overcoming Disparities of Care

Bernard Tyson, Executive Vice President, Health Plan and Hospital Operations

As an organization, Kaiser In April 2007, Kaiser Permanente took another formal step to
Permanente has been doing a lot of demonstrate its commitment to eliminating health disparities. The
very important work to promote Kaiser Permanente Program Group (KPPG)—the highest-ranking
ethnic and minority health, which, body within Kaiser Permanente—endorsed a Health Disparities
as a whole, is worse than that of Vision and Strategy Statement, which includes guiding principles
the general population. To cite just and overarching strategies.
a few of the alarming statistics: The KPPG has already provided leadership in developing a
• Although African Americans policy to collect race-based data to ensure there are no health care
account for only 13 percent of disparities within Kaiser Permanente, and that immediate action
the U.S. population, they account be taken should we find that disparities exist. Endorsement of this
for 40 percent of the AIDS cases vision and strategy statement means that senior leadership at all parts
diagnosed since the start of the of the organization has signed off on this important work.
epidemic and approximately Making a Commitment and Following Through
Bernard Tyson
half of the cases diagnosed in Up until now, the work to study and reduce disparities in
2004 alone. health and health care has been driven by a lot of committed people
• The rate of Type II diabetes among Latinos is double the rate for and departments across Kaiser Permanente. Connecting “the dots”
Caucasians, and people with diabetes are more likely to have heart through a formal strategy allows Kaiser Permanente to leverage this
disease or stroke. important work across the organization.
• According to the Census Bureau, in 2004, 32.7 percent of Hispanics “The tough work is definitely ahead of us,” said Tyson. “Health
lacked health insurance, and 21.9 percent lived in poverty. care reform in America must address health disparities. Similarly,
“Kaiser Permanente is well-positioned and prepared as an orga- getting back to basics and focusing on quality, service, and afford-
nization, to tackle the issue of disparity in health and health care,” ability has many implications for eliminating disparities in health
said Bernard Tyson, executive vice president. “And we’re weaving this and health care.
important challenge into the fabric of our work.” “To borrow the words of former U.S. Surgeon General David
Tyson, along with Ray Baxter, senior vice president, Community Satcher, MD, ‘this is a national problem; it’s not a minority problem.
Benefit; Ron Knox, vice president and chief diversity officer; and Disparities in health is America’s problem.’ These are exciting times,
Ron Copeland, MD, executive medical director in Ohio; is spear- and I am proud to be part of an organization that cares and wants to
heading Kaiser Permanente’s response to this challenge. make a difference.”
Currently, Kaiser Permanente cares for more than 1.25 mil-
lion Latino members, 1 million African-American members, and About Bernard Tyson: 23 Years of Leadership
Bernard Tyson is executive vice president for health plan and hospital operations. He
750,000 Asian and Pacific Islanders. leads the eight presidents in the Kaiser Permanente regions. He is also a member of
“Given our experience caring for such a diverse patient popula- the National Leadership Team and the Executive Leadership Group. In addition, he is
responsible for National Facility Services, Workplace Safety, Patient Care Services, and
tion, we need to leverage our learnings and serve as a model for the National Health Plan and Hospital Operations.
entire health care industry,” said Tyson. Immediately prior to his current role, Tyson served as senior vice president of Brand
Strategy & Management. The “Thrive” image advertising campaign launched under
Tyson’s stewardship.

Kaiser Permanente’s regional presidents:

(from left to right) Patricia Kennedy-
Scott, Ohio; Mary Ann Thode, Northern
California; Andrew McCulloch, Northwest;
Janet Liang, Hawaii; Carolyn Kenny,
Georgia; Donna Lynne, Colorado;
Benjamin Chu, Southern California;
Marilyn J. Kawamura, Mid-Atlantic States.

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 29
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Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Perspectives on Diversity
from Kaiser Permanente Leaders

Marilyn J. Kawamura Benjamin K. Chu, MD

Regional President, Regional President,
Mid-Atlantic States Southern California

“At Kaiser Permanente of the “The greatness of this country

Mid-Atlantic States, we have a comes from the power of the
commitment to the people we tremendous diversity of our
serve: treating each person with people. The health care land-
respect, compassion, and dig- scape in Southern California
nity in order to achieve caring, is one of the most diverse in
top-quality health care. In our metropolitan area—and the entire the nation, a cacophony of languages and variety of ethnicities.
health care industry—we are facing demographic changes, shifting At Kaiser Permanente, we strive each day to provide culturally
workforce needs and growing challenges in the delivery of personalized responsive care to that diverse population. To do that, we must
care. At Kaiser Permanente, we are striving to meet these needs. We respect our patients, understand their divergent backgrounds
are engaged in a wide variety of programs that enhance the diversity, and tailor our care to meet their individual needs. Our health
cultural competence and performance of our workforce. I am proud care team is recognized for its diversity, skill and compassion.
to be part of an organization that values diversity and weaves cultural We share a common goal—to help our members to live healthy lives
competence into the fabric of its mission.” and to thrive.”

Patricia Kennedy-Scott
Regional President, Ohio

“As part of our strategic planning process in the Ohio Region, we work to ensure that our business plans
are aligned with the varying needs of our members, build upon the contributions of our diverse staff, and
acknowledge and respond to the demands and expectations of our richly diverse community. The heart of
our commitment to diversity comes from a willingness and aspiration to listen to the needs and contribu-
tions of people as individuals—seeing beyond their connection to any particular demographic.
“In our health care centers, this means ensuring that every member is served by providers who can
relate to the patient in a culturally appropriate manner. In our community, this means cultivating and growing strong partnerships that
provide opportunities to understand and participate in meeting the distinct needs of our residents and employers.
“Achieving culturally competent care and respecting diversity begin with hiring and training employees who share our organization’s
values. By hearing, articulating, embracing, and celebrating our differences we can nurture respect for each other and come together as a
team to provide personalized care to those we serve.”

30 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

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Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Workforce Diversity: A Core Value in Finance

Kathy Lancaster employees learn more about Kaiser Permanente.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Kaiser Finance is also involved more directly. For example, Senior Vice
Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals
President Larry Wilson has served for four years on the board of
directors of INROADS, a not-for-profit committed to increasing the
As chief financial officer,
representation of Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos, and Native American
Kathy Lancaster partners with
Indians in corporate America. Each summer, in Northern California
other key leaders to drive
alone, Kaiser Permanente sponsors up to 30 college interns from a
organization-wide transfor-
variety of academic disciplines. In recent years, an increasing number
mation, performance, and
of these students have taken post-undergraduate positions in Kaiser
strategy. For Lancaster, finance
Permanente’s finance organization.
is no different than the rest of
Says Lancaster, “We have been a leader for a very long time in
Kaiser Permanente when it
creating excellent care for a very diverse set of people. It is critical
comes to the importance of
that our workforce reflects the diversity of our membership and the
communities we serve.”
“We are all part of a very
Lancaster oversees the controller’s office, treasury, procure-
diverse society, and potential
ment and supply, financial shared services functions, and strategic
employees are going to look
planning, as well as the finance teams of the revenue cycle function,
Kathy Lancaster at us to see if we reflect
Sarbanes-Oxley implementation, KP OneLink, Kaiser Permanente’s
the world around us,” says
enterprise resource planning system, and information technology.
Lancaster. “We believe that a diverse workforce enables us to
She also provides financial leadership for the pharmacy group,
achieve the best results because we get the benefit of hearing dif-
national facilities organization, and each of Kaiser Permanente’s
ferent and valuable perspectives. In finance, we regularly review
eight geographic regions.
where we are in terms of the diversity of our entire team, and we
A veteran health care executive with 25 years’ industry experi-
are always looking to add to our breadth and depth.“
ence, Lancaster spent several years as vice president of Network
To increase the pipeline of diverse candidates, finance sponsors
Management for the Prudential Insurance Company’s western
and plays an active role in events such as the Finance/Accounting
region before joining Kaiser Permanente in 1998.
and MBA Diversity Summit, which is intended to let potential

Building the Workforce of the Future…Today

Laurence G. O’Neil, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Central to Kaiser Permanente’s diversity strategy is people. A corner- peting for talent to fill jobs in an
stone of the organization’s diversity agenda is to “Enhance the diver- industry that is perhaps the fastest
sity, cultural competence, skill and performance of our workforce.” growing in the private sector.”
As the chief HR officer, Laurence G. (Lon) O’Neil is the Kaiser Permanente’s workforce
steward of that workforce, and he is very tuned in to the growing comprises 52% people of color.
diversity of America’s population and the implications for Kaiser In the 1940s and 1950s, Kaiser
Permanente’s membership and its workforce. Permanente set industry precedents
The Latino population, reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in equal employment opportunity
to be at 37 million people, is now the largest minority group and affirmative action. But like
in America. other companies, it has a ways to go
Lon O’Neil
Nearly one in five people speak a language other than English in making sure the workforce that
in the home. serves its members mirrors the diversity of its members. Just over five
The latest numbers available from the U.S. Census Bureau percent of Kaiser Permanente physicians are African-American, for
indicate that this country’s population includes 33.5 million foreign instance, compared to nearly 13 percent of the American population
born, representing 11.7 percent of the U.S. population. (12.8 percent according to the U.S. Census Bureau).
“Our organization must tap into our resources and use our
leadership in diversity to get ahead of these trends in order to ensure How is Kaiser Permanente Building the Workforce
that the care we provide is relevant to our members,” said O’Neil. of Tomorrow?
“Amidst these changes, we in the health care field will be com- “In order to succeed in a globalized economy, we need to be proac-
tive in thinking about how we employ and deploy our talent,” ’

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Demographic Profile
Diversity at Kaiser Permanente drives uniform employment standards and
practices, enhances the recruitment of a diverse workforce, and eliminates
barriers that prevent full and meaningful employment. A key indicator of
Kaiser Permanente’s successful implementation of its National Diversity
Agenda is the diversity of its workforce and governing bodies as delineated in
the following demographic profile:

KP National Workforce Women People of Color Eddie Wills, Jr., MD

Total Employees 74.2% 54.2%

KP Board of Directors 35.7% 50%
Officials and Managers 66.2% 35.9%
I believe
Professionals 72.3% 47.4%
Executives 44.7% 19.5%
Physicians 38.6% 43.7%
KP National Diversity Council 33.3% 86.6%

Poster from
Kaiser Permanente’s
ongoing “I Believe”
recruitment campaign,
first launched in 2005.


said O’Neil. “We aspire to identify and develop diverse talent at diversity is a priority in leadership development and talent
every level to ensure that we have a cultural perspective that reflects management agendas.
our membership and communities.”
Kaiser Permanente has invested millions in recruitment adver- Engaging Employees
tising and outreach targeted at the disabled community; the lesbian,
According to Lon O’Neil, “the engagement of our workforce in our
gay, bisexual and transgender community; women; and people of
diversity agenda and in the growth of their cultural competence,
color. Kaiser Permanente has also worked to increase executive hiring
skill, and performance is critical, and the way we engage our work-
and promotion rates for women and people of color.
force is our Labor Management Partnership (LMP).”
Reaching minority students has also been a priority. Kaiser
Kaiser Permanente has a unique Labor Management Partnership,
Permanente has established relationships with a number of histori-
with a coalition of 29 unions representing more than 86,000 employ-
cally black colleges. A group of Kaiser Permanente physicians in San
ees. The latest national labor agreement includes specific provisions
Diego called the Hippocrates Circle mentors students interested in
for substantial workforce development, service quality improvement,
pursuing a medical career who wouldn’t normally be exposed to the
and organizational performance improvement.
medical field. The KP L.A.U.N.C.H. (Learn About Unlimited New
Kaiser Permanente’s diversity and LMP are core business strate-
Careers in Healthcare) INROADS Internship program benefits both
gies interwoven to position it as a best place to work and the best
the organization and the health care community at large by provid-
place to receive culturally competent care.
ing an effective means for accessing the diverse talent of underrepre-
sented students of color. PDJ
The Protégé of Color Program builds leadership bench
strength among diverse people within Kaiser Permanente, and
About Lon O’Neil
As senior vice president and chief HR officer, Lon O’Neil is also a member of the
National Leadership Team. O’Neil joined Kaiser Permanente in 2002. Prior to joining
Kaiser Permanente, he had a career spanning 20 years with Bank of America, where
he held various management positions in the United States and Asia. Diversity has
always been a strong thread in his approach to HR strategy.

32 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

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Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Diversity as Critical to Kaiser Permanente’s Brand

Diane Gage Lofgren,
Senior VP, Brand Strategy, Communications, and Public Relations

As the senior vice president, Brand Strategy, Communications and Public Relations,
Diane Gage Lofgren knows that “Diversity is central to Kaiser Permanente.”
Lofgren leads the critical work associated with repositioning Kaiser Permanente in
the hearts and minds of its key stakeholders, and leads and directs all work associ-
ated with stewardship and oversight of the Kaiser Permanente brand. Lofgren also
leads the broad array of national communications, media relations, issues manage-
ment, and public relations activities for Kaiser Permanente. Diversity plays a key
role in that work.
Diane Gage Lofgren “Our brand is a mirror of who we are, what we do, and what we stand for,” she
explains. “We work to ensure that all of our marketing, advertising, and commu-
nications are reflective of the broad spectrum of ethnicity, genders, and cultures represented by our workforce,
members, and the communities we serve. Our brand position of Total Health is borne out of our desire to help
everyone achieve health in mind, body and spirit.”
Prior to joining the organization, she was senior vice president of Marketing and Communications at Sharp
HealthCare, a $1.6 billion not-for-profit integrated delivery system serving San Diego County. She has pub-
lished seven books and written scores of national magazine articles discussing topics ranging from business and
personal relationships to management and marketing.

Personal and Professional Perspectives of Kaiser Permanente’s Diversity

Louise Liang, MD
Senior Vice President for Quality & Clinical Systems Support

Louise Liang knows about Kaiser Permanente’s deep commitment to diversity

better than most. As an Asian-American woman on the organization’s National
Leadership Team, she believes that “the executive ranks demonstrate the blind-
ness we have to gender and race. I have always felt valued and supported for the
skills, experience, and performance I bring.”
In addition to her personal experience, Liang, who serves as the senior vice
president for Quality & Clinical Systems Support, sees diversity as a business
advantage for Kaiser Permanente. “I have always thought it critical to seek and
support talent from all genders and races,” she says. “We shortchange ourselves
and our organization to do less than that.”
Under Liang’s leadership, Kaiser Permanente has implemented HealthConnect, Louise Liang, MD
a highly-sophisticated information management and care delivery system
designed to enhance the quality of patient care. In addition to the system’s patient care advan-
tages, Liang believes that HealthConnect is supporting Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to diversity
as well.
“KP HealthConnect gives us the effective capability to identify and record member diversity,” she
explains. “This will enable us to meet their current needs better, as well as, over time, evaluate and
identify what works better for specific racial and ethnic segments of the population.”

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National Diversity
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

a rich heritage and promising future

W hen the National Diversity Council

was first created in 1992, its initial
purpose was to provide senior-level oversight
and implementation support for Kaiser
Permanente’s national diversity agenda.
Since then, Kaiser Permanente has evolved
its diversity orientation from a focus on
awareness, education, and compliance to
one of cultural competency, elimination of
health care disparities, and market lead-
ership. Likewise, the National Diversity
Council has evolved to formulate strategic
diversity policy.
Educational Theatre Program performs at Annual Diversity Conference.

The National Diversity Agenda:

Helping to Focus Kaiser Permanente’s Efforts
Diversity is a defining characteristic of the Kaiser Permanente organization. According to Ronald Knox, vice president and chief diversity officer,
“Some have said that diversity is in the organization’s DNA.” From a rich history of diversity firsts in the industry—including hiring women
physicians and physicians of color during the pre-civil rights era and providing medical care in racially integrated facilities when racial segre-
gation was the prevailing societal practice—to sustained efforts to integrate diversity into every aspect of daily business operations, Kaiser
Permanente has distinguished itself as an inclusive, socially-conscious organization focused on its members, patients and communities.
To maintain and enhance that diversity focus, Kaiser Permanente has developed a detailed, CEO-approved and mandated National Diversity
Agenda. The agenda began as a multidimensional, forward-looking strategy that went beyond traditional workforce diversity to include focus
on two additional, critically important components of the organization’s operations: care delivery and the marketplace.
“The National Diversity Agenda authors crafted a strategy that responded to the projected population shifts, existing diversity in key
geographical business sectors, and how, proactively, diversity assets could be developed, refined, and leveraged to achieve business goals,”
Knox says.
Today, Kaiser Permanente’s National Diversity Agenda is comprised of three interlinking cornerstones:
1. Grow membership through effective market segmentation approaches that target specific
populations that are the fastest growing segments of society.
2. Provide culturally competent medical care and culturally appropriate service to improve the
health and satisfaction of an increasingly diverse membership.
3. Enhance the diversity, cultural competence, skill, and performance of the workforce.
Within this framework, Knox says, “literally hundreds of diversity initiatives have been developed to imple-
ment the National Diversity Agenda in each of the company’s eight geographical regions and the national
Knox points out that the Agenda also established the infrastructure necessary for its successful imple-
mentation and sustainability. “The essential components of this infrastructure include the National Diversity Kaiser Permanente’s
National Diversity Logo.
Council, a senior executive body responsible for diversity policy and direction; the National Diversity Office,
responsible for diversity operations and development of national initiatives; and the regional diversity directors, multicultural staff associations
and diversity councils that establish regional diversity priorities,” he says.
Although the scope of the initiatives under each cornerstone of Kaiser Permanente’s National Diversity Agenda varies widely, Knox says
there is one constant: “Central to the success of each initiative, and ultimately the success of the National Diversity Agenda, are the people
of Kaiser Permanente. It is through their skills, efforts, commitment, and passion that diversity has become an integral part of the Kaiser
Permanente brand.”

34 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

National diversity
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente’s National Diversity Council:

Governance of the Diversity Agenda

Today, Kaiser Permanente’s National of an organization-wide policy on the elimination of racial
Diversity Council—along with and ethnic health disparities. The Council subsequently led the
the National Diversity office— development and implementation of a major national initiative to
promotes, supports, and assists the collect racial, ethnic and language preference information from our
regions in implementing the Board members and patients to inform care quality improvement and cul-
of Director’s mandate and agenda. turally competent care initiatives to support the policy to eliminate
“The Council carries out this health disparities. These relate directly to the “Care” component of
accountability by being an advo- the ND Agenda.
cate, an internal consultant, and Dr. Copeland also cites the review and update of the organiza-
Ronald Copeland, MD, FACS, providing policy formulation, stra- tion’s national non-discrimination policies, which includes a recent
co-leads Kaiser Permanente’s tegic direction and content exper- modification that adds gender identity to the policy. “The goal is to
National Diversity Council.
tise as it relates to the three pillars of continue our rich tradition of inclusiveness,” he says.
the national diversity agenda,” explains Council co-chair Ronald L. Dr. Copeland believes the Council’s continued success depends
Copeland, MD, FACS, who also leads the Council’s strategy devel- on “achieving and maintaining a solid foundation of workforce skills
opment forums. These pillars are: and management capacity to engage an increasingly more diverse
• Growing membership through effective market workforce and membership.” He adds that this requires “achievement
segmentation approaches that target the fastest-growing of true cultural competency, leveraging true workforce diversity as a
segments of our society, competitive advantage, and demands leadership and accountability
• Providing culturally competent medical care and service through all levels of the organization. Our goal is to ensure, as it has
to improve the health and satisfaction of an increasingly been stated before, that diversity is not an extra-curricular activity
diverse membership, and but in fact the way Kaiser Permanente does its business.”
• Enhancing the diversity, cultural competence, skill
and performance of the Kaiser Permanente workforce.
About Ronald Copeland
According to Dr. Copeland, the National Diversity Council Ronald Copeland, MD, FACS, is also a board certified surgeon; Chairman of the
has developed a strategic plan that covers more than 50 initiatives Executive Committee for the Permanente Federation; President and Executive
Medical Director of the Ohio Permanente Group; and a nationally acknowledged
necessary to successfully implement Kaiser Permanente’s strategic
expert on health disparities among minority populations.
diversity agenda. For example, Council action led to adoption PDJ

Kaiser Permanente’s 2007 National Diversity Conference

Celebrating a Commitment to Diversity for 30 years!

Kaiser Permanente’s Annual National Diversity Conference is the organization’s signature diversity
educational forum, with 2007 marking the 30th anniversary of this premiere event. It features presen-
tations and workshops covering topics of workforce diversity, health disparities among populations of
color, language services and care access, EEO and Affirmative Action, multicultural marketing, cultur-
ally competent care delivery, and cutting edge diversity program strategies and operations. It’s also an
opportunity for business and collegial networking.
Started in 1976 as the Equal Employment Opportunity Conference (EEOC), the conference has
been held every year since, except 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake occurred just days before
the scheduled conference, with the epicenter located two miles from the proposed site. Even in the
immediate aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the public’s understandable reluc-
tance to fly, nearly 700 participants attended the conference, a tribute to the nation’s diversity and to George Halvorson, Kaiser
Permanente president and CEO,
Kaiser Permanente’s rededication to diversity as an important part of the nation’s recovery.
at the 2006 conference.
This forum draws 1,000 executives, board members, physicians, nurses and other clinicians, HR
and diversity officers, selected customers, and a host of other professional staff from Kaiser Permanente’s eight Regions.
Diverse and distinguished speakers and world-class entertainers have graced the conference stage over the years, including Surgeons
General David Satcher and Jocelyn Elders; EEOC Chairs Cari Dominguez and Clarence Thomas, now a Supreme Court Justice; and such
diversity pioneers as R. Roosevelt Thomas, Edwin Nichols, and distinguished attorneys Connie Rice and Charles Ogletree. World-class enter-
tainers Rita Moreno, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, B.D. Wong, Robert Townsend, the Lula Washington Dance Theater, and Emmy Award
winner Sarah Jones have also been featured speakers. ’

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 35
National diversity
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente


 he R.J. Erickson Diversity
Achievement Awards—The R.J.
Erickson Diversity Achievement
External organizations and other entities have acknowledged Kaiser
Awards are presented to those who
Permanente’s diversity leadership and advocacy with awards and other recog-
demonstrate exemplary efforts to
nition. Included below are some of the recent acknowledgements:
advance Kaiser Permanente’s Diversity
• Innovation and Excellence in Community Leadership Award—America’s Agenda. Named in honor of Robert J.
Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Erickson, former General Counsel and
• Top 50 Companies for Diversity—DiversityInc (2007; 2006) Secretary and Senior Vice President for
• 100% Rating: Corporate Equality Index—Human Rights Campaign (2007; Legal and Government Relations, the
2006; 2005) awards recognize meritorious achieve- Lisbeth Fletcher, of KP’s
• Top Corporations for Asian Americans—Asian Enterprise Magazine ment in the fields of culturally compe- Mid-Atlantic States Region,
• Diversity Leadership Award—Diversity Best Practices tent care, cultural and linguistic service accepts an R.J. Erickson
• International Innovations in Diversity Award—Profiles in Diversity Journal excellence, workforce diversity, mul- Diversity Achievement Award.
• Employer of Choice (Western Region)—Minority Corporate Counsel ticultural marketing and community
Association (MCCA) service. Robert Erickson provided nearly 40 years of distinguished service
• In-house Counsel Diversity Award—California Minority Counsel Program to Kaiser Permanente and continues to be an unwavering advocate for
(CMCP) diversity. Kaiser Permanente established the R.J. Erickson Awards for diver-
• Recognizing Innovation in Multicultural Health Care Award—National sity in his honor and to recognize the efforts of employees and physicians
Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) who emulate his spirit in advancing innovative and impactful initiatives that
• Bronze Telly Award—Understanding Cultural Framework of enhance the diversity excellence of the organization.
 he HIV/AIDS Awards—The HIV/AIDS Awards recognize effective,
Kaiser Permanente recognizes individuals and organizations that have dis- innovative, and replicable practices in HIV/AIDS community service,
tinguished themselves through diversity excellence. Below are notable Kaiser leadership and excellence in HIV care delivery within the United States.
Permanente awards for diversity presented annually to deserving recipients. Award recipients have distinguished themselves, often overcoming consid-
erable obstacles, in providing advocacy, service and care in the fight to end
 iversity Hall of Fame—Inductees
the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
into the Kaiser Permanente Diversity
Hall of Fame are employee and physi- These prestigious awards sym-
cian trailblazers whose courage, integ- bolize Kaiser Permanente’s com-
rity and commitment have advanced mitment to diversity as a core
principles and practices of inclusion, organizational value, and the
fairness and equity, equal opportunity, means by which we achieve our
and cultural competency and aware- mission and grow the business.
ness. In doing so, they have inspired
others to follow in their footsteps.
Senior Vice President of HR Lon O’Neil presents the R.J. Erickson Award
Diversity Hall of Fame Awards to Edie Urteaga of the Northern California Region.
Also pictured is Bob Erickson for whom the award is named.

The two-and-a-half day conference featured a keynote address Just a couple of

by CEO and Chairman George Halvorson, as well as addresses by the many displays
members of the board of directors, and other Kaiser Permanente at the conference
that capture the
executives; an impressive diversity showcase with more than 30 best significance of
practices displays from across the country; leading edge diversity diversity at
panel presentations; and 40 or more workshops. Kaiser Permanente.
Other key highlights include presentation of the R.J. Erickson
Diversity Achievement Awards, the HIV/AIDS Leadership and Care
Delivery Awards and the induction of distinguished diversity cham-
pions into the Diversity Hall of Fame.

Conference attendees think collectively during a workshop.

36 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

National diversity
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Partnership with INROADS Produces Opportunities

INROADS is a national nonprofit program that began in 1970 to provide
underrepresented college students of color with business experience oppor-
tunities. The organization recruits these students, enrolled in four-year college
programs, to serve as interns in organizations where they can learn applicable
skills and perspectives to help them succeed in the business world.
The Kaiser Permanente partnership with INROADS, which began in
1987 with five interns, is unique in several respects, including job shadowing
opportunities and bi-monthly peer group meetings where Kaiser Permanente
leadership, including senior executives, offer valuable advice. There are schol-
arships and several opportunities for interns to network with each other Interns from Kaiser Permanente’s
INROADS program.
throughout their stay.

The Institute for Culturally Competent Care:

Embracing Cultural Diversity in Providing Health Care Services

In 1999, Kaiser Permanente created the Institute for
Culturally Competent Care as part of its national strategy
to incorporate culturally competent care into its health
care delivery system.
“Embedding the patient’s cultural perspectives, beliefs,
and health practices into the clinical encounter at every
point aligns with our commitment to patient-centered
care, and acknowledges the diversity of the members and
communities we serve,” said Dr. Melanie Tervalon, the
Institute’s director.
A primary means to incorporate culturally competent
care is to educate providers, clinicians, and the health
workforce about members’ cultural beliefs and practices.
The institute’s team implements this goal through educa-
tional tools and products.
“Provider handbooks, our most popular product,
describe culturally competent care for the Individuals with
Disabilities, African-American, Latino, Asian and Pacific
Family practitioner Alain Flores, MD, treats patient Mark Wright at
Kaiser Permanente’s Stockton, CA, facility. Islanders, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
populations,” said Dr. Tervalon.
Centers of Excellence in Culturally Competent Care
Nine Centers of Excellence in Culturally Competent Care advance the institute’s goal by sharing expertise within Kaiser Permanente and
throughout the health care community.
“These centers show how trained staff, able to explore issues of culture, race, and ethnicity, contribute to positive health outcomes and
the reduction of racial and ethnic health disparities for our members,” says Dr. Tervalon. “The centers’ research efforts are dedicated to dem-
onstrating the universal applicability of the patient-centered, culturally skilled, quality care that is at the heart of cultural competence.”
The Center of Excellence in Kaiser Permanente’s Ohio Region
Concentrating on health disparities in the African-American population, Kaiser Permanente Ohio’s Center of Excellence helps regional
physicians strengthen their cultural competency skills to improve cardiovascular health among African-American patients. To meet this
objective, the Center completed an internal assessment on the level of cultural competency within the workforce. The results ’

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 37
National diversity
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

are guiding specific training and interventions to ensure that Kaiser

Permanente continues to deliver consistent quality care to all its members,
regardless of their ethnic and racial background.
Another objective for this Center is to reduce health disparities for
African Americans through community partnerships. Statewide, the
Center participates in health fairs, conferences, the Cleveland African-
American Family Wellness Walk, and the Community Health Initiative,
an outreach initiative addressing lifestyle and environmental change in a
targeted Cleveland neighborhood.
The Take HEED research study offers behavioral modifications for
weight management in African-American women whose body mass index
(BMI) classifies them as obese. In 2008, the Center plans to partner with
other departments, such as patient education and disease management, to
more effectively serve African-American patients diagnosed with obesity,
Latino American Center of Excellence in Culturally Competent Care kick-
diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and high blood pressure. off, Hispanic Heritage Month at Prince Georges Medical Center, Kaiser
The Centers of Excellence in Kaiser Permanente’s Permanente Mid-Atlantic States. Pictured back row (l to r): Karen Pugh,
Medical facility administrator; Monica Villalta, Director of Diversity
Mid-Atlantic States Region Programs; Martin Portillo, MD, Latino American Center of Excellence
The Mid-Atlantic States’ Latino Centers of Excellence (LCE) emphasize Champion; front row (seated); Melanie Tervalon, MD, MPH, Director
for the Kaiser Permanente National Diversity Institute for Culturally
expanding culturally competent care for the region’s Latino members. The Competent Care.
goal is to assure linguistic and cultural competence by including a medical
provider, a medical assistant, and sufficient front line staff who are fully bilingual. In addition, four centers with high numbers of Latino
members offer Spanish-language education materials and classes, as well as directional signs in Spanish.
Another Center of Excellence initiative addresses the high rates of asthma among Latino members. According to Kaiser Permanente data,
asthma control programs—targeting the Latino membership population—that stress patient education show improved patient compliance
with treatment regimens and lead to reductions in asthma attacks.
The asthma control pilot program is guided by a detailed physician progress note template and emphasizes comprehensive asthma educa-
tion through Spanish language asthma management tools. By providing access to bilingual medical staff trained in cultural competence and
promoting Spanish-language asthma education, the LCE asthma control intervention should lead to improvements in health outcomes for
Latino patients.
Physicians at the Latino Centers of Excellence, in partnership with their teams, lead the efforts to assure that interventions are
culturally and linguistically appropriate and fulfill the definition of Culturally Competent Care: “Health care delivery that demonstrates
understanding of, and respect for, the discrete cultural attributes, traditions, and behaviors of a community and its members. Among the
elements that contribute to cultural competence are proficiency in the patient’s language, an appreciation of the familial relations and social
customs within the community, and an awareness of and sensitivity to different attitudes that may be prevalent in the community regarding
health and health care.” PDJ
San Francisco Center of Excellence for Linguistic and Cultural Services
Linguistic & Cultural Services…Bridging Cultures and Languages—from Programs to Service Delivery!

San Francisco is a multiethnic, multicultural city. It is this multiculturalism that makes this city unique, dynamic and fun to live and work in. Multiculturalism also challenges
the way we think and interact with each other. It offers tremendous opportunities for us to share, learn and grow from this rich interaction.
We realize that many of the cultures share similarities and yet are very different. Our goal is to provide health care services to meet the diverse needs of our member
population. To achieve this goal, we must have a good understanding of our members’ cultures, their beliefs, values, and customs. Fundamentally, we need to be able
to communicate in their languages.
At our San Francisco medical center, we are proud of our dedicated physicians and staff who reflect the communities we serve. Just to give you an idea of the wealth
of the center’s diversity, there are more than 40 different languages and dialects spoken by the staff. This type of representation gives us the strength and ability to serve
our diverse membership, which represents over 60 different languages.
Kaiser Permanente’s San Francisco Center of Excellence (SFCOE) is well recognized in the industry for its linguistic and cultural services program and products. The
Linguistic and Cultural Services Department (also known as Multicultural Services) was established in 1996 to systematically facilitate understanding and communication
among people of different cultures speaking different languages in a health care setting.
The following are some of the linguistic services provided by the medical center:
• Qualified bilingual staff and bilingual clinicians
• Language-specific modules staffed with bilingual employees and physicians
• Language-specific pharmacy services
• Certified staff interpreter services
• Professional translation services
• Chinese and Spanish member newsletters
• Chinese Interpreter Call Center serving the Northern California Regions’ appointment and advice centers.
Quick facts:
• Averaged 35,000 interpretation encounters handled by certified staff interpreters
• Averaged 2,000 interpretation encounters handled by contracted interpreters
• Over 50,000 calls handled by certified staff interpreters through the Chinese Interpreter Call Center

38 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

National diversity
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente’s National Linguistic & Cultural Programs

In today’s health care system, it is a challenge to establish systems approaches
that support patients’ linguistic and cultural needs. According to Census 2005,
almost 52 million people—more than 19 percent of the U.S. population—
speak a language other than English at home.

Kaiser Permanente’s membership is a microcosm of the diversity representing our

nation and world, encompassing 120 different languages and dialects, according
to Gayle Tang, Director of National Linguistic and Cultural Programs.
“For members whose primary or preferred language is other than English,
our ability to provide patient-centered care is challenged when we cannot com-
municate effectively,” she explains. “Our members also bring an array of cultural
values, beliefs, and health practices, which heighten the complexity of ensuring
meaningful access to care.”
Director of National Linguistic & Cultural Programs, Gayle To address this challenge, Kaiser Permanente employs a systems approach
Tang, and Language Coach, Dan Kwan (second and third to meeting the diverse needs of members and their respective communities. “We
from right, seated) with a group of Cantonese speaking work towards delivering
students from the HCI certification program.
linguistically and cul-
turally appropriate services at every point of contact,” Tang says.
She highlights two successful examples of this approach: the Health Care
Interpreter (HCI) Certificate Program and the Qualified Bilingual Staff (QBS)
Model and Program, award-winning initiatives that focus on building internal and
community capacity to serve limited-English proficient (LEP) patients.

The Health Care Interpreter (HCI) Certificate Program

When qualified health care interpreters are not available, unqualified ‘ad hoc’
interpreters, such as children and untrained bilingual staff, are pressed into service.
Improper interpretation increases patient confusion, jeopardizes safety, inflicts dis-
tress, and is costly to any organization.
In response to this need, Kaiser Permanente established the HCI Certificate Students in Kaiser Permanente’s Health Care
Program, a college-level training program designed to provide accreditation stan- Interpreter Certification classes in San Francisco.
dards for interpreters serving LEP members and patients. Now in its 11th year in
partnership with City College of San Francisco, Kaiser Permanente’s nationally acclaimed HCI Program is a cost-effective and innovative
approach that addresses the growing needs of linguistically and culturally diverse communities.
Says Tang, “Partnerships with educational institutions provide a unique practice-oriented curriculum with a strong academic focus
in alignment with our organizational standards.” To ensure successful replication of the Program, Kaiser
Permanente trained more than 100 college-level instructors through the National Linguistic & Cultural
Programs’ HCI Instructor Institute.
To date, the HCI model partnership and training program is now at work in 15 states. More than 1,000
health care interpreters representing 14 different language groups have graduated from the Program. “A num-
ber of graduates work in other health care organizations in addition to other fields, such as education and
social services, enhancing workforce diversity beyond our organization,” Tang adds.

The Qualified Bilingual Staff (QBS) Model and Program

Tang describes the QBS Model as “our workforce diversity and development program designed to provide
staff and providers with ongoing education and training in linguistically and culturally competent care. It
leverages our organization’s greatest asset, the people of Kaiser Permanente—our principal linguistic and
Kaiser Permanente medical
cultural experts.”
centers and office buildings
She goes on to say that the QBS Model recognizes that diversity itself does not equal linguistic and provide directional signs in
cultural competency in the workforce. “The goal of the Qualified Bilingual Staff (QBS) Model is to identify, several languages to better
qualify, educate and enhance, mobilize, and monitor an internal workforce as a key strategy to improve health serve non-English speaking
outcomes and eliminate health care disparities.” The QBS Model enhances bilingual communication within members.
the staff and provider’s scope of practice or clinical specialty.
Four of Kaiser Permanente’s Regions use the QBS Model and Program in collaboration with the Labor Management Partnership. “It
continues to expand throughout our Program,” Tang says. “Now with over 4,000 employees qualified to serve, our organization is improving
service delivery throughout the entire care continuum, ranging from customer service areas to specialized clinical settings.”
P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 39
National diversity
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Staff Associations Benefit Kaiser Permanente and its Workforce

By bringing together employees and physicians with similar ethnic or cultural backgrounds, employees with disabilities, or lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees, Kaiser Permanente’s staff associations create a tremendous resource for both the organization
and the workforce. Through structured partnering, staff association activities across the regions help move the diversity agenda forward and
strengthen critical ties to the community.
To benefit the workforce, staff associations advocate for programs and approaches that increase recruiting, hiring, development, and
promotion of diverse employee groups. They promote and enhance professional development and networking opportunities and provide a
vital link to retired employees, who maintain their advocacy of the Program.
Partnering with Human Resources, staff associations support Kaiser Permanente’s recruiting efforts by:
• Identifying universities and colleges as appropriate sources of diverse employees
for campus recruiting programs and outreach
• Identifying professional associations and Internet sites that attract diverse
candidate pools
• Attending campus recruiting and professional association events
• Supporting mentorship retention and upward mobility programs
• Coordinating scholarship programs for targeted populations
• Sponsoring Youth Career Days and School-to-Work activities and programs
• Providing educational forums for professional development of association
• Serving as candidate sources for leadership succession planning Members of Kaiser Permanente’s African
American Professionals Association.
Staff associations provide culture-specific feedback to Kaiser Permanente leaders on health
issues affecting affinity group communities. This feedback can lead to improved satisfaction,
retention and growth of members. Staff association members also participate in racial- and
ethnic-specific focus groups which assess care quality and cultural competencies, enabling the
organization to more accurately evaluate new products and services for targeted populations.
Working with marketing leaders, staff association mem-
bers provide input into multicultural marketing strategies
and participate in media activities, marketing surveys and
identifying high potential advertising sources.
Community Relations Chuck McAvoy, KP Network Telephony Lead
Carrier, Infrastructure Development.
Staff associations organize and participate in commu-
nity fund-raisers, walkathons, health fairs, inoculation programs, youth bicycle helmet giveaways, gay
pride parades and various activities that improve the community’s health. They also represent Kaiser
Permanente’s interests on community boards, local and national professionals associations, and national
KP Pride—Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual conventions.
and Transgender Kaiser Permanente’s staff associations are a critical part of the diversity infrastructure, and a primary
Association members. source of cultural expertise and diversity advocacy.
Dr. Judy Lively
Blazing Trails for the LGBT Community
Judy Lively, MD, MBA, came to Kaiser Permanente in 1989 after serving as a U.S. Army surgeon and later becoming
disillusioned with what she calls the “dysfunctional” world of fee-for-service medicine.
Initially serving as chief of surgery and later medical director of the operating room at Kaiser Permanente’s
Martinez Medical Center in California, she is now physician-in-chief (PIC) of the Diablo Service Area in Northern California.
But perhaps her most important contribution has come as an advocate and spokesperson for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
Transgender (LGBT) individuals in the workplace and community.
In 2005, Dr. Lively—Dr. Judson Lively at that point—told his colleagues and patients that he was transsexual and planned
to transition from male to female (including a subsequent sex change operation). Met with consistent support from colleagues
and patients during and after the transition, she later developed Kaiser Permanente’s “Workplace Guidelines for Transgen-
der/Transitioning Employees & Physicians,” to help ensure that transgender/transitioning employees receive appropriate and
consistent responses from human resources and management. Her motivation was to draw on her personal experiences to
help the organization understand and accept such employee situations, and provide support in ways that positively affect
those involved.
Judy Lively, MD, In September 2007, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, a national nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to pro-
Physician-In-Chief, moting workplace equality for LGBT employees, honored Dr. Lively with the “Out & Equal Trailblazer Award.” The Trailblazer
Diablo Service Area Award recognizes an individual person who has made a significant contribution to advancing workplace environments where
all people are treated equally regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

40 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

National diversity
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Supplier Diversity:
A Priority at
Kaiser Permanente

As a national leader in health care and an inte-
gral part of the individual communities it serves,
Kaiser Permanente makes it a priority to promote
supplier diversity at both the national and local
levels. According to Kaiser Permanente Chief
Procurement Officer Dean Edwards, National
Supplier Diversity (NSD) provides tools and
resources to help business partners increase their
use of diverse suppliers and works collaboratively
with internal procurement and contracting staff
to ensure inclusive bidding processes. NSD
monitors and reports its results to the federal
government and other major accounts. Meet the Buyers (from left to right): Northern California Supplier Development Council
“Supplier diversity is consistent with Kaiser President Michael Ruiz; Kaiser Permanente NSD Director Katie Luk; Kaiser Permanente Chief
Permanente’s philosophy of improving the com- Procurement Officer Dean Edwards; NSD Senior Consultant Pat Patterson; Intraline President
Pete Varma; and Kaiser Permanente’s interim VP of Supply Chain Skip Skivington.
munities we serve and supporting programs The event was held in April 2006.
that foster diversity,” said Edwards. “By having
contracts with small businesses and those owned by minorities, women, and veterans, Kaiser Permanente fuels economic growth in local
communities and fosters the competitive procurement of products and services by having multiple suppliers.”
Edwards goes on to say that “Supplier diversity means making sure that the suppliers we buy from reflect the diverse communities in
which we operate and serve. By contracting with diverse suppliers, we contribute to healthy, viable businesses that provide quality products
and services as well as good business solutions.”
In 2006, Kaiser Permanente spent more than $519 million with minority- and women-owned suppliers, and accounted for business
transactions with more than 1,800 minority-owned businesses, 2,600 women-owned businesses, and 13,000 small businesses.
Among those transactions was Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s contract with U.S. Metro Group for janitorial services. U.S.
Metro now serves both Northern and Southern California regional offices because of favorable user experience. William Twilley, chief operat-
ing officer, appreciates Kaiser Permanente’s supplier diversity program.
“Our experience with (the Kaiser Permanente) organization was pleasant, informative, and, most importantly, resulted in a business
relationship that is in place to this day. It is a pleasure to work with professionals who truly support the minority community in reality and
not just verbally,” Twilley said.
Last year, Kaiser Permanente’s National Supplier Diversity department worked to increase its efforts to integrate more diverse businesses
into the procurement process. NSD has redesigned its internal Web site, which includes a searchable vendor database, news, performance
reports, outreach calendar, supplier spotlight, and easy-to-download forms for potential suppliers.
Earlier this year, NSD created a tool kit for sourcing and contracting teams that provides helpful information on making supplier diver-
sity a company-wide mission.
Also last year, Kaiser Permanente hosted a “Meet the Buyers” event in Oakland, Calif. The free event was a chance for Northern
California minority suppliers to meet the sourcing teams and the larger Procurement & Supply department. More than 50 minority business
owners turned out to learn about potential Kaiser Permanente contract opportunities. Pete Varma, president of Intraline, a contracted sup-
plier, was impressed by the show. “Your Kaiser Permanente event has set the standard for other (San Francisco) Bay Area corporations, based
on feedback I’ve received from the council and attending minority suppliers,” Varma said after the event. PDJ

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 41
community benefit

Community Benefit
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Improving the health of communities

K aiser Permanente’s Community Benefit

operates with one goal in mind:
Total Community Health.

“Improving the health of our communities is at the
heart of who we are,” says Ray Baxter, senior vice
president of Community Benefit. “Kaiser Permanente
provides subsidized health coverage for more than
50,000 Americans. We partner with public health
departments and clinics, providing vulnerable popula-
tions with access to quality healthcare.”
Kaiser Permanente is also working to bridge the
increasing health care disparity gap. This initiative,
“Universal Coverage Now,” has the goal of providing
coverage for all California residents, with plans to
expand the program nationwide.
In 2006, Kaiser Permanente invested $644 million
to provide health care to the uninsured or underin-
sured through traditional charity care, free or subsidized coverage, and enrollment in Thirty physicians and employees from across
KP assemble after cleaning up a hurricane-
public programs such as Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and damaged park in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Medicare’s Limited-Income Subsidy.
But Baxter adds that universal access to care won’t solve everything. “Good health
is more than just going to a doctor,” he asserts. “It’s preven- KP Response to Katrina
tion, it’s good nutrition, it’s activity, it’s exercise, it’s good mental Met Immediate and
health, it’s mentoring, it’s community building.” That’s why Kaiser Long-term Needs
Permanente’s Community Benefit efforts extend to:
• Empowering and educating young people. “Our educational
In the days immediately after Hurricane
theater program spreads the word (to teenagers) about healthy
eating and exercise.” Katrina, Kaiser Permanente responded
• Increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables in our com- to the relief effort by making a financial
munities. “We sponsor farmer’s markets across the country pledge of $3 million, dispatching two
and now have farmer’s markets at 32 KP hospitals and medical
office buildings across six states.” clinical teams to treat patients at the
• Being involved in studies looking at ways to reduce obesity, the Houston Astrodome evacuation center,
Raymond Baxter,
Senior Vice President, role of racial and ethnic disparities in diabetes complications, and donating hundreds of volunteer
Community Benefit and how parents’ perceptions of neighborhood safety affect
hours from employees.
their children’s physical activity.
“We know these goals are within our reach, because we see successes and accom- In addition, employees contributed
plishments on every front,” Baxter says. For example, since 2005, the National Institutes
$170,463 to the relief effort when
of Health have funded Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research to conduct the Diabetes
Study of Northern California. Kaiser Permanente allowed them to
“Through access to a large, diverse population of Kaiser Permanente patients, donate the cash value of accrued
this study is deepening our understanding of what drives disparities and how to close vacation time. Over the two-year span
the gap.”
Kaiser Permanente has also developed the A.L.L. program—an acronym for the of Kaiser Permanente’s continuing relief
generic drugs Aspirin, Lisinopril, and Lovastatin. Studies show the program reduces efforts in the Gulf Coast region, more
cardiovascular risk for those with diabetes. In 2006, the A.L.L. protocol was initiated than 2,000 Kaiser Permanente employ-
with 600 uninsured patients—most of whom were Latino or African-American, groups
ees and physicians signed up to volun-
that are twice as likely to be impacted by diabetes. This safety net partnership addresses
the disproportionate impact of diabetes on minorities. teer. These relief efforts are only one
“Kaiser Permanente is committed to providing leadership in eliminating ethnic and tangible sign of Kaiser Permanente’s
racial health disparities,” Baxter says. “We strive to provide equitable care to our mem- established commitment to community
bers, target resources to areas of need in our communities, and identify and implement
policies that support equity in health nationwide. service and volunteerism.

42 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

community benefit
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

The Breast Cancer Research Stamp: single location. An innovative

coordinated care facility and a
A KP Physician’s Global Crusade national Center of Excellence,

the center has hosted touring
Ernie Bodai is a busy man—clinical professor of surgery and direc- medical professionals from all
tor of the Breast Health Center at Kaiser Permanente Sacramento, over the world.
CEO for an all-volunteer non-profit organization, published author, The stamp’s success has also
medical device inventor, public speaker and, last but not least, breast paved the way for Dr. Bodai’s
cancer crusader. “Global Journey” project—
Having treated thousands of breast cancer patients in his more introducing the Breast Cancer
than 20 years with Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Bodai was frustrated Research Stamp to the global
with the pace and progress of research funding—“treating so many community. Hungary was the
women who had breast cancer and seeing that we had made so first foreign country to offi- The Breast Cancer Research
few advances.” The idea to issue a Breast Cancer Research Stamp cially issue the stamp and, to Stamp, designed by Ethel
(BCRS) came to him in 1995 and launched a two-and-a-half year, Kessler, was first offered for
date, Gambia, Jordan, Belize, sale in 1998.
one-man lobbying crusade to market it. the Republic of Slovenia, the
Dr. Bodai never lost faith in his mission, even when facing Philippines, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, Romania, St. Vincent in
opposition from the U.S. Postal Service, stamp collectors, his profes- the Caribbean, Kenya, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala have
sional medical society, and even national breast cancer organizations. signed on. Dozens of other countries are considering the program.
Instead, he took his fight to Washington D.C., returning 15 times, “Initially I was kicking myself for not engaging the global
spending $100,000 from his personal savings, and finally finding community earlier, but without the American figures—900 million
support from California Senator Dianne Feinstein. On July 29, stamps raising $60 million—the global campaign would have been
1998, the BCRS was unanimously approved by the Senate. It was a much greater challenge.”
the first “semi-postal” fundraising stamp in U.S. history. The money raised so far has funded significant research, includ-
Stamp sales have exceeded 900 million and raised more than ing identifying a new tumor suppressor gene for use in breast and
$60 million for breast cancer research. It is the most popular stamp ovarian cancer prognosis and new techniques for early breast cancer
of all time. detection.
In addition to his position at Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Bodai
Global Momentum attends speaking engagements and international stamp introduction
The stamp’s credibility has enhanced global interest in breast ceremonies for the Global Journey campaign, and donates time to
cancer research and opened many doors for Dr. Bodai, including CureBreastCancer, Inc. (CBC), the all-volunteer, nonprofit organi-
funding for his dream project, an integrated breast cancer center. zation he jointly founded in 1999.
The Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Breast Health Center, which
opened in 2003, provides all required treatment and services in a

Operation Access: An Interim Solution for America’s Uninsured

In 1992, two physicians began commiserating about the inability of U.S. medical professionals to provide volunteer services in their local hospitals.
Why was it so easy to volunteer overseas, but impossible to help the many uninsured Americans without access to necessary surgical care?
Their conversation evolved into a business plan, and with the help of many dedicated and creative people, Douglas Grey, MD, chief of thoracic and
vascular surgery at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco; William Schecter, MD, chief of surgery at San Francisco General Hospital; and Dr. Paul Hofmann
founded “Operation Access,” in 1993.
Operation Access is a Bay Area nonprofit that coordinates a network of 400 volunteer medical professionals who provide surgery through partici-
pating hospitals. Patients are referred from 60 community clinics.
Today, the partnership includes 19 hospitals, 60 referring community clinics in six Bay Area counties, and more than 400 medical volunteers includ-
ing surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and on-site bilingual interpreters. On an average surgery day, volunteers treat around 10 patients, but
Operation Access recently added “Super Surgery” days to their schedule. On a Super Surgery Day at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, 100
volunteers performed 33 surgeries.
Typical Operation Access patients are working adults with no health insurance. Seventy percent are Latino with an average annual income
of $21,000 for a family of four. Sixty-five percent require interpreter services, and more than half are women. Not earning enough to purchase
health insurance, but earning too much to qualify for government insurance programs, these patients fall through the cracks in our nation’s
health care system.
Although Operation Access was the first organization to offer low-risk elective surgeries to the uninsured in the United States, similar
organizations are emerging across the country. Operation Access supports this trend and supplies inquiring organizations with the tools and
resources required for start-up.

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 43
community benefit
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

KP Physicians Volunteer Time, Funds to Treat Impoverished Kenyans

When Kaiser Permanente physician Gail Wagner, MD, first vis-
ited the Ugenya region of Kenya in 2003, access to health care was
limited to one doctor for over 35,000 people, 40 percent of the
population had active AIDS or was HIV positive, health education
and awareness was almost nonexistent, and the nearest hospital
was three hours away and prohibitively expensive.
During that first visit, she met Daniel Ogola, founder of the
Community Support Group (CSG), an African nonprofit organization
engaging local youth in community development and improvement.
Ogola grew up in the Ugenya area but after high school moved to
Nairobi, where he founded CSG. Preserving his connection to his
home community, he started a branch of CSG in Ugenya as well.
When he discovered that Wagner was a doctor, Ogola invited her to
bring her colleagues to visit several local medical clinics.
Before visiting the clinics, Dr. Wagner, her husband, and three
colleagues established Matibabu Foundation (the Swahili word for
treatment.) In September 2004, accompanied by seven other physi- The Matibabu Foundation members: Stephanie Gehrke, RN; Annette Chenevey, CRNA; Ram
cians, most of whom were from Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Wagner and Ramachandra, MD; Ahmed Alkoraishi, MD; Amanda Schoenberg, MD; Betsy Watson, MD;
her group staffed 10 free medical clinics, treating more than 5,000 George Martin, PhD; Dan Ogola; Gail Wagner, MD; Dick Thompson, MD; Norma Bozzini, MD;
Rick Kuno, MD; Shabnam Kapur, MD; Susan Jacobson, MD; and Will Hawk, MD.
people for malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, and other infections. Since
2004, Wagner and more than 25 Kaiser Permanente physicians and staff have used vacation time and personal finances to provide free medical care to
thousands of Kenyans every year.
Making a Difference a Continent Away
Since 2004, the Foundation has created two permanent clinics staffed with Kenyan professionals that serve a client base of at least 7,000 people. Other con-
tributions include an HIV/AIDS program impacting the epidemic through education, prevention, detection and treatment; a project that ensures over 10,000
schoolchildren are de-wormed every four months; distribution of insecticide-treated malaria nets to prevent malaria in pregnant women and young children;
job training and sexual assault counseling for women; and a garden project that encourages the community to grow healthy food.
Dr. Wagner attributes much of the Foundation’s success to its grass-roots base. In addition to the many amazing doctors involved with the foundation,
“the local people support Matibabu and its work and are responsible for its success.”
Future dream projects for the Foundation include building a local hospital and setting up students-in-residence rotation programs with schools in the
U.S. and Kenya. Using her personal funds and small donations, Dr. Wagner says the long-term plan is to figure out how to keep the Foundation growing and
“We started small but now we need to apply for grants and expand our donor base to continue making a difference in so many lives.” PDJ

MLK Day of Volunteerism: A day ON, Not a day Off

In honor and recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the values communities underserved, further advancing the Kaiser Permanente
he espoused, and his contributions to the nation and the world in legacy that parallels Dr. King’s values.
advancing civil and human rights, Kaiser Permanente observes an “When the National Diversity Council initially proposed the
annual day of volunteerism. As experienced since its inception in MLK day of volunteerism, they envisioned an initiative that would
2005, this event affords Kaiser Permanente the opportunity to take a not only demonstrate Kaiser Permanente’s dedication to community
leadership role in remembering the values that Dr. King’s life exem- service, but one that would also honor the long-lasting legacy of Dr.
plified by proclaiming this day “A day ON, Not a day Off.” On this King,” says James Taylor, PhD, director, diversity strategy implemen-
day, thousands of Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians pro- tation. “It’s a wonderful commitment by our organization’s leader-
vide valuable services such as working at food banks, painting and ship, as well as the thousands of Kaiser Permanente volunteers across
repairing local school buildings and providing medical care to the the Program.” Slated annually for the third Monday in January, the
event is of symbolic importance and practical significance
to Kaiser Permanente. It sends a compelling message to the
community and the Kaiser Permanente workforce about
our values as an organization, and places valuable resources
into the community to advance worthwhile causes.
It also affords an opportunity to acknowledge and
raise awareness of Kaiser Permanente’s tradition of inclu-
sion, diversity, and community benefit, and demonstrates
the organization’s alignment with the ideals of community
welfare and service so eloquently articulated and impressed
upon the world’s consciousness by Dr. King.
Tired but smiling Kaiser Permanente volunteers in Ohio, after long hours of service.

44 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

Diversity Heritage

Diversity Heritage
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente
early inclusion,
lasting legacy

D iversity is a defining characteristic of the Kaiser Permanente organization. According to Ronald

Knox, vice president and chief diversity officer, “Some have said that diversity is in the organiza-
tion’s DNA.” From a rich history of diversity firsts in the industry—including hiring women physicians
and physicians of color during the pre-civil rights era and providing medical care in racially integrated
facilities when racial segregation was the prevailing societal practice—to sustained efforts to integrate
diversity into every aspect of daily business operations, Kaiser Permanente has distinguished itself as an
inclusive, socially-conscious organization focused on its members, patients and communities.

Kaiser Permanente’s Diversity Heritage:

“Where People Come First, Illness Knows No Color Lines”
Born on the home front of World War II more than 60 years ago, Kaiser Permanente’s diversity is an enduring commitment.

Diversity as an organizational value was born when the
Henry J. Kaiser shipyards employed the first women
ever to help build ships, starting in Portland, Oregon,
and Vancouver, Washington, and then in Richmond,
California. This was followed with employment of an esti-
mated 20,000 African Americans, along with many Chinese
Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans, in
addition to Americans with roots in dozens of nations.
In fact, when the first Victory Ship of the Portland
shipyard, the SS United Victory, was launched, diversity
was celebrated by women shipyard workers dressed for the
ceremony in the attire of their countries of origin.
In all, these women represented 28 nations in addi-
tion to the United States. These were Belgium, Bolivia,
Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba,
Czechoslovakia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador,
Ethiopia, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Holland, The lobby of Kaiser Permanente’s Richmond Field Hospital, circa
Honduras, India, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, 1945—for sale in 1998.
Norway, the Philippine Islands, Poland, Russia and Yugoslavia.
men and women with disabilities in the Richmond shipyards for the
government’s War Manpower Commission. His focus was on what
Hiring Disabled War Veterans they could do, not what they couldn’t do. His findings were distrib-
One remarkable story of diversity led ultimately to Kaiser Permanente’s uted nationwide to help communities place disabled war veterans in
first documented community benefit project to help bring veterans jobs after the war.
disabled by wartime injuries into the American workforce at the end
of World War II.
Same Care for Everyone
That story began in early 1942, when young graduates of the
The spirit of diversity was infused into the medical care program
Washington State School for the Deaf were turned down for jobs at
from the outset, as described by founding physician Sidney R.
the Kaiser Shipyard in Vancouver.
Garfield in discussing his first meeting with Edgar Kaiser, who
When members of the deaf community informed Edgar F. Kaiser,
was responsible for bringing Dr. Garfield into partnership with the
Henry Kaiser’s son who was in charge of the Vancouver shipyard, he
Kaiser industrial organization.
ordered the hiring of deaf workers. Over the next year, workers with
“Edgar,” he said, “had strong feelings about how workers should
varied disabilities joined the shipyard workforce up and down the
be treated and about the need for a single class of medical care
West Coast.
for everybody…his principles seemed so high to me that I was
“Then came the great discovery,” said a Kaiser shipyards employ-
ee magazine, The Bo’s’n’s Whistle, in April 1943. “It was found that
The result was succinctly summed up by Nick Bourne, a San
many so-called handicapped workers could find a place just as easily
Francisco journalist who was the first news reporter to visit a Kaiser
as the physically fit.”
hospital in 1943 in Oakland.
From this came Kaiser Permanente’s first documented commu-
“Illness,” he wrote, “knows no color lines here.” PDJ
nity benefit program. Permanente physician Clifford Kuh studied

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 45
Diversity Heritage
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente’s Diversity Pioneers

The men and women who forged Kaiser Permanente’s early diversity heritage lived the Kaiser Permanente social
mission, giving of themselves to improve the health of the community. Wendell Ralph Lipscomb, MD, a
member of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, was the first African-American physician hired as an intern
at Kaiser Permanente.
Dr. Lipscomb was hired at the Oakland Medical Center in 1951. At the end of his one-year internship, he
left Kaiser Permanente to train as a psychiatrist. He had a successful career practicing both in public health and
at the Mendocino State Hospital. While there in 1959, he founded the Alcohol Research Group, which later
moved to Berkeley and grew to become a leader in addiction research and policy.
Ella Mae Simmons, MD, was the first African-American woman physician hired in The Permanente
Medical Group and the founder of the first Kaiser Permanente staff associa-
tion, the Kaiser African-American Professionals Association (KAAPA).
Wendell Lipscomb, MD Dr. Simmons received her first college degree, an RN degree, from
Hampton University in Virginia. Because of the critical shortage of nurses
during World War II, she became an army nurse. It was her experience as a nurse in a segregated army and
her encounters with racism in her native Ohio that determined her lifelong commitment to the struggle
against racism.
Following military service, Dr. Simmons earned a BS in biological sciences and an MA in social
administration from Ohio State University. She had wanted to go into medical school, but Ohio State
accepted only one non-white person into medical school per year. She finally received her MD from
Howard Medical School in Washington, DC, at the age of 41.
Dr. Simmons joined Kaiser Permanente San Francisco in 1955. She had wanted to live in San
Francisco at the time, but faced housing discrimination. She later rallied for housing integration.
After Dr. Simmons retired from Kaiser Permanente in 1989, she worked as a volunteer physician at
Ella Mae Simmons, MD
The Martin Luther King Family Health Center in Richmond, providing medical care for the uninsured
and under-insured. She also joined medical tours to Africa, Asia, and Europe.

KP Employee Led Disabled Access to Commuter Rail

Anywhere you are in the United States, the next time you step onto a commuter train, you’ll notice that it is probably accessible to
people in wheelchairs. That’s because of a Kaiser Permanente employee, who played an important role in making trains accessible to
the disabled community.
The late Harold Willson’s story is one of a patient, an employee, and a man with a dream for the disabled community who was
working in a health care organization that supported his dream.
Willson first came to Kaiser Permanente from West Virginia as a patient in 1948. Financial problems had forced him to drop out
of West Virginia University to work in a coal mine. He was caught in a cave-in and emerged from the mine a paraplegic.
Four months later, Willson found himself on a Pullman coach for a cross-country train trip to Oakland with the first group of injured
miners under a special arrangement for medical care between Henry J. Kaiser and the United Mine Workers Union.
Willson’s care was at the then-new Kaiser-Kabat Rehabilitation Institute in Vallejo, California—today’s world-renowned Kaiser
Foundation Rehabilitation Center. After his rehabilitation care, Willson enrolled at a local university, earned a degree in business, and
came to work for Kaiser Permanente as an economic analyst.
In 1962, Willson started an advocacy journey and became the man most responsible for making the Bay Area Rapid Transit system
(BART) the first handicapped accessible system in the world.
“His suggestion was novel for rapid transit,” A.E. Wolf, then-general superintendent of BART construction, recalled in a speech
shortly after trains started rolling in 1972.
Wolf, once-skeptical, was proud that people with disabilities could ride when the trains started rolling—blazing a trail for American
commuter rail service.
“All of this is possible because one man had a bright shiny dream, and he made it come true,” Wolf said, adding that support from
Kaiser Permanente played a crucial role.
“It is appropriate here to commend Kaiser…because of their interest, encouragement and public service philosophy,” Wolf noted.
“The willingness to arrange time for an employee to participate in this community project was necessary for its success.”
Harold Willson made history. His story and records today are housed at The Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley,
as part of its collection documenting the history of the independent living movement.

46 Profiles in Diversit y Journal January/February 2008

Diversity Heritage
Special Feature :: Kaiser Permanente

Addressing Women’s Health and “The largest yard has accordingly erected a scaffolding outside the weld-
Workplace Issues: A KP Tradition ing school where the woman worker is taught how to climb different types
of ladders, how to lift heavy loads, and how to climb with loads,” Clifford
Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to women’s health dates from its earli- Kuh, MD, reported from the Richmond yards. “The program has cut down
est days on the Homefront of World War II, when women were entering the number of early resignations.”
the wartime workforce in large numbers. From these roots has grown a First to Offer Women’s Cancer Detection
powerful partnership with women in health and health care—a tradition In this setting, with many women join-
of 60 years of health education, disease prevention, clinical excellence, and ing the shipbuilding labor force as
research in women’s health. welders, physicians started the first
Of the 400,000 or so workers who passed through the Kaiser yards, at documented women’s cancer detec-
times up to 25 percent of the work force there were women. In one yard, tion clinic and a public health out-
the number peaked at 60 percent! reach program in maternal and child
And Kaiser Permanente co-founder Henry Kaiser played a national lead- hygiene, among others. It was an
ership role in not just bringing women into the wartime workforce, but early and comprehensive illustration of
advocating for women staying on the job after the war. “Of course they will Kaiser Permanente’s mission to improve
continue to work,” he bluntly declared. “Why shouldn’t they?” the health of both its patients and the
Similarly, Permanente physicians in the shipyard were among the communities it serves.
first to recognize the need to help women build up stamina for the In addition to a general gynecologi-
rigors of manual labor, including the heavy lifting and climbing required cal clinic at the Permanente Foundation
for welders. Hospital in Oakland, Calif., every woman
Keeping Women Working who visited also was seen at the cancer
The workforce retention effort came on the recommendation of an early detection clinic. Gladys Theus, a welder at
gynecologist, Hannah Peters, MD, when she learned that women welders, And, of course, the shipyard the Richmond Shipyard
while they liked the work, were quitting in large numbers because they Rosies—and the men who worked during World War II
were not physically prepared for the strain. She recommended that a physi- alongside them—were among the earli-
cal training course be added at the shipyard welding school. est members of Kaiser Permanente. It was their satisfaction with their care
that encouraged pioneer Permanente physicians to keep the program going
by opening it to the public at the end of the war in 1945.

First Woman Physician Partner No “Patients” with Segregation

Beatrice Lei, MD, the first woman physician partner in The Permanente During World War II, one of the many remarkable things
Medical Group, joined Kaiser Permanente in 1946 as Assistant Chief of about the Permanente Health Plan was that there was
Pediatrics. no racial discrimination. With most physicians in the Armed
Dr. Lei, who was born in Guandong, China, in April 1910, graduated Services, Kaiser workers were grateful to have a health plan
from Hackett Medical College in Canton in 1932. She immigrated to the and access to medical care. Racial animosity was pushed
United States in 1939. Dr. Lei worked in several hospitals during World aside. Segregation of African Americans was not an issue,
War II, ending up at the hospital at the Richmond shipyards. After the war and when the program was opened to the public in October
of 1945, the same non-discriminatory policy was kept
ended, she was approached
in place.
by Dr. Sidney Garfield and
In peacetime, though, pressures began to build for the
Dr. Cecil Cutting to help health plan to conform to widespread community practice by
them start a hospital, along instituting a Jim Crow medical care system. The few private
with four other doctors. hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area that would accept
Once the hospital was in black patients enforced a strict segregation policy. Some
full swing, Dr. Lei frequently health plan members and a few people within the program
provided free care and medi- were now feeling that it would be in the best interest for
cine to poor people, with the the continuing growth of the health plan if Kaiser hospitals
blessings of her superiors. She followed the community practice of segregation.
hired and mentored many res- The final decision was left up to Henry Kaiser. At a 1949
meeting in his offices in Oakland, Kaiser asked only one
idents during her tenure with
question: “Do Negroes and white patients require the same
Pediatrician Beatrice Lei attends to a
Kaiser Permanente, sharing
care?” Of course, the answer was that they did.
patient. Dr. Lei was the first female partner with them her philosophy on Henry said, “That settles it, then. They’re to be treated like
in the Permanente Medical Group. care delivery: “You must treat everybody else. There is no segregation at our facilities.” For
people well, give compassion- Kaiser Permanente, the issue was settled.
ate care, and show respect.” In 1967 and 1968, when Medicare mandated the end of
Dr. Lei retired from Kaiser Permanente Richmond in 1975, but con- discrimination in participating hospitals, half of the Bay Area
tinued to provide free medical care to family friends and others who needed hospitals were still segregating. Kaiser Permanente had been
care but could not afford it. PDJ 25 years ahead.

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l January/February 2008 47
my turn

Thoughts Through the Office Door . . .

By Carlton Yearwood

Chief Ethics and Diversity Officer
Waste Management, Inc.

Jim Rector, a howling all about us, and just what It’s hard to find any instance with
good friend are we hanging onto? In fact, is this a tight focus on what we do, yet
and publisher the best or all we can do—hold tight alone writing that explores the com-
of Profiles in to things we’ve done again and again plexities and interrelationships of
Diversity Journal, or applaud incremental yet subtle managing diversity within a highly
approached me change or change the spin? balanced business organization.
about writing a column. I hesitated Is that how we’re gauging our Prove it yourself. Go to
at first, but then I agreed, if I could effectiveness in this diversity profes- Amazon.com and scan the table of
do it my way. I wanted to discuss sion? Or is that the perception of contents for any of last year’s busi-
things I have observed and experi- those detractors who find us to be ness management tomes.
enced over the years, and I hope to necessary evils, or possibly even of Of worse consequence, in my
share things that have shaped me our supporters who speak of busi- mind, is how some business speakers
as a business person and as a proud ness imperatives and the right thing now grossly overlook the complexity
diversity practitioner. to do? of our work with a point of view
An early winter business trip Of course, we must continue that diversity and inclusion is sim-
took me to a conference center in doing what we’ve proven to be valu- ply good management and not in-
the upper Midwest recently. It was able; our organizations count on us tentional management. What kind
midweek, and the travel was particu- to do so. We’ll watch the numbers, of trouble can that thinking or ap-
larly tiring, with a rushed connec- document compliance, get the train- proach get us into? Maybe the swirl-
tion through the chaos at Chicago’s ing going, reach out to vendors, ing and conflicting winds of change
O’Hare Airport. During the drive improve marketing or advertising, are strong and maybe the leaves are
to the hotel, the weather took a measure contributions to the bot- flying off and around our diver-
nosedive, with rolling dark clouds tom line, and create opportuni- sity tree right now, but, what we do
and buffeting winds. Once inside ties. All that we do, and more, has is rooted firmly in the foundation
the hotel, I was relieved to pull up a helped to more richly define diver- of our businesses success. We can’t
chair to my room’s window and just sity programs throughout corporate lose track of our purpose. It is as
stare out at the landscape. America. In “full bloom,” our work relevant today as it was fifteen or so
Trees were stripped bare as I offers a wide menu of innovative years ago.
watched leaves flying about, a stray tools to address the practical matters
branch breaking loose every now of running a business successfully. PDJ
and then. By evening, trees stood So it troubles me that, by and
stark and empty against the sky. large, the current wave of business Waste Management, Inc. is the
I’m not a melancholy person by book authors, those people whose leading provider of comprehensive
any stretch of the imagination, but ideas shape priorities of the C suite waste and environmental services
that scene made me wonder about and management programs for years in North America. The company is
change and diversity and inclusion to come, seem to approach diver- strongly committed to a foundation
in our corporate world. The swirling sity and inclusion as givens at best of financial strength, operating excel-
and conflicting winds of change are and with benign neglect at worst. lence and professionalism.

48 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

Some call it diversity.
To us, it’s a business plan.

When you serve over 200 million weekly customers,

including 13 markets outside the U.S., diversity isn’t an
option. It’s not only the right thing to do – it’s the right
way to build your business. Our 1.9 million associates
need leadership in merchandising, marketing, information
services, finance, and logistics. So we actively recruit
leaders with diverse backgrounds, individual skills,
and lots of enthusiasm. If that sounds like you, please
visit us at walmartstores.com/careers.
Someone’s doing
outstanding work at SHRM
50 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008
Shirley Davis, Ph.D., has a lot on her plate as
Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives for the Society for
Human Resource Management, or SHRM.
This former model, a self-described beauty-pageant buff at heart, learned how
to compete at an early age, and perhaps her pageant experiences gave her the
ambition and determination to earn a Master’s degree in HR Management and
then a Ph.D. in Business Management.
A highly sought-after speaker, Dr. Davis knows diversity and inclusion inside out.
But there’s more to her than her HR knowledge, extensive though it may be. She’s
also a leadership expert, a mentor, a wise strategist and a visionary. Who better to
lead the D&I efforts at the membership organization that serves more than 230,000
HR professionals worldwide?

Please describe your organization’s global pres- similarities that includes, for example, individual and
ence. Describe the scope and scale of SHRM to a organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experi-
reader who may not be familiar with it. ences, backgrounds, preferences and behaviors.
Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 225,000 Inclusion is the achievement of a work envi-
individual members in over 125 countries. We have ronment in which all individuals are treated fairly
a network of more than 575 affiliated chapters in the and respectfully; have equal access to opportunities
United States as well as offices in China and India. and resources; and can contribute fully towards the
SHRM’s mission is twofold: 1) to serve the needs of organization’s success.
HR professionals by providing the most current and
comprehensive resources, thought What are the main components of your D&I
leadership, strategies, and profes- program? Is the management of D&I programs
sional development, and 2) to ad- largely U.S.-based or present throughout the
vance the profession by promoting worldwide organization?
Organization Name: HR’s essential, strategic role. SHRM’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative is one
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) of our strategic business imperatives and is a key
Headquarters: How would you define work- focus in our business operating plan, our divisional
1800 Duke Street; Alexandria, VA 22314
place diversity and inclusion as goals, and all business processes. These would in-
Web site: www.shrm.org it relates to the efforts within clude Human Resources, Professional Development,
Primary Business or Industry: your organization? Publications, Marketing, Government/Public Affairs,
HumanResources membership organization
Workplace Diversity is the col- International Strategy, and Member Relations, to
members worldwide: lective mixture of differences and name a few.
Over 230,000 in over 125 countries

Photo facing page by Ralph Alswang P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l january/February 2008 51

Interview Shirley Davis SHRM

The Office of Diversity and the The Diversity

Advisory Council (DAC) collaborate on strategy.

The D&I Initiative is also included in our Balanced Score Card,

which tracks and measures our success against goals. A percentage of in-
centive compensation is tied to the achievement of these goals. Our D&I
efforts have largely been U.S.-focused as that’s where the majority of our
membership needs have originated. However, SHRM recognizes that we
are in a global marketplace. In fact, we implemented an internationaliza-
tion strategy several years ago. Currently SHRM has offices in China
and India and has plans to continue to explore business opportunities in
additional global markets.

How do you keep diversity a priority throughout the organiza-

tion? Specifically, how do you energize people or get their buy-in The DAC represents employees from all divisions across SHRM.
for diversity?
In all of our strategic efforts, we have found that the best way to sustain
employee engagement and buy-in is to include them in the development
of the efforts up front, solicit their ongoing input, recognize their efforts,
celebrate successes, and keep them informed.
We keep diversity as a priority at SHRM by making it part of our
business operating plan, meaning every division is responsible for some ship styles, and generational diversity. Additionally, we built awareness
aspect of diversity in their business goals. These goals are tied to our and recognition of the various cultures and countries represented by our
organization’s Balanced Score Card and tracked. On a monthly basis, in employees at our annual International Day, and celebrated our employees
our all-employee meetings, our CEO, Sue Meisinger, provides updates on with military service on Veteran’s Day. An intranet site houses diversity-
our progress towards goals. On a quarterly basis, our diversity efforts and related articles and resources for employees, and members of the DAC
progress is presented to the SHRM Board. Additionally, our internal com- participated in external events on behalf of SHRM.
munications department ensures that our strategic initiatives are clearly These activities, while educational, are also designed to build em-
communicated and accessible to all employees via our intranet site. ployee engagement, support, and buy-in for SHRM’s diversity efforts.
According to employee feedback, these events are thought provoking, lots
of fun, and at times, they push the envelope by addressing highly charged
Here are some additional tactics we employ to keep diversity and sensitive topics in a carefully crafted way that preserves employee
a priority: respect. Evaluations from these activities continue to inform us on how
• Each year the Employee Engagement Survey or a Pulse Survey is we can take our efforts to the next level.
administered to all employees. It assesses their satisfaction and engage- For our membership we keep diversity a priority in similar ways.
ment in a wide range of areas, including respect, inclusion, and diversity. We offer cutting edge research, thought leadership, tools, and strategies
Staff training is an ongoing event with leadership training occurring on diversity management and associated issues. Much of these offerings
each year for senior leaders. are accessible online 24 hours a day 7 days a week for our members
• The Office of Diversity works very closely with the Diversity Advisory worldwide. Additionally, we offer numerous professional development
Council (DAC), which is made up of employees representing all divisions opportunities such as courses, seminars, HR certification and an annual
within SHRM, and our Chief Financial Officer, Hank Jackson, who acts Workplace Diversity Conference that enables our members to build an
as executive sponsor. in-depth knowledge of the latest trends and competitive practices in HR
• We continue to provide diversity-related programming designed to build and Diversity.
a more inclusive culture. For example, in 2007 the DAC hosted several As Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives for SHRM, I work
panel discussions on “hot topics” that were important to our employees. with more than 260 state, chapter and regional diversity directors. They
We also hosted events with guest speakers on topics such as people with are provided the necessary resources and tools in order to develop and
disabilities, lesbians/gays in the workplace, cultural competence, leader- execute diversity strategies in their chapters. I also lead the SHRM

52 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

Interview Shirley Davis SHRM

Photos this page by Steven Purcell

Collaborating with SHRM’s Chief Operating Officer,

China Gorman.
Facilitating Diversity and Inclusion Training for
SHRM’s Senior Leadership Team.

Is diversity a compensable annual objective for the executive

management team? How do you reward special initiatives? What
Workplace Diversity Expertise Panel, which is a group of 15 diversity accountability do you employ to meet objectives?
experts, practitioners, and consultants from around the world who help Yes. If SHRM achieves its objectives under the diversity initiative and
us advance our diversity efforts conducting research, writing white papers, the other strategic initiatives, a percentage of incentive compensation is
and developing strategy for both members and non-members alike. awarded to staff. Additionally, Employee Engagement Survey results spe-
cific to leadership competencies and building an inclusive, respectful and
diverse workplace are tied to senior leaderships’ incentive compensation.
What resources (financial and manpower) are allocated to diversity? Do you have any programs in place to increase the cross-cultural
How do these reflect SHRM’s leadership commitment to diversity? competence of your senior management team? Can mid-level
The Office of Diversity consists of a full-time Director, a Project managers acquire similar training?
Coordinator, a Manager of Diversity and Inclusion (candidates are cur- In 2007, SHRM employed a consulting firm to assess the senior manage-
rently being recruited), and a part-time Intern. Additionally, more than ment team’s cultural competence. The firm identified specific behaviors
260 diversity directors (non-paid volunteer leaders) are appointed to lead that high performing leaders demonstrate when building inclusive high
diversity efforts in their state and local chapters, working collaboratively performing organizations. In a three-hour session, we outlined spe-
with the Office of Diversity. Each year, SHRM invests millions of dollars cific techniques and strategies that our leaders could use to increase their
in its diversity efforts, including staff resources, conferences, seminars, effectiveness. For example, leaders are encouraged to mentor others who
marketing and advertising, sponsorships, research, reports, recruiting, are different from them and to keep an open mind for allowing mu-
training, and more. tual learning. As a result of the training, SHRM is instituting a learning
community process that enables monthly discussions in small groups to
Does SHRM address diversity in its annual report? Is it important to explore issues related to Diversity and Inclusion and other leadership prac-
talk about diversity with shareholders? tices. Additionally, training is provided for all SHRM employees through-
Yes. SHRM believes in the importance of keeping our members, Board out the year as well as through professional development opportunities
members, staff, volunteer leaders, and the public informed on our impor- outside of the organization.
tant focus areas. Diversity is one of them. Facets of our diversity efforts
are included in our annual report, in our annual Workplace Diversity When hiring or promoting people, how do you ensure that the indi-
Conference and in every major annual event we host. In Town Hall meet- vidual selected was chosen from a diverse group of candidates?
ings facilitated by our CEO, Susan Meisinger, diversity is consistently Our ultimate objective in hiring, selecting, and promoting people is to
addressed in her presentations and during member Q&As. ensure that we’ve been prudent, fair, inclusive, and consistent in our
In quarterly Board meetings, updates on SHRM’s diversity efforts are practices. That means in addition to seeking the best skills, qualifications,
highlighted. Part of the SHRM Web site is devoted specifically to diver- backgrounds, education, and work experiences, we also value and ap-
sity and diversity-related topics and issues. Diversity is discussed during preciate diverse ideas, thoughts, personalities, communication styles, and
monthly employee meetings, executive and senior leadership meetings approaches to work.
and is a featured section in the monthly SHRM HR Magazine. We continue to examine the makeup of our organization to deter-

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l january/February 2008 53
Interview Shirley Davis SHRM

Interviewing one of the pioneers in the field,

Dr. R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr.
Photos this page by Ralph Alswang

mine where we have opportunities to increase diversity, and we go to

great lengths to ensure that our recruitment and selection processes are
enhanced as needed. We pride ourselves on having a diverse staff. We
encourage our employees and members to refer the best talent for open
positions; we calibrate our decisions internally to ensure that the best and
fairest decision is made; we partner with external organizations to expand
our reach to a more diverse workforce (through recruitment, sponsor-
ships, advertisements, marketing, partnerships/alliances, outreach, etc.);
and we participate in a number of other external activities that build on
our company brand.
Davis and Jai Rodriguez, star of
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
How are decisions about diversity made in your organization? Is
there a diversity council and who heads it up? Who participates?
What’s more, survey and evaluation feedback we receive from mem-
The strategic direction (including staffing and budgeting) of SHRM’s
bers and staff on various diversity programs and events is overwhelmingly
diversity initiative is made in a collaborative way among the senior and
positive, and the number of requests for media interviews to discuss our
executive teams and the Board.
Diversity Initiative and diversity-related issues continues to rise. We have
Operational decisions about diversity are shared among division heads
received a lot of recognition and affirmation from colleagues and experts
across the organization. For example, Bob Carr, our Chief Professional
on the direction that SHRM is heading with its diversity initiative.
Development Officer, makes decisions regarding new business opportu-
SHRM’s vision for its diversity efforts is to be a recognized leader in
nities and educational programming, such as diversity courses, seminars,
providing thought leadership, strategies, competitive practices, resources,
and conferences. Gary Rubin, our Chief Publications Officer, makes deci-
and professional development to business professionals.
sions regarding our publications online and in print.
My role as Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives is to work
closely with all of the division heads, our CEO and the Board to ensure EMPLOYEE INCLUSIVENESS
that our diversity efforts are integrated, have continuity and are in keeping
How does your company gauge inclusion of employees? What are
with our mission: Serve the Professional and Advance the Profession.
the tests, measurements and benchmarks (metrics) that indicate
where the company is on the inclusion graph?
What evidence makes you confident that you and your team have
Each year the Employee Engagement Survey or a Pulse Survey is adminis-
developed momentum for the organization in the right direction?
tered to all employees to assess their level of satisfaction and engagement
What is the vision for SHRM in five years?
in areas such as leadership, respect, inclusion, and diversity.
In the past year, we’ve seen tremendous momentum for our diversity ef-
forts as evidenced by an increase in attendance and sponsorships at our
How are employees’ opinions solicited and valued? Do you
SHRM Workplace Diversity Conference. We’ve also seen additional traffic
have a ‘suggestion box’ or other system, and who monitors
online in the SHRM diversity focus area, including Webcasts, documents
and responds?
accessed and downloaded, and bulletin board participation. Diversity
We have a very collaborative culture and, as a result, we seek input from
offerings at our chapter and state conferences around the country are
employees on a consistent basis. A suggestion box, located in HR, allows
increasing, as are requests for our senior staff to provide presentations and
employees to provide new ideas and ways to improve business processes
speeches on diversity-related topics through our speakers bureau.
and policies and is reviewed on a monthly basis.

54 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

Interview Shirley Davis SHRM

Shirley Davis, Ph.D.

Society for Human Resource Management
Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
Years in current position
Bachelor’s degree in pre-law; Master’s degree in Human Resource
Administration; Ph.D. in Business and Organization Management
First job
Front office receptionist in a doctor’s office; Model
Better to be prepared for an opportunity and never have one, than to
have an opportunity and not be prepared. Treat every opportunity as
a God-given gift to either be a blessing or to receive a blessing.
What I’m reading
Articles on HR and Diversity to stay abreast of the latest research and
trends; Reposition Yourself, by T.D. Jakes; What Got You Here
Won’t Get You There, by Marshall Goldsmith.
A 13-year-old daughter and three siblings. I’m the oldest; I have three brothers. I’m a daddy’s girl and mom is my
best friend. We have a very close-knit family.
My personal motto is to live life with purpose and passion and to leave this life (when it’s time) with no regrets
of what I should have or could have accomplished. I love motivational speaking, and I’ve had the opportunity
over the past ten years to speak across the country and internationally. I spend quality time with my daughter
whose interests include soccer, debate team, singing competitions, plays, and modeling. She’s a real chip off
the old block!
I’m a pageant buff at heart. I started competing in pageants at age 13 at the local, state and national levels
and was fortunate enough to win several state and national titles in the Ms. America United States, Model Star
Searches, Miss Petite International, Miss USA and Mrs. America pageants. Today, I still watch, attend, and judge
pageants. I also commit quite a bit of time to church, community and civic activities; I’m a leadership coach;
I’m writing two books that I hope to release later this year; and I love traveling for leisure (day spas, beach
resorts, etc.).
Childhood hero
Parents and grandparents.
“Best” picture (film/art)
Too many to name.
My music
Oldies-but-Goodies R&B of the ’70s and ’80s; gospel and jazz.
Favorite game
Spades, Scrabble
Desk-drawer munchies
Snickers, Oreo cookies
Favorite charities
The SHRM Foundation. I’m a Board member for the Metro DC chapter of Dress for Success.
My church (missions and women’s group).
Person (historical/fictional/actual) I’d like to get to know over lunch
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l january/February 2008 55
Interview Shirley Davis SHRM

One exciting part of my job is getting to meet wonderful

people, such as Chris Gardner, the inspiration behind the
movie The Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith.

Photos this page by Ralph Alswang

Welcoming a conference attendee who

traveled from Bulgaria.

Additionally, each month all employees attend a meeting hosted by comes in is that all
the CEO. This is an open forum for employees to ask questions and hear Employee Network
company updates. However, at any time, employees are encouraged to Groups should have
bring suggestions to HR, the CEO, the COO, or any senior leader. They open membership
can do it face to face, via e-mail, or through the company’s intranet site. and encourage all employees to participate.
Diversity and Inclusion programs, like any business strategy, should
How do you deal with those who perceive inclusion programs for always look at where there are gaps in the organization and how those
underrepresented groups as being exclusionary for others? Have gaps might affect the organization’s ability to compete in the marketplace,
you encountered this attitude? recruit and retain good talent in the workforce, and to reinvent itself over
I have dealt with this resistance throughout my tenure in the diversity time. If one of those gaps is that there is a lack of men, women, people of
management field, and I’ve seized the opportunities to bring clarity to color, people over 40, people with good management skills, people who
what diversity and inclusion is and is not. While it is important to ensure speak multiple languages, Generation Y, engineers, people with technical
that our organizations reflect a diverse society, I also recognize that diver- skills, or different personalities (I can go on and on), the organization
sity already exists. Even when you have a very homogeneous group, you should make the necessary adjustments to ensure that it has the right bal-
have diversity in terms of backgrounds, thoughts, religions, experiences, ance and alignment to be successful in a global marketplace.
family status, sexual orientation, etc. When you define diversity and inclusion the way I do, which is not
But it’s also important to have a visibly diverse organization. Since limited to just race and gender, it is not exclusionary at all. It is clearly
we are operating in a global marketplace where we sell to and buy from about everyone.
diverse customers, we must be able to meet their individual needs. Having
a talented and diverse workforce that understands these needs can be a Can you name specific ways SHRM supports upward development
competitive advantage and key differentiator for organizations today. toward management positions?
Regarding Employee Network Groups, research has revealed over and Through a succession planning process, SHRM identifies potential talent
over that employees need and seek out a for open and future management positions. Our internal posting process,
sense of belonging through networking and which posts all internal director and below openings, allows employees to
building relationships. They want to know express their interest in management positions and also encourages senior
how to be successful in the organization leaders to identify great talent.
and how to navigate through the unknown And, of course, performance management and the calibration process
land mines. is an opportunity to identify potential talent for immediate and long term
Oftentimes, if one is in a minority group staffing needs. In 2007, SHRM supported its entire leadership team in at-
in the organization, the dominant groups tending leadership training and taking leadership assessments. A number
tend not to share this information with of our leaders attended the Center for Creative Leadership. Additionally,
them. Having informal networks among SHRM allocates a generous budget for both internal and external em-
people who have mutual needs and interests ployee development. And the tuition assistance program, which covers all
builds that sense of belonging, support, employees including those who work part time, also includes master’s and
and camaraderie that is needed—not just doctorate degrees.
to survive but, more importantly, to thrive
in an organization. Where the inclusion

56 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

October 27-29, 2008
Atlanta, Georgia

Inspiration in Atlanta
The 2008 Workplace Diversity & Exposition Conference

Here’s what some of the SHRM’s 2007 Workplace Diversity & Exposition Conference Was Exciting!
2007 attendees had to say
Marlee Matlin, Grace Odums, Jai Rodriguez and Chris Gardner electrified
about the conference:
audiences with their thought provoking messages.
“Since I come from an employer
that is not very diverse, I
questioned what I would learn And 2008 Workplace Diversity & Exposition Conference promises to
from this conference. I came be even better!
home with a lot of useful
Save the dates of October 27-29, 2008 for this important conference being
information – great conference!”
held this year in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jan Souder,
Heritage Medical Group

The SHRM Diversity Initiative

“Great material was discussed
and the opportunity to collaborate The SHRM Diversity Initiative, established in 1993, seeks to foster awareness
with other HR professionals was
and appreciation of workplace diversity issues among HR professionals, their
completely outstanding.”
employers and other business leaders.
Michael Miller,
Schwans Consumer Brands The primary purpose of the initiative is to assist SHRM members in managing a
diverse workforce by providing diversity-related research materials, workplace-
applicable tools, publications and linkages with other organizations.

Making the business case for diversity and valuing individual differences are
the cornerstones of SHRM’s Diversity Initiative.

For more information visit www.shrm.org/diversity.


The Journey of the

Diversity Field
By American Institute for Managing Diversity, Inc.
Founder Dr. R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr.
and President Melanie Harrington

The American Institute for Managing long as these issues exist, we will need indi- tions trying to develop certification and de-
Diversity (AIMD) is pleased to join the viduals and organizations willing and able to gree programs. Others, including members
ranks of those who serve the diversity address them as well as the unforeseen of the Diversity Collegium, have attempted
field through their columns in Profiles in diversity issues of tomorrow. to catalog the prevailing terms and defi-
Diversity Journal. One of the challenges we face has to do nitions. Additionally, there is a growing
Over the coming months, AIMD will with the differences and similarities among number of academics conducting research
examine our unique perspectives on diver- those of us toiling in the field. Diversity studies examining language, practices and
sity, inform you about our current programs practitioners are not monolithic in their long term results.
and activities, and bring you the ideas of views. Practitioners have different opinions How do we come together and reach
other thinkers who are advancing the diver- on what language we should use, what issues common ground on those essential fac-
sity field. We will also explore issues with diversity management should tackle and tors that will advance the field, serve the
which AIMD’s collaborators, educators and what approaches should be applied. Some community and address the needs of the
researchers are grappling. feel that we must work to resolve the tra- marketplace? What do we lose if we do not
This column begins with a closer look at ditional “isms,” such as racism and sexism. reach common agreement, and what do we
the diversity field. Although there are indi- Others argue for the inclusion of a few more lose if we do?
vidual and organizational contributors who dimensions of diversity. Still others are using AIMD is committed to strengthening
are doing great work in the diversity arena, broader definitions of diversity. our communities and institutions with the
we still hear concerns about the field being Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole once stated, “We great work that has emerged from the diver-
stuck, needing clearer future direction, lack- (diversity practitioners) have got to learn sity field. But the journey is ongoing, and
ing innovation, etc. how to walk and chew gum at the same new and persistent diversity challenges must
Perhaps these concerns bode well for time.” Stated differently, life rarely, if ever, be addressed. We hope you will read our
the sustainability of the field. If people presents you with one challenge at a time. columns in the coming months as we share
are voicing apprehension about the field’s We must address multiple issues at once and our experiences on the diversity journey.
direction, perhaps it will be perceived as constantly innovate.
an opportunity to fill a gap in the market. This means that we must leverage the
However, the real challenge for the field is legacy of the field’s pioneers and foster its
whether it will build on its credibility and continuous evolution. The end game in
relevance in a time of globalization, intense diversity management is not the destination
About AIMD
competition, shrinking margins and greater but the JOURNEY!
The American Institute for Managing
ROI demands. Diversity, Inc. is the nation’s leading nonprofit
Therefore, if the field is stuck, how In 2003, AIMD formed an alliance with think tank dedicated to furthering the field
do we unstick it? Why should we care the Diversity Collegium, a think tank of of diversity management. Founded by Dr. R.
whether the field advances, remains stag- diversity professionals. We are exploring Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. in 1984, AIMD conducts
nant or even regresses? At AIMD, we believe whether the diversity journey would be educational programs including leadership
that people struggle daily with diversity improved if the field had a common ter- education through the Diversity Leadership
management issues. minology, common definitions, established Academy®, does cutting edge research, and
What is a diversity management issue? theories and concepts, accepted bodies of hosts an array of conferences around the world.
It is an issue that requires a quality deci- knowledge, and standard practices. AIMD creates unique learning environments
for the public and produces research, tools and
sion in the midst of differences, similarities, The questions of whether to profes-
information that facilitate diversity manage-
tensions and complexities. These types of sionalize the field and how to do it are
ment among its organizations, communities,
issues challenge each of us constantly. As not new. There are people and institu- and the general public.

58 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008



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t is not unusual for us to spend part of Black History Month thinking
about all the great, influential leaders who have made their mark in the
world. No one can dispute the legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Malcolm X, Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington, and scores of others
who pioneered civil rights in America.
Certainly, these and many more have been role models for African Americans in all walks
of life, from the city streets to the board room. But think about this question: Who else was
important to your own journey? That’s the question we posed in mini-interviews with more
than two dozen business leaders.

The responses to our questions give us a panoramic view of the socialization process as it
relates to the leaders you’ll discover in the next 27 pages. Each one is fascinating.

What’s the common thread that ties all of them together? A commitment to helping others,
as evidenced by their community involvement. But there’s more. Between the lines are glimpses
of pride for the road one has traveled—often a very hard road, indeed. Just by participating in
this feature, the individuals profiled here are giving an example of black leaders leading.
Who are/were your men- effort to promote diversity in our profession. I have
tors?  What were the les- sponsored a number of 3-on-3 basketball tourna-
sons learned from them?
ments to raise money for Historically Black Colleges
My father. He had a medi- and Universities.
cal practice in Harlem for
almost 50 years. He taught If you were to have lunch with the President of the
me to treat everyone with United States, what would you ask or suggest?
respect and to view every I would ask the President, “Why haven’t you called
interaction with a person as me? I may be able to provide you with some addi-
a learning experience. tional ‘color’ on various topics of interest.”

Do you teach anything What is your philosophy of life?

Vernon G. Baker II different to those you Each one teach one. We must be present and ac-
mentor? If so, what is it? counted for in the community. We received help, and
Not different, but slight- we need to make sure we are helping others.
Senior Vice President &
General Counsel ly more enhanced. I urge
What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
ArvinMeritor, Inc. those I mentor to follow
Having a wife and 2 sons who love and respect me.
their own paths. My path is
but one example. If given the chance, what would you do differently?
Not a darn thing.
Who in your family had the most impact on your
upbringing and success?
Both my mother and father. They stressed the value
of a good education. They both graduated from
Baker sponsors several
Howard, and they insisted that my sister and I get the
basketball tournaments
best education available to us. annually to raise money
My grandfather also influenced me. He graduated for Historically Black
from college and worked as a Pullman porter. When I Colleges and Universities.
was very young, he constantly told me that times were
changing and a well-educated “colored” boy could
really do something.
What are your two favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career
and personal life?
I have read the Autobiography of Malcom X over a
dozen times. The evolution of this man fascinates me.
No matter the obstacles—be it racism, politics or the
apparent lack of opportunities—the strength of the
human spirit can prevail. The rear cross-car chassis
module (foreground)
How are you involved with your community? is a key product at
Through my position at ArvinMeritor, I have been ArvinMeritor’s Detroit
very active with the American Heart Association and manufacturing facility,
which employs a highly
the March of Dimes. I spend a lot of my personal
diverse workforce, with
time mentoring young African-American lawyers over 50% female and 80%
and reaching out to the legal community in an Hispanic and African-American employees.

62 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

Who knows where the next great dream will find its voice. Where future

leaders might find their inspiration. We salute those who inspire the great

minds of today so that they can become the great visionaries of tomorrow.
Who are/were your men- you will live with the consequences, even if you are
tors? What did you learn the only one who knows your crime.
from them?
The other is Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. It
Early in my career, the symbolizes the struggle with not just external nature,
chief HR officer at my but human nature and the inner struggles we have.
company—a white male—
took me under his wing. How are you involved with your community?
He taught me the unwrit- I serve on the board of the Old Barracks Revolutionary
ten rules of the organiza- War Museum in Trenton, New Jersey, which is best
tion and gave me signifi- remembered for its role in the 1776 and 1777 battles
cant projects that prepared of Trenton during the Revolutionary War. I believe in
John Kirksey me for my next job, which this organization’s mission.
was chief human resources
Senior Vice President and
Chief Diversity Officer
officer at an Illinois state If you were to have lunch with the President of the
university. I was just 27. United States, what would you ask or suggest?
AXA Equitable Life
In 1971 when I started “What is your ultimate vision for world peace?”
Insurance Company
at the university, I met
an African-American PhD What is your philosophy of life?

who had been teaching college-level business courses Each of us is put here to make the world a better
since the late ’50s. He helped me as a young African- place. I believe it was Benjamin Mayes who said we
American senior executive at a time when there just each have a unique song to sing, and most of us will
weren’t very many people of color in those positions. go to our graves having never sung it. We have to sing
our song and share it with the rest of the world.
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? 
If so, what is it? What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
As a mentor, I try to pass on what was given to me Working with my wife, Helen, to raise two children
and to do it in an inclusive way. I have mentored who care about people.
women and men of various races and religions. I have
If given the chance, what would you do differently?
tried to instill in them that they have a responsibility
to pass on their knowledge and experience to others. I would have hugged my father more often and told
him more frequently how much I loved him.
Who in your family had the most impact on your
upbringing and success?
My father. He taught me that the only real obstacles
that exist are those that you acknowledge—the rest
you can go under or over or around. I still think about
him when I run into difficulties.

What are your two favorite books/authors and

what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
Crime and Punishment, by Feodor Dostoevsky. This
book impressed upon me that whatever you do in life,

64 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

Who are/were your mentors? What did you learn If you were to have lunch
from them? with the President of the
Clarence Wright began his career as a financial advisor United States, what would
with the company and moved from branch operations you ask or suggest?

to a senior management role at corporate headquar- Put the needs of this great
ters. I learned a lot from him—most importantly, nation before the needs of
how to play the corporate game. the world.

Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? What is your philosophy
If so, what is it? of life?

To stay consistent. I mentor a lot of people inside Never give up on your goals
and outside of the company. I try to teach them that and aspirations. If you give Lyndall Medearis
it is okay to make mistakes; that is how we learn the up, you will lose out on great
best lessons. What is important is to learn from your accomplishments. Executive Vice President of
the Western Division
mistakes and not repeat them. Many people are afraid Branch Manager—Houston, TX
What is your most rewarding
to take risks, because they are afraid of making the accomplishment? AXA Equitable
wrong decision. But you’ll never know what could My greatest accomplishment
have happened if you aren’t willing to risk. in my career occurred last
year when the Houston Branch earned the company’s
Who in your family had the most impact on your
upbringing and success? President’s Trophy. We placed sixth place out of more
My mom and grandmother raised me. Their contri- than 60 branches—Houston’s best finish ever.
bution to my manhood is immeasurable.
If given the chance, what would you do differently?

What are your two favorite books/authors and I have relocated twice in my career due to promo-
what impact have they had on your career and tions. Each time I was separated from my family for
personal life? 11 months. If I would ever relocate again, we would
It’s Your Ship, by Captain Michael Abrashoff, is a great do it together.
leadership book. This book has helped me be a bet-
ter leader both at home and at work. Good to Great,
by Jim Collins, has taught me to take my perfor-
mance level from good to great. I am good at leading
my team, but this book inspires me to be a great
branch manager.

How are you involved with your community?

Both of my kids are in public school, and I support
their activities. I’m involved in my church, I’m a
board member for the South Central YMCA in
Houston, and I am an avid contributor and member
of the United Way Tocqueville Society.
Medearis in the
Rockets Run 2006.

Prof iles in Div er s it y Jou r na l january/February 2008 65

Who are/were your men- How are you involved with your community?
tors? What were the les- I’m involved with the National Association of Black
sons learned from them? Accountants. As NABA’s national chair of the
My parents were my early Financial Literacy Initiative, I’m passionate about
role models and mentors. teaching financial literacy and giving people the tools
My mom taught me about to make smart financial decisions.
independence and being
self reliant. My dad taught If you were to have lunch with the President of the
my brother and me about United States, what would you ask or suggest?
commitment and corporate I would ask him to break down the bureaucracy
politics. I learned about among local, state and federal governments which
Gina Wolley the importance of being impedes meaningful reform. I would also ask him to
comfortable in a variety of bring home the troops.
Executive Vice President
situations with a diverse
group of people, especially What is your philosophy of life?
Bank of the West Family comes first. I believe in working hard and
at work.
From one of my corpo- playing hard.
rate bosses, I learned to be
What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
selective in the pursuit of what’s important.
My 21-year daughter is my most rewarding accom-
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor?  plishment. I look forward to her graduation from
If so, what is it? UCLA with a degree in world arts and culture.
I think we have a responsibility to give back, to I also receive strokes from young people whom I’ve
pass along what we’ve learned and to be a role mentored throughout my career. When they send me
model for those coming after us. When I mentor notes about the job or promotion they landed, they
college students, I encourage them to mentor high tell me how much I have touched their lives. Believe
school students. me, it works both ways.
No one gets noticed if they’re shy; they must be
active contributors to their company. If given the chance, what would you do differently?
I would have learned to play golf sooner, so I could
What are your two favorite books/authors and have shared the enjoyment of the game more with my
what impact have they had on your career and father today. Career-wise, I would love to have been
personal life? a professional sportscaster for football, basketball or
I enjoyed Song of Solomon, by Tony Morrison, even golf.
especially the character named Dead. He lived his life
metaphorically that way, not taking risks, just exist-
ing, unnoticed, as if he were really dead.
I’m currently reading Lions Don’t Need to Roar, by
D.A. Benton. Although its overall focus is around
executive presence, it reinforces for me the need for
effective communication techniques.

66 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

PepsiCo Celebrates the Life of Edward F. Boyd
1914 – 2007

Edward F. Boyd helped place Pepsi in the hearts and hands of

many Americans. And in doing so, he became an innovative leader
and true pioneer in marketing.

It’s been 60 years since Ed was hired to form the very first team
of African-American marketers, opening up African-American
communities across the nation. He defined target marketing — the
way many businesses today meet consumer needs with products
and services.

Brave, distinguished and endearing, Ed Boyd helped move

America and business to greater racial equality. Today, his spirit
still inspires us.

To learn more about Ed Boyd and all his accomplishments,

read The Real Pepsi Challenge by Stephanie Capparell or visit
careerjournal.com, go to the left column under Article Search and
type in: Ed Boyd.
Who are/were your men- What are your two favorite books/authors and
tors? What were the les- what impact have they had on your career and
sons learned from them? personal life?
Three people stand out My all-time favorite book is In The Matter of Color,
in my mind. They are by A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. I worked as a research
the Hon. Clifford Scott assistant for him and did legal and historical research
Green, with whom I on a chapter of the book.
served as law clerk for two I also enjoy the series of books and poetry by Sonia
years; the Hon. A. Leon Sanchez. Her love of the African-American commu-
Higginbotham Jr., and nity and the words and rhythm of her poetry truly
Arthur Makadon, who is speak to me.
Charisse Lillie the chairman of Ballard
Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, How are you involved with your community?
VP, Human Resources
LLP, where I was a partner I’ve been a member of many civic commissions, in-
Comcast Corp. cluding the Independent Charter Commission, the
Senior VP,
prior to joining Comcast.
Human Resources Each of these men Philadelphia Criminal Justice Task Force, the MOVE
Comcast Cable taught me the value of Commission and the Philadelphia Election Reform
hard work and the im- Task Force.
portance of being an ex- I also serve on several boards and am the former
pert in whatever you do. Furthermore, each of president of the Board of the Juvenile Law Center.
them had an extraordinary way of dealing with
If you were to have lunch with the President of the
people. I learned the importance of treating every
United States, what would you ask or suggest?
person, regardless of their place in the organization,
I’d like to know why the Federal Government isn’t
with respect and humility.
spending more on the education of our children. I
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? truly believe that the way to fix our country’s troubles
If so, what is it? is to increase resources so that our children feel hope.
I’m fortunate to mentor women and men of all ages Education is the solution.
and who are in various stages of their careers, and I
What is your philosophy of life?
stress to them the importance of balance and taking care
of themselves. Family is paramount. Also, I feel that as blessed as I
am, I should give back.
Who in your family had the most impact on your
upbringing and success? What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
My father and mother, as well as both sets of my Leading the American Bar Association’s Commission
grandparents, stressed the importance of education on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.
and hard work. In my house, you were not congratu-
If given the chance, what would you do differently?
lated for an “A,” you had to explain a “B!”
I finished college in three years, so if I had the chance,
I would have taken a fourth year to study abroad.

68 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

I connect the dots
differently. That brings
value to the work I do.
I have a passion for marketing, and I love what I do.
At Hallmark, I have the opportunity to be a great marketer
in an industry I believe in—one that enriches people’s lives.

I work in a collaborative environment that celebrates the

individual and values me as a whole person. Our multiple
perspectives make our work stronger. It’s a rewarding
opportunity to be part of a brand that helps people define
and express the very best in themselves.

aviva ajmera hebbar

customer strategy and planning director

l i v e yo u r pa s s i o n . l o v e yo u r wo r k . 
for infor mat ion on hal lmar k care er opp ortunit ies, v isit www.hal lmar k.com/care ers.
© 2006 hal lmar k licensing, inc.
Who are/were your men- The second author and book are Michael Porter
tors? What were the les- and his book Competitive Strategy: Techniques for
sons learned from them?
Analyzing Industries and Competitors. I first read this
My first mentor, from afar, book 26 years ago, but I still use it today as a reference
has been Ken Chenault, and tutorial on how to compete more successfully.
chairman and CEO of
American Express. I met How are you involved with your community?
him when I was in col- Over the last twenty years I have served on about 12
lege. He has always concen- non-profit boards primarily focusing on youth, the
trated on results, which is arts and healthcare issues.
critical for success in the
Bill Tompkins business world. If you were to have lunch with the President of the
Today, I no longer con- United States, what would you ask or suggest?
General Manager & VP
Motion Picture Film Group, centrate on one person. I I would ask two things. Why do politics sometimes
Entertainment Imaging count on Michael Jordan to get in the way of good decision-making in our gov-
Vice President
remind me to smile more ernment? And what can he do to make a superior
Eastman Kodak Co.
often, my mom to remind education an imperative for our country? We are
me to never give up, and a headed down a disastrous path, especially among
former colleague to remind me to take time to smell people of color.
the roses.
What is your philosophy of life?
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? Two things come to mind. The first is work hard, play
If so, what is it? hard. The second item relates to aspiration. I wake
I practice what I preach. I follow my own advice to up each day wondering what I can do better. There is
keep me keeping on. The difference would be that I always room for self-improvement.
have the benefit of providing to others lessons learned
from mistakes I have made in my career. What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
Graduating from Tufts University with honors, no
Who in your family had the most impact on your debt and an entry ticket to Harvard Business School.
upbringing and success?
My father. He was a physician by day but also a suc- If given the chance, what would you do differently?
cessful businessman. He pushed us to try harder and I wish I had learned to play basketball and the piano.
not give up. For the piano, its probably not too late, but I think I
have passed my prime for dribbling down the court.
What are your two favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
My favorite author is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When I read his speeches I think about hope, op-
portunity and a better path forward for all of us.

70 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008




Different perspectives
perspectives generate
generate fresh
fresh ideas.
ideas. That’s
That’s why
why atat Bank
Bank of
of the
the West,
West, we
we value
value diversity
diversity and
equal opportunity for all our employees. Year after year, we continue to grow stronger thanks to our
opportunity for all our employees. Year after year, we continue to grow stronger thanks to our
unique blend of people. After all, in today’s competitive banking environment, it is our employees
unique blend of people. After all, in today’s competitive banking environment, it is our employees with with
innovative ideas
ideas that
that keep
keep us
us aa step
step ahead
ahead of
of the
the rest.


Bank of the West and its subsidiaries are equal opportunity/affirmative action employers. M/F/D/V © 2007 Bank of the West. Member FDIC.
Bank of the West and its subsidiaries are equal opportunity/affirmative action employers. M/F/D/V © 2007 Bank of the West. Member FDIC.
Who are/were your men- How are you involved with your community?
tors? What were the les- I serve on several nonprofit boards that provide a
sons learned from them? range of services, from affordable youth camps to
Ray Powers, Hallmark providing a safety net of medical and dental services
Cards’ former vice president for the uninsured and under-insured.
of manufacturing, gave me
insights into the new or- If you were to have lunch with the President of the
United States, what would you ask or suggest?
ganization I was support-
ing in my role of business I would express great concern for the numerous social
development director for issues growing in our country. Basic issues such as
the Supply Chain Group. access to medical care, malnutrition, racial/cultural
This is advice that I still tensions, and acceptable living conditions. We need
use today in forging good to address the basic needs in our country.
Mike Goodwin
relationships. What is your philosophy of life?
Senior Vice President, I try to live by a quotation made by O.W. Holmes.
Information Technology Do you teach anything
different to those you “The greatest thing in this world is not so much
Hallmark where we are, but in what direction we are moving.”
mentor? If so, what is it?
Cards, Inc.
There are three things I
What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
impart to those whom I
Being elected president of the board of directors for
mentor. The first is that you are the best at managing
Wildwood Education Center. The actual election was
your career. You cannot delegate it.
not the most rewarding part. It was the time I spent at
Second, surround yourself with good people
the youth summer camps where I saw kids of families
whether you directly manage them or through a
who could not afford it still experience an outdoor
networking circle.
educational life experience.
Third, ask yourself, “How is the organization
better because I have been in this role?” You should If given the chance, what would you do differently?
test this question periodically so you can ensure you If I had the chance, I would get involved in the
have left a good legacy. community a lot sooner than I did in life.
Who in your family had the most impact on your
upbringing and success?
I would have to say my dad. He has been a man of
strong faith, values, and entrepreneurship. He gave
me core values, such as commitment to excellence,
integrity, compassion, and faith in God.
What are your two favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
The Power of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vincent
Peale, showed me I have available what is needed to
face life’s challenges. The other is How to Succeed in
Business Without Being White, by Earl G. Graves.
Mike Goodwin at work during the United Way
Day of Caring. He and others were helping to
construct a community center.

72 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

It Enriches Us.
Strengthens Us.
Defines Us.
At Highmark, we value and celebrate the diversity that makes this world we share a
better place. For our employees, our customers, and the suppliers we partner with throughout the
many communities we serve. Together, we are building a great workplace.

Highmark, an equal employment opportunity employer, strives to capitalize on the strengths of

individual differences and the advantages of an inclusive workplace.
Who are/were your men- If you were to have lunch with the President of the
tors? What were the les- United States, what would you ask or suggest?
sons learned from them? I would talk about two of Covey’s Seven Habits.
During my time at The first is Habit #4: Think Win-Win. The second
Highmark, I have been is Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be
privileged to work for two Understood. If the President took a moment to reflect
individuals who shared on these two philosophies, the attitude in our country
their values and life phi- may be very different right now.
losophies with me. The
What is your philosophy of life?
first was Peg Ireland, who
taught me patience, to learn My philosophy is to maintain balance and look for
all that I could from those the best in every situation.
Aaron Walton around me and to listen What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
first and then respond, but I was proud to serve as the chair of the 1997 NAACP
Senior Vice President not react. The second was convention in Pittsburgh. In this position, I had the
Corporate Affairs Dick Conti, who taught me opportunity to work with community leaders to host
Highmark Inc. the importance of honesty what has been one of the NAACP’s most successful
and integrity. conferences to date.
Do you teach anything If given the chance, what would you do differently?
different to those you mentor? If so, what is it? I would try to do a better job of following my first
I believe that a high energy level is essential for suc- instincts about people and work to correct my mis-
cess. Those around you will feed off of your intensity takes in a timelier manner. Most importantly, I would
and positive attitude. I also remind people not to take make more time to be with my family and friends. I
things too personally. In a business environment, it is would think about what is important today, rather
important to use criticism to better yourself and your than putting it off for tomorrow.
work rather than letting it discourage you.
Who in your family had the most impact on your
upbringing and success?
My father. Not only was he the most humble person
I’ve ever met, but he also showed me to be bold and
take risks. Above all things, he taught me to study
human nature and to fear no one.
What are your two favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
The Bible. I am a firm believer in its philosophies
and teachings and use them to better myself every
day. And The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by
Stephen Covey.
How are you involved with your community?
Aaron Walton, with Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl,
As a leader, it is important to give back to the com- holds the finish line at the 2006 City of Pittsburgh Great
munity. I have served on the board of directors for Race, an annual event of which Highmark has been a
more than 30 organizations during my career. long-time sponsor.

74 Pro f i les i n D i ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

Bring out the best in everyone,
and you can achieve great things.
The men and women of Lockheed Martin are involved in some of the most important projects in the
world. Though naturally diverse, our team shares a common goal: mission success. Our differences
make us stronger because we can draw on the widest possible range of unique perspectives. Resulting in
innovative solutions to complex challenges. Lockheed Martin. One company. One team.

© 2007 Lockheed Martin Corporation
Who are/were your men- Iyanla Vanzant. Recently, I’ve been intrigued by The
tors? What were the les- Innovator’s Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen, which
sons learned from them?
is about the impact innovation and disruptive tech-
I’ve had several mentors nologies have on business.
share their knowledge with
me. Gwendolyn P. Taylor, How are you involved with your community?
vice president of HR I serve as Honeywell’s Howard University Campus
for Telcordia Technologies, Executive, allowing me to introduce students
taught me how to maintain to job opportunities and to help Honeywell build
poise and composure in the its candidate pool with diversified and highly quali-
face of adversity. Tara Allen fied candidates.
Loria Yeadon taught me to celebrate At the University of Virginia, I serve on the
strengths and challeng- Industrial Advisory Board for the Electrical and
Chief Executive Officer es because both contrib- Computer Engineering departments. Recently, I sup-
Honeywell ute to greatness. Professor ported Seton Hall Law School in the launch of their
Intellectual Lawrence Bershad, formerly giving campaign and made a presentation to students
Properties Inc. (HIPI) of Seton Hall Law School, about corporate intellectual property licensing.
demonstrated substantive
legal theory through real- If you were to have lunch with the President of the
world events, showing how law is inextricably linked United States, what would you ask or suggest?
to the world. I’d like to know what our nation’s five-year plan is
and where I can get a copy. China is executing its 11th
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? five-year plan, and has recently brought more than
If so, what is it? 400 million of its citizens out of poverty. Does the
Each of us is responsible for defining our own destiny United States have a documented plan?
and career success. If you’re not happy with your
career path, change it! What is your philosophy of life?
When people tell you who they are, believe them.
Who in your family had the most impact on your
upbringing and success? What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
Growing up, I had a family and home life that During my tenure at HIPI, we’ve revamped our
encouraged me to succeed. Despite lacking college management team, developed a solid growth strat-
degrees, my parents were both self-starters and in- egy, expanded our customer base, launched a license
sistent on the value of education. My dad was the agreement compliance program and more. Today,
most intelligent businessman I have ever known, and IP licensing at Honeywell is run as a customer-
my mom actually went back to school later in life to focused, growth business. I’ve accomplished a lot in
become a nurse. my current role, but I’m optimistic that the best is yet
to come!
What are your two favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career and If given the chance, what would you do differently?
personal life?
I’d take more risks and make more mistakes, but never
My favorite books and authors are Reposition Yourself,
be in doubt.
by Bishop T.D. Jakes, and various books from

76 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

In diversity
there is strengtH
At Shell, our commitment to social responsibility spans more than
50 years. Our contributions to support community health and
welfare, culture, education, diversity and inclusiveness total more
than $485 million. We value diversity, employing some of the most
creative minds on earth to solve the world’s toughest problems
— regardless of whom those minds belong to. Learn more about
Shell and diverse opportunities at www.shell.com/us.
Who are/were your men- How are you involved with your community?
tors? What were the les- I’m on the board of a nonprofit called Project Healthy
sons learned from them? Grandparents that helps grandparents who are rais-
My grandmother instilled ing their children’s children. I also sing in the choir
in me strong core values to at my church.
do the right things the right
way and success will follow. If you were to have lunch with the President of the
Her wisdom helped shape United States, what would you ask or suggest?
my character. There is so much misunderstanding among the
Bonnie Manzi, a for- people in the country. Many people don’t understand
mer executive with AT&T, the challenges their fellow citizens are going through
Eric Hardaway taught me to not look too and if they did they could help pull them through. I
narrowly at each situation, believe the President sets the tone for the nation and
Vice President needs to lead the healing this requires.
but instead to look at the
Global Customer Support
Global Technology
big world perspective.
What is your philosophy of life?
Do you teach anything Success does not come without putting the sweat
different to those you equity or work into it.
mentor? If so, what is it?
I believe and teach that success in life is not measured What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
by the number of times you fell, but how many times Helping raise my nephew after his father passed away
you got back up, what you have learned from the when he was young. Today my nephew is successful
experience and how you have grown. and responsible in life and has a family of his own.
He has incorporated in his life the values that I was
Who in your family had the most impact on your taught and passed on to him.
upbringing and success?
I have to say my grandmother. She had a strong work If given the chance, what would you do differently?
ethic that helped her make a better life for herself and I wouldn’t change a thing. I truly have been blessed.
her family. She found a way to stay the course with All the challenges helped build my character and
her spirituality and work ethic despite what she faced made me who I am today.
growing up in the Deep South. She had a great love
for people and was a great role model.

What are your two favorite books/authors and

what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
The message of Gifted Hands, by Dr. Ben Carson, is
that if you believe you can do something, then you
can. It’s a message that needs to be passed to young
kids today.
The Making of a Leader, by Dr. J. Robert Clinton,
taught me how to bring spiritual values into the
business world.

78 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

Thanks to you,
Martin can invest more time connecting with his patient and
spend less time dealing with administration hassles.

At WellPoint, we are addressing tomorrow’s health care issues today. Through a

pioneering information technology initiative in 2004 by the WellPoint Foundation, 19,000
physicians in California, Georgia, Missouri and Wisconsin received PDAs and desktop
computers with a retail value of $43 million to support enhanced patient care, reduce
administrative costs and improve physician communications with their patients and
pharmacists. In 2005, the Foundation expanded the technology program to more than
1,000 physicians who provide care to uninsured, poor and low-income patients. Working
to better people’s lives is not something you do every day. But it can be - at WellPoint.

Better health care, thanks to you.

Visit us online at wellpoint.com/careers and wellpoint.com/diversity

EOE ®Registered Trademark, WellPoint, Inc. ©2007 WellPoint, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Who are/were your men- ever met. She met every challenge head-on. I try to
tors? What were the lessons mirror her poise and self-assurance.
learned from them?
What are your two favorite books/authors and
A network of mentors have
what impact have they had on your career and
taught, coached, counseled, personal life?
humbled, and uplifted me Maya Angelou is my favorite author. I’ve spent half of
over the course of my ca- my career in sales, and I know that beyond the relation-
reer. One of my favorite les- ships you build are the words you convey. Her works
sons was taught to me by have been an inspiration to my career and to the rela-
my cousin, a retired senior tionships I’ve built along the way.
vice president. He told me A favorite book is Shifting: The Double Lives of
a story about traveling with Black Women in America, by Charisse Jones and Kumea
his bosses earlier in his career, Shorter-Gooden, PhD. This book is more confirmation
Nicole M. Lewis and how they expected him, that black women are amazing, complex multitaskers.
as the junior professional, It’s a great read.
to “carry the luggage.” By
Vice President and Industry How are you involved with your community?
this he meant, do your part
Manager, Global Marketing My favorite activity is the work that I do as a board
and never think that you’re
Kelly Services, Inc. member with GM2CDC, a community develop-
above some of the small stuff
ment corporation that focuses on low-income housing
as you move up the corpo-
and after-school programs for the north-end com-
rate ladder.
munities in Detroit, Michigan. Currently, three hous-
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? ing development projects, totaling over $22 million,
If so, what is it?
are underway.
I require those I mentor to write down their personal
If you were to have lunch with the President of the
non-negotiables and professional aspirations. Then I
United States, what would you ask or suggest?
ask them to compare the two lists and eliminate all
I would ask him to explain his plans to ensure that
conflicts of interests. The result is an “ah-ha” moment
our nation’s children will be able to compete and
for the person, and a true career path reveals itself. The
succeed globally.
goal of the exercise is be true to yourself, personally and
professionally. What is your philosophy of life?
“If not now…when?” I’m always trying to capture the
Who in your family had the most impact on your
upbringing and success?
moment and make things happen.
My parents are the keys to my success, but my maternal What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
grandmother was the most confident person that I’ve The confirmation that I’m raising two great
children, 13 and 8, who are confident, funny,
smart, loving, respectful, and proud of who
they are.
If given the chance, what would you
do differently?
I would spend more time reading at least
three newspapers daily.

(l to r) Charlotte Allen; Minister David Akins;

Lisa Thorington; James Perkins, Executive Director;
Norris Polk, MD; Nicole Lewis; Reverend Betty
Pulliam; Deborah A. Johnson; Ethan Vinson,
Attorney; Geraldine Garry.

80 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008


National Diversity and Inclusion Event

August 10 – 12, 2008
Fairmont Hotel, Chicago, IL


Join food and hospitality industry leaders for MFHA’s annual event where attendees will
have the opportunity to engage in a genuinely unique learning experience.
Topics will include:
• Talent Acquisition, Development and Retention
• Career Enhancement for Diverse Talent
• Coaching Multicultural Talent
• Leading Minority Talent
• Developing Culturally-Competent Leaders

Visit www.mfha.net for ongoing event updates

Who are/were your men- What are your two favorite books/authors and
tors? What were the les- what impact have they had on your career and
sons learned from them? personal life?
While growing up, my par- Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun, by
ents and my pastor, as well Reginald Lewis, taught me that anything is possible
as my high school principal, professionally.
were all very influential in The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas J. Stanley,
my life. As an adult and at taught me to respect the power of money, not for how
KPMG, I have been men- others view you, but for how you view yourself.
tored by many successful
businessmen and women. I How are you involved with your community?
French Taylor have learned from them to I have loved teaching sports to young men. I am
love and celebrate the great- actively involved with helping high school kids un-
ness of the human spirit. derstand how to tackle life issues while never giving
Tax Partner, Dallas
up on their dreams.
Do you teach anything
different to those you If you were to have lunch with the President of the
mentor? If so, what is it? United States, what would you ask or suggest?
I teach more flexibility Simple: just tell me the truth about everything,
of thought and passion. I work very hard to not make regardless of how you think it might change, alter, or
people look like I think they should look. I want taint my view of the world.
them to find their own way, using my life’s experience
as a guide. What is your philosophy of life?
I remember from some childhood readings the
Who in your family had the most impact on your sentence, “Walk with kings but never lose the
upbringing and success? common touch.” That stuck with me. I want to be
Without exception, that would be my parents. I was exceptional spiritually, professionally, intellectually,
blessed to have two college-educated parents, so the culturally, and socially, but I never want to forget
bar was set pretty high in the Taylor household. where I came from.
My mom is a passionate and committed, but
fierce, competitor who taught me that everything is What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
possible and how to balance strength with passion Making partner at KPMG is my most rewarding
and compassion. accomplishment because of all the family, friends,
My dad’s work ethic was unbelievable. He set the and colleagues who supported, mentored, loved, and
example by making the sacrifices day in and day out. sacrificed so I could achieve this milestone.
They both taught me how to deal with adversity and
how to navigate a storm when times are hard. I love If given the chance, what would you do differently?
them for that. First, spend more time with my family and friends,
and second, travel the world during my professionally
formative years.

82 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

Who are/were your mentors? What were the lessons What is your philosophy
learned from them? of life?
My parents are my mentors. They taught me to To whom much is given,
respect others, be honest and to work hard. They also much is required. I have
taught me not to take anything for granted and to been blessed in my life and
give back to my community. feel that I have a respon-
sibility to give back to the
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? community that is a part of
If so, what is it?
who I am today. I also be-
No. The lessons I learned from my parents are time- lieve that you should treat
less, relevant and very important. others better than you want
to be treated. LaShawnda Thomas
Who in your family had the most impact on your
upbringing and success?
What is your Audit Senior Manager,
My parents and grandparents had the most impact on most rewarding Pittsburgh
my upbringing and success. They encouraged me to accomplishment?
believe in myself and my abilities. They desired for me My most rewarding accom-
to accomplish more than what they had accomplished plishment is being able to
in their lives. work with youth and tell them of my life experiences
and various accomplishments.
What are your two favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career and If given the chance, what would you do differently?
personal life?
I cannot think of anything that I would do differently.
My favorite book is the Bible. It provides guidance for
Everything that has happened in my life has happened
all matters in my career and personal life.
for a reason and contributes to the person that I
How are you involved with your community?
am today.
I am involved in Amachi Pittsburgh, which is a pro-
gram devoted to mentoring children who have incar-
cerated parents. As part of the program, I mentor a
13-year-old young lady.
I am also involved with the Career Literacy for
African American Youth program, where I serve as a
career mentor to a young lady in high school. In addi-
tion, I just completed a two-year term as the Director
of Community Affairs of the Pittsburgh chapter of the
National Association of Black Accountants, which is a
leader in helping to expand the influence of minority
professionals in the fields of accounting and finance.

If you were to have lunch with the President of the

United States, what would you ask or suggest?
I would suggest that each child have access to quality LaShawnda Thomas with the 13-year-old girl she
education. Having access to quality education would mentors through the Amachi Pittsburgh program.
improve the life opportunities of many children.

Prof iles in Div er s it y Jou r na l january/February 2008 83

Who are/were your men- Colin Powell’s story is both fascinating and inspi-
tors? What were the les- rational. I have incorporated several of his leadership
sons learned from them?
principles into my professional approach.
Two mentors from my days
at Goodyear were Larry How are you involved with your community?
Schlosser and Jim Kruse. I participated in a tutoring project led and funded
Larry encouraged me to by my church, which prepared third graders in an
fight through the obstacles economically disadvantaged area for their first stan-
I would encounter in cor- dardized test.
porate America. Jim taught While in Asia, my daughter’s first grade project
me the ins and outs of the led to an amazing experience for my entire family in
Maurice D. Markey Goodyear business. which we adopted a school in Cambodia.
At Kraft Foods, former
Vice President Marketing, senior executives Paula If you were to have lunch with the President of the
Grocery Sneed and Todd Brown United States, what would you ask or suggest?
Kraft Foods Inc. were particularly influen- Failing a portion of our population in education and
tial. Paula encouraged me to health care is not a sustainable model. These two
have a broad-based network areas need to be addressed if we hope to maintain our
throughout the organization. Todd Brown taught me leadership position in the world.
to “never let them see you sweat” and always maintain
my composure. What is your philosophy of life?
“To whom much is given, from him much will be
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? required.” Luke 12:48. This scripture keeps me
If so, what is it? grounded. It is a constant reminder of my obligation
Many of my messages are similar. I encourage my to others.
mentees to have a plan for their careers and not to
measure their success through others. I may differ in What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
my delivery, as I am much more candid and frank to Professionally, my assignment in Singapore was a
ensure they receive the message. highly rewarding accomplishment. My family and I
were able to rise to the challenge of moving to the
Who in your family had the most impact on your other side of the world, and thrive in a different envi-
upbringing and success? ronment and culture.
My parents, Napoleon and Mary, with eight kids and
sixty-plus years of marriage. They instilled in me a If given the chance, what would you do differently?
strong work ethic, to be consistent and accountable, It’s natural to want to erase the mishaps, but those
and to have a passion for something. were the times when I learned and grew the most; as
such, I wouldn’t change a thing.
What are your two favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
The Bible and Colin Powell’s My American Journey.
There hasn’t been a situation, either professionally
or personally, where I have not found guidance from
the Bible.

84 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

Who are/were your mentors? What were the lessons How are you involved with
learned from them? your community?
I have had many mentors throughout my career, both I have always tried to
in- and outside of the workplace. My single most in- serve as a mentor for
fluential mentor remains my husband; he challenges young women and girls in
me to think big and never allows me to be my own the African-American com-
worst critic. He always encourages me to embrace my munity. I do this with vari-
strengths, learn from my mistakes, and celebrate my ous Chicago-based com-
accomplishments. munity organizations.

Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? If you had lunch with the
If so, what is it? President of the United Katie Williams
As a mentor I try to encourage young marketers to be States, what would you
courageous and not afraid to make mistakes. If noth- ask or suggest?
I would ask if he is proud of Marketing Director,
ing ever goes wrong, you are probably not pushing Pizza
yourself far enough. The difference between good and his terms as President, and
if given the chance what Kraft Foods Inc.
great is not what happens but how well you anticipate
and respond to what happens. decisions would he like to
go back and change?
Who in your family had the most impact on your
upbringing and success? What is your philosophy of life?
I come from a very artistic family. Most of my youth My philosophy is to be open to whatever comes your
was spent in performing arts schools and activities. way. I always try to remember that in periods of
With all those performers under one roof, you had to doubt, fear, or adversity, you learn how to live life to
be very comfortable both in the spotlight and in the the fullest.
audience cheering others on.
What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
What are your two favorite books/authors and what My most rewarding accomplishment has been main-
impact have they had on your career and personal taining and nurturing happy and healthy relation-
life? ships with my friends and family.
Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
serves as a manual for me that I return to whenever If given the chance, what would you do differently?
I need a little refresher. Much of my career has been Nothing—I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
spent working with and leading teams. The book
offers insight on how to maximize your interactions
with people by bringing out the best in yourself.
Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle is another favorite.
My mother gave me this book as a young girl and it
was very powerful. It showed me the importance of
tolerance, and how easy it is for people to get so car-
ried away in their own beliefs that they are willing to
sacrifice everything for something as simple as how to
butter their bread.

Prof iles in Div er s it y Jou r na l january/February 2008 85

Who are/were your men- How are you involved with your community?
tors? What were the les- I serve as an Assistant Scout Master for a local troop
sons learned from them? and as a Merit Badge Counselor for the Emergency
My mentors include Dr. Preparedness Merit Badge. I am active in my church,
Sherman Beverly, Jr., a participating in the Outreach Committee and I
now-retired professor of ‘chair’ the global advocacy subcommittee therein.
African American History I also am a mentor in our church confirmation pro-
at Northeastern University; gram for teens.
Dr. Don N. Harris, a re-
search scientist and com- If you were to have lunch with the President of the
munity activist in Somerset United States, what would you ask or suggest?
County, NJ; and Gary I would ask that he attempt to get a better under-
Cooper, a three-star Marine standing of the core of American values, the diversity
William M. Phillips III
General who I worked with of those values and not just be attached to the values
when he was Ambassador of his own party, or political supporters.
Director, Office of
Counterintelligence to Jamaica in the 1990s. What is your philosophy of life?
Los Alamos George Simcox, a mas- I believe that we are here on God’s earth for an
National Laboratory ter in Ki Aikido, taught extremely short time. There is no time to procrasti-
me the way of mind and nate. Love, kindness and mindfulness are also rare
body coordination. George in today’s world. I try to bring those ideas into every
died in 2002, but his impact on me for 13 years will contact I have with a human being.
last a lifetime.
What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? To have been involved in the eradication in a South
If so, what is it? American country of over 220,000 acres of coca
One must always take pride in his/her work and strive whose derivative, cocaine, was bound for the U.S.
to excel. and Europe during the course of my work with the
Who in your family had the most impact on your Federal Government.
upbringing and success?
If given the chance, what would you do differently?
My parents, Dr. W.M. Phillips, Jr. and Marie Beverly
I would have spent more time in helping people
Phillips, helped me to understand the importance of
understand the preciousness of the time we have
personal discipline and that service to community was
on Earth.
critical to one’s well-being and blackness.
What are a few of your favorite books/authors
and what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
The Dhammapada and The Panther and the Lash,
by Langston Hughes, and Proflective Poetry, Volume
IV, by Waldo Bruce Phillips. Phillips uses poetry to
describe the plight of African Americans in the
United States.
I think The Collected Poems and Plays of
Rabindranath Tagore is a book many more people
should read from a literary point of view.

William Phillips talking with the headmaster of a

school for Tibetan refugees in Dharmshala, India.

86 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

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Communities Through
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Who are/were your men- How are you involved in your community?
tors? What were the les- I have been a volunteer of the Civil Air Patrol for
sons learned from them? approximately 35 years as a pilot. I hold the grade
I have two mentors, both of Colonel, and most recently served as the Wing
from Ford Motor Com- Commander for the State of Michigan.
pany: Mr. Elliott Hall, Civil Air Patrol is a volunteer, nonprofit, be-
former VP, Government nevolent organization, dedicated to humanitarian
Affairs, and Mr. Ron activities. It is also, by law, the official auxiliary of the
Goldsberry, former VP, United States Air Force.
Customer Service Division.
Each provided invaluable If you were to have lunch with the President of the
insights on leadership and United States, what would you ask or suggest?
Gary Mayo I would ask questions to better understand his ap-
professional development
as a corporate executive. proach to key domestic issues, especially as it involves
Vice President of Energy and one of our most precious assets, our children. I would
Environmental Services Do you teach anything also inquire about policies related to sustainability
MGM MIRAGE different to those you and future generations.
mentor? If so, what is it?
My advice for those I What is your philosophy of life?
mentor focuses on work ethic, continuous learning, I lead a principle-centered life based on the pursuit of
and holding oneself to the highest ethical standards excellence in all that I do, with a mindset that I can
possible. I also talk with them about responsibil- accomplish anything I set out to do.
ity, accountability and giving, as well as expecting,
What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
Raising my two daughters (14 & 16) to be the beauti-
Who in your family had the most impact on your ful young ladies that they are today far outweighs any
upbringing and success? of my professional accomplishments.
Both my mother and my father had a tremendous
If given the chance, what would you do differently?
effect on my life. My dad kept me grounded and
I never regret my past actions and don’t look
taught me about leadership, developing a solid work
back second-guessing things I cannot change. I am
ethic and my responsibilities as a father.
on the exact path that I was destined to be on. I learn
My mom taught me understanding, compassion,
from my past experiences and apply those learnings
how to be a giving person, and, of course, politeness.
moving forward.
What are your two favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
The Fifth Discipline, by Peter M. Senge. I have
known Peter for a number of years, and through
personal interaction and reading his books, I have
honed my personal leadership skills in the area of
organizational learning.
Synchronicity, the Inner Path of Leadership, by
Joseph Jaworski, is another. As a friend and informal
mentor, Joseph has helped illuminate some ambigu-
ous situations.

88 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

Who are/were your mentors? What were the lessons If you were to have
you learned from them? lunch with the President
My long-time mentors are Dr. Verdun Trione and of the United States,
fellow MGM MIRAGE Human Resources executive what would you ask
or suggest?
Miriam Hammond. From both I have learned that
I would ask that he strongly
good leaders are humble and very diverse in their
reconsider his views on the
skills and knowledge.
subjects of our position in
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? Iraq, his position on our
If so, what is it? environment, and his posi-
I continue to teach a version of the same, adding that tion on the state of health
a true leader must first serve in order to lead. insurance for our lower Debbie Thomas
income families, especially
Who in your family had the most impact on your those with children. All of Vice President
upbringing and success? these have great impact on of Human Resources
My father. He is a very kind man, a saint on our future. MGM Grand Detroit
earth, who has a very special relationship with God.
This relationship allows him to meet, interact with, What is your philosophy
and accept others where they are, physically and of life?
emotionally. No one is a stranger to him. Go out on the skinny branch. Eleanor Roosevelt said
we gain strength, courage, and confidence by every
What are your two favorite books/authors and experience when you really stop to look fear in the
what impact have they had on your career and face. “You must do the thing which you think you
personal life?
cannot do.”
The Bible—the older I get, the more I understand
and believe that its words do contain all the answers What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
we seek. My favorite author is Dr. Wayne Dyer, who Giving birth to my two daughters and watching them
has become more spiritual as he has matured in life grow into incredibly wonderful human beings.
and practice. Both of these have touched my life,
because both reinforce for me that being passionate If given the chance, what would you do differently?
means taking risks. They both help me better un- I would have faced my fears earlier. I believe I
derstand and live my life with the knowledge that if have lost some ground, both professionally and
I change my thoughts, I can change my life and the personally. That being said, I don’t look back; I only
lives of others. Both provide me with inner peace. go forward.

How are you involved in your community?

Recently moving to my new assignment in Detroit,
Michigan, has not yet afforded me the opportunity
to become involved. I do support our team mem-
ber efforts in my community and look forward to
working with youth programs, especially those related
to literacy.

Prof iles in Div er s it y Jou r na l january/February 2008 89

Who are/were your men- How are you involved with your community?
tors? What were the les- I tend to focus most of my personal efforts with my
sons learned from them? local church. My husband and I are currently leading
My last formal mentor its capital campaign, which is a new and exciting ef-
was Tanya Clemons, cor- fort for us.
porate vice president of Moreover, Microsoft’s Math Matters is a personal
People and Organizational passion of mine since I believe we are letting too
Capability. Tanya helped many children graduate without adequate math skills.
me learn how to navi- I think that programs like Microsoft’s are absolutely
gate the inner workings vital to ensuring that high standards remain in place
Lauren Gardener of Microsoft when I first with better teaching techniques so that our children
joined the company. Tanya are equipped for the future marketplace.
also gave me career guid-
General Manager of
North America HR ance, especially in helping If you were to have lunch with the President of the
Microsoft me craft my own path. United States, what would you ask or suggest?
I believe that we need to reexamine our budgetary
Do you teach anything priorities. Personally, I am very concerned that we are
different to those you spending too much on foreign endeavors instead of
mentor? If so, what is it?
building a better domestic infrastructure. I think we
I believe strongly in reverse mentoring. That is
should focus more on education and health care.
to say, I believe it is important to learn as much
from the mentee as the mentee learns from me. What is your philosophy of life?
What is their story, both personally and professional- I would say my life philosophy is learn, have fun, and
ly? How can I use this information to improve myself get things done! I do believe in the power of prayer!
as a leader and to better educate them?
What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
Who in your family had the most impact on your Personally, it’s being a proud mother and being blessed
upbringing and success?
with a wonderful family. Professionally, it’s building
Indirectly, my maternal grandfather had a large im-
a solid career at Microsoft.
pact on me. As an African-American physician born
in the 1890s, he inspired me to reach for the stars. If given the chance, what would you do differently?
Whenever I doubted my career ambitions, I remem- I would do very little differently. My mistakes have
bered him and how daring he was for his time. taught me more than my successes.

What are your two favorite books/authors and

what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
I’m a big fan of Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison, and
in particular the Song of Solomon. Books with biblical
overtones and deep irony have helped me reexamine
my thinking of the African-American community. I’m
an avid reader of the Bible and I constantly seek new
ways to examine it.

90 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

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Who are/were your men- How are you involved with your community?
tors? What were the les- Most of my community involvement revolves around
sons learned from them? my sons. My husband Kenny and I stay engaged with
Two role models that I re- their schoolwork and athletics.
member fondly were Dr. I also participate and help organize activities for
Bertha Wexler, a Jewish my local Jack and Jill club. While I appreciate the
woman and my family pe- diversity of my hometown’s population, I also think
diatrician, and Fr. Dudley it’s important for Marcus and Brian to gain an un-
Darbonne, a black priest derstanding of and appreciation for our cultural and
from my parish church. ethnic heritage.
Simply by her presence,
Dr. Wexler opened my eyes If you were to have lunch with the President of the
Lisa P. Jackson to the possibilities of life. United States, what would you ask or suggest?
Fr. Darbonne taught me My first instinct would be to ask how his administra-
that to fail is not the end tion could so miserably fail the people of my home-
New Jersey
of the world. Rather, it is town of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane
Department of
Environmental an opportunity to learn and Katrina. But I suspect my concerns, like those of so
Protection to experience the power of many others, would fall on deaf ears and so I would
love and forgiveness. probably respectfully decline the invitation.

Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? What is your philosophy of life?
If so, what is it? “There, but for fortune, may go you or I.”
I try to impart the same lessons I learned: Do not fear
failure, and keep an open mind about the possibilities What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
in your life. Without a doubt, the fine young men my two sons
have become.
Who in your family had the most impact on your
upbringing and success? If given a chance, what would you do differently?
My mother, Marie Perez Rieras. Her faith in the I don’t know that I’d do anything differently. Why
power of a good education and her refusal to accept would I want to tempt fate by changing anything?
the notion that my race or sex would hold me back
from accomplishing anything put me firmly on the
path to my present success.

What are your two favorite books/authors and

what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
The top of the list is Toni Morrison’s Beloved. I relate
to it on many levels—as an African-American, as a
woman and, most particularly, as a mother.
Another favorite is The Giving Tree, by Shel
Silverstein. While described as a children’s book, it is
an ageless lesson in what it means to love, and it gave
me a great appreciation for the sacrifices my parents
made as I was growing up. Commissioner Jackson speaking at a bill-signing
ceremony this past summer. The gentleman in the
background is New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine.
92 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008
Who are/were your mentors? What were the lessons is a mentoring program
learned from them? designed to expose high
I have always tried to adopt the highest qualities of school students to practical
individuals that cross my path, so my mentoring has applied sciences and rel-
been mostly an amalgamation of many professional evant environmental issues
traits and influences. I honestly can’t point to any in- and potential careers.
dividual mentor, but have enjoyed many people across
many interests. If you were to have lunch
with the President of the
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? United States, what would
If so, what is it? you ask or suggest?
I believe that the Emotional Quotient (EQ) is one’s How is it that, in just a
most important professional attribute. Sure, top- few years, you have lost the
goodwill of so much of the John S. Watson Jr.
flight education and training are important, but the
application of what an individual has learned in the world toward our country? Deputy Commissioner
workplace is what makes one successful. New Jersey
What is your philosophy Department of
Who in your family had the most impact on your of life? Environmental
upbringing and success? I try my best to treat others Protection
My late father John S. Watson was a statesman and like I expect to be treated.
community leader. He taught me the importance Seek personal excellence.
and value of giving to your community. With regard Work hard. Play hard. Most often that is a good
to my passion to protect New Jersey’s environment, formula for everyday living.
I give credit to my uncles, who had me in the forest,
along a stream, or out on a bay constantly. Those What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
exposures make you understand the responsibility Professionally, it is being appointed Deputy
of individuals to be good stewards of our planet’s Commissioner of NJDEP, working under the first
limited resources. African American to serve as New Jersey’s top envi-
ronmental official.
What are your two favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career and If given the chance, what would you do differently?
personal life? I think that I would prob-
A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold, is consid- ably have taken advice
ered to be a landmark book in the conservation move- better as a young man
ment and integral in framing a “land ethic” as we still when I thought I knew
understand it today. everything. Looking
Another is The Lorax. Though a children’s back, now I know that
story written by Dr. Seuss nearly forty years ago, I didn’t!
its applications ring true for anyone conservation-
minded today. The story has been a popular metaphor
for those concerned about the human impact on Deputy Commissioner
the environment. Watson with a bald eagle
monitored as part of New
Jersey’s Threatened and
How are you involved with your community?
Endangered Species
I serve on a number of community organizations. Program.
The one that I am most involved with currently

Prof iles in Div er s it y Jou r na l january/February 2008 93

Who are/were your men- If you were to have lunch with the President of the
tors? What were the les- United States, what would you ask or suggest?
sons learned from them? I want the President to understand that with great
I would say my mentors power comes great responsibility, and that our leader-
include Jesus Christ, who ship should not be dictated by political philosophy,
showed us to lead by ex- but instead be based on a humanitarian view, whereby
ample and to serve oth- all people should be respected for their cultural and
ers; my mother, who with social differences. I believe in a strong United States
a fourth grade education guided by the principles of our Constitution. We
taught me that common should use our power and resources to lift all boats
sense was more important of those who are of good intentions, and we should
than book sense; my wife, govern by faith and mutual respect.
George Nichols III who helps me find the good
What is your philosophy of life?
in everyone; and my previ-
Senior Vice President, ous bosses, who challenged Proverbs 3, 5 and 6: Trust in God with all thine
Office of me to be the best profes- heart and lean not to your own understanding.
Governmental Affairs
sional and taught me the Acknowledge him in all that you do and he will direct
New York Life thy path.
importance of focusing on
the details. What is your most rewarding accomplishment?

Do you teach anything different to those you mentor?

It is the small contribution that I have made to the
If so, what is it? lives of my wife, children and people whom I have
I do not teach anything different than mentioned met and worked with. I pray I have helped make
above, but the focus with those I mentor is how they them better.
apply those principles within their own lives. If given the chance, what would you do differently?
Who in your family had the most impact on your The path that my life has taken has been wonderful.
upbringing and success? I believe my life is preordained, and with that comes
My parents have had the most impact. My mother’s happiness and an inner peace about my place in
philosophy was that it is better to be of good name the world.
than of great wealth. My father taught me the impor-
tance of personal responsibility.
What are your two favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
The Bible provides direction for both my personal
and professional life. Books that have had an im-
pact on my career are Good to Great, The Art of
War and Who Moved My Cheese? Each one provides
approaches on how to navigate today’s workplace.
How are you involved with your community?
George Nichols III visits Morristown Neighborhood
I am actively involved in church and as a volunteer House, an agency providing child-care and other
with community organizations. I also am in oversight services for families. It is one of the many nonprofit
roles with colleges and universities from which I organizations that will benefit from the annual
hold degrees. fundraising campaign at New York Life.

94 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

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Who are/were your men- How are you involved in your community?
tors? What were the les- I currently serve on three boards: Ontario Women
sons learned from them? In Law, Ottawa Community Immigrant Service
My first mentor was Organization (OCISO) and Leadership Ottawa. I
Phyllis Agnew, an elemen- believe that in order to police effectively, you must
tary school teacher who have a relationship with the community.
saw an injustice being
done to me. I was made to If you were to have lunch with the President of the
United States, what would you ask or suggest?
sing behind a curtain while
a lighter skinned child That he should find more balance in his approach.
mimed on stage. Phyllis’s People who chose to live in North America should
words (“Never ever let any- not suffer for resembling people who are trying to
Isobel Anderson
one put you behind the harm Americans.
curtain again.”) have stayed What is your philosophy of life?
Sergeant with me to this day. I do not allow the world to define what I should be as
Ottawa Police Service My mother taught a person. I have a choice as to how the new chapters
me to seek the lesson be- of my life will be written, and how I will respond to
hind every event and not what happens to me.
only to learn from it but
What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
guide others.
In 1978, I crashed the gate of apartheid to become
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? the first black police officer to join the white ranks
If so, what is it? of the Rhodesian Police Force; in those days there
Ever since my daughter asked why God did not allow were two rank structures—one for whites and one for
us to forget when we forgive, I answered that history blacks. I led my community into an arena where they
would continue to repeat itself. I teach others that had never had a voice before.
forgiveness takes the sting out of remembering.
If given the chance, what would you do differently?
Who in your family had the most impact on your I cannot think of anything I would do differently. Life
upbringing and success?
to me is a gift, and I try to live every day without re-
My parents taught us to take pride in being ourselves
gret, using life’s lessons to help me navigate the future.
and that one of the best ways to effect change is from
If we leave large enough footprints, others can follow
within, by being educated.
without faltering.
What are your two favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career and
personal life?
Two recent favorites are The Book of Negroes,
by Lawrence Hill, and The Tipping Point, by
Malcolm Gladwell.

Sergeant Anderson mentoring

community members.

96 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

Who are/were your mentors? What were the lessons we proudly serve. When I
learned from them? am not speaking or mentor-
My mentor was and still is my mother Phyllis. She ing youth, I am out recruit-
taught me that I could achieve anything I wanted, ing co-workers, communi-
as long as I pursued it with passion and dedication. ty members and family to
She led by example, earning her nursing license at the participate in community
age of 50. fundraisers.
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? If you were to have lunch
If so, what is it? with the President of the
I teach those I mentor that they and only they set the United States, what would
standard for how others will treat them. you ask or suggest? Debbie Miller
We need to take pride in ourselves. Stand tall! I would suggest to the
This will allow us to remember that the prize is President that our number
straight ahead and within reach. one priority is the family Sergeant
unit. A healthy family posi- Ottawa Police Service
Who in your family had the most impact on your
tively changes our world.
upbringing and success?
My mother had the most impact on my life. As a What is your philosophy
new immigrant and single parent raising four young of life?
children, she made sure that all of us understood the We are all responsible for our own destiny, and giving
importance of getting a good education. up is not an option when things get hard.
What are your two favorite books/authors and What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
what impact have they had on your career and I have been blessed with several important and
personal life? rewarding accomplishments. My family, my promo-
One of my favorite books is The Book of Negroes, by tion to the rank to the rank of Sergeant and lastly,
Lawrence Hill. This book allowed me to appreciate being awarded the 2007 Ontario Women in Law
and understand the struggle and perseverance of my Enforcement (OWLE) Mentorship award.
people. It showed that giving up is never an option.
My second favorite book is Leadership Wisdom If given the chance, what would you do differently?
from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, by Robin S. I would have taken the time to enjoy being a youth,
Sharma. This book provides insight into becoming instead of having to grow up so fast.
a visionary leader inspiring others to want to make
a difference.
How are you involved in your community?
I am an avid community volunteer. I mentor school-
aged kids by teaching them to read and being a guest
speaker on topics such as peer pressure, bullying,
drugs and alcohol abuse.
I also volunteer my time as an Ottawa Police
Outreach Recruiter. I truly believe that our police
service should be a true reflection of the community

Volunteering at Jaku Konbit kids’ summer camp 2007, in Ottawa.

Prof iles in Div er s it y Jou r na l january/February 2008 97

Who are/were your men- What are your two favorite books/authors and
tors? What were the les- what impact have they had on your career and
sons learned from them? personal life?
Father Thomas Swade, In Search of Satisfaction, by J. California Cooper,
the founder of Link is one of my favorites. This fictitious story shows
Unlimited and a Cath- how the definition and pursuit of satisfaction differs
olic priest, was instrumen- greatly from one person to another.
tal in the development of From Good to Great, by Jim Collins, is an-
my moral compass. I was other favorite. Collins teases out the drivers and
mentored by Dr. Adrienne concepts behind some of the most successful compa-
Bailey as part of the Link nies in American and how to apply the concepts in
Tracy Carmen-Jones Unlimited program, which the workplace.
got me thinking about pro-
Vice President, Retail fessions. How are you involved with your community?
Community Marketing From a professional As the leader of Reliant’s community marketing
and Involvement efforts, I create and implement programs for
standpoint, Carla Hills, the
Reliant Energy Inc. managing partner at the law ethnic groups, seniors and low income persons
firm Latham, Watkins, and throughout Texas.
Hills where I worked while attending Georgetown, I mentor a new student as part of the Link
was also a mentor. Unlimited program, and I’m involved in mentoring
Key lessons I’ve learned include the need to put in as part of the Texas Executive Women organization.
the work to create high impact results, being true to
If you were to have lunch with the President of the
oneself, treating people genuinely and being willing to
United States, what would you ask or suggest?
evaluate things from multiple perspectives.
I would suggest that we develop a strong educational
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor?  emphasis to provide high quality instruction and re-
If so, what is it? sources to all schools, irrespective of the tax base and
I impart lessons that are similar to those I learned attentiveness of the parents.
from Father Swade and Carla Hills. I also include les-
sons about being clear on what you want and having What is your philosophy of life?
the will to make things happen. Live life as a demonstration that God is alive
and walking among the living. Go after what you
Who in your family had the most impact on your want out of life with an unwavering focus and
upbringing and success? commitment.
My grandmother, mom and dad have had the most
impact on my upbringing. My grandmother and What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
mother taught me the love of life and the ability to be Being a part of a strong family that loves, nurtures and
positive, even in the face of adversity. supports each other.
My dad fostered a strong work ethic, perseverance
and the ability to keep pushing forward that lives with If given the chance, what would you do differently?
me today. Worry less, laugh more and genuinely contribute
more fully in every interaction.

98 Pro f i les i n Di ve rsit y Journal january/February 2008

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Who are/were your men- How are you involved with your community?
tors? What were the les- I support a handful of different charities, including
sons learned from them? my alma maters. However, my involvement in my
My father was my men- community begins at home with my son. If I bring
tor. We used to talk every my son into the world as someone who is discerning,
Sunday morning, and after kind, fearless and committed to serving others, then
he passed away, I learned that’s the greatest gift I can give my community.
that he kept notes from our
conversations. In addition If you were to have lunch with the President of
to many other parts of my the United States, what would you ask or suggest?
life, he chronicled my ca- I would ask why we haven’t been able to eliminate
reer and kept notes on all hunger in America and genocide in other parts of the
Ginny Clarke
my bosses, important meet- world. Given that we are the global power, we should
ings and presentations that be able to influence these and many other world ills.
Partner, Global Leader, I had. He was helping me
Diversity Practice What is your philosophy of life?
drive my career by staying
Spencer Stuart I create my own choices for my life and I try to live
in touch with the details.
My father taught me to without fear. So whatever comes to me, it is to some
tell people what I want. extent of my own making. I own it and I deal with it
Don’t assume that doing a good job is enough. You without being afraid.
have to say what it is that you are seeking and tell
What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
people what you can bring to the table.
Becoming a partner at Spencer Stuart. I work with a
Do you teach anything different to those you mentor?  high quality and very committed group of people.
If so, what is it?
I tell them that every aspect of your life is about com- If given the chance, what would you do differently?
municating. You have to assess yourself and your cur- Early in my career, I sometimes felt the need to hold
rent position and tell your manager what kind of job back so I could get by and be included. Now my view
or assignment you want next. is, “Let me tell you what I think and how I feel.”

Who in your family had the most impact on

your upbringing and success?
My mother had a huge impact on my life and my suc-
cess. She was a bold, confident woman who balanced
her professional life with motherhood and parenting.
She was an incredible role model and supporter.

What are your favorite books/authors and

what impact have they had on your career
and personal life?
One of my favorite books is The Fifth Discipline,
by Peter M. Senge. It talks about the corporation as
a learning organization and how it must be adapt-
able, like a living organism, in order to truly optimize
its talent.

100 Pro f i les i n Dive rsit y Journal january/February 2008

Who are/were your mentors? I have elected to take a be-
I am fortunate to have interacted with numerous hind the scenes approach by
individuals who provided me with guidance. The one directing corporate funds
who perhaps served more as a mentor than the oth- to those groups I believe
ers is a gentleman who recruited me to Pennsylvania are the most deserving.
Blue Shield named Robert L. Owens. A retired U.S.
Air Force Major, Mr. Owens provided me with If you were to have lunch
lessons that were obvious; and some that were not with the President of the
United States, what would
so obvious.
you ask or suggest?

Do you teach anything different to those you mentor? 

I would suggest his admin-
If so, what is it? istration develop a means to
Those that I assist receive the same messages I did. reduce the economic stress Harlon L. Robinson
The delivery mechanism is different, but the message currently being endured by
Corporate Vice President,
is the same. an overwhelming majority
Human Resources &
of United States citizens. Administration
Who in your family had the most impact on your United Concordia
upbringing and success? What is your philosophy Companies Inc.
My parents had the biggest impact on my develop- of life?
ment. However, when she passed at age 104, my Work hard. Be ethical.
maternal grandmother was the oldest living graduate Enjoy life.
of South Carolina State University.
What is your most rewarding accomplishment?
Both sets of grandparents strongly endorsed the
concept of education. As a result, I have numerous In addition to being a responsible husband and
aunts and uncles whose successes I tried to emulate. father, I am happy to have been effective in corporate
America without sacrificing my personal values.
What are your favorite books/authors and
what impact have they had on your career and If given the chance, what would you do differently?
personal life? I would have worked harder on my natural science
My reading patterns are quite eclectic. I list among courses and pursued admission to medical school.
my favorite authors James Baldwin, Alex Hailey,
James Clavell, Robert Ludlum, Walter Mosely,
W.E.B. Griffin and John Sandford. In truth, the list
could go on and on.

How are you involved with your community?

My community service activities have been varied. Concordia’s
Past activities include coaching youth and club soccer, Harlon
vice chairman of a community college’s board of trust- Robinson
(second from
ees, chairing the local American Red Cross chapter’s
right) joins
board of directors, and chairing a regional United Phoenix
Negro College Fund telethon. colleagues
Currently, in addition to being a member of to plan
one of many free clinics
the local United Way board and conducting free offered throughout the country each year for uninsured and
dental clinics for economically challenged children, underinsured children and adults in need of dental services.

Prof iles in Div er s it y Jou r na l january/February 2008 101

This year, resolve to…
Learn your co-workers’ MicroTriggers!
“But the part that
angers me most is the
M icroTriggers are those subtle
behaviors, phrases and
inequities that trigger an instantaneous
constant comments
that ‘my position

negative response. Here are some here is helping the

samples for you to consider. Because I Said So…
company to meet their
diversity quota.’” “ It burns me up when people do
not accept my decision until my
“None of the Above” manager or someone with more

“ Recently, I was pulled over by

a police officer for a minor traffic
“She then asked if I was sure that I
had not seen the hot chocolate. Again,
authority states that they agree with
my decision.”
violation. In writing my citation, the I said no, and as she walked away, —Anonymous, Memphis, TN
officer needed to specify my race. she said that the Mexican cleaning
He asked, ‘What ethnicity are you?’ No One Notices a Job Well Done...
ladies must have stolen it. That is
I replied, ‘I am biracial.’ He
completed the form, gave me my
what set me off—her assuming that all
minorities steal.”
“ Hard work and long hours
have become commonplace for me.
copy and I was off. I have put in 12-hour days for two
—T. M., Bethesda, MD
“I reviewed the form when I got months straight without any time
home and noticed in the ethnicity box off. But recently I was one hour late
Following are some thought-
the officer checked Black. That was to a 6 a.m. meeting, and someone
provoking stories from a recent
not my trigger, because that is what I commented, “Day shifters have got
MicroTriggers workshop held for
would have checked. However, I was it good.” It makes me want to scream
female managers at a manufacturing
triggered by the fact that the officer when people only track the rare
company in Memphis, Tennessee:
made that assumption instead of just times that you are late, but do NOT
asking me my preference or simply acknowledge the majority of the
What About the “Jerk” Quota?
checking Other.” time that you work your butt off for
—Anonymous, Richmond, VA “ I am a female manager in a male-
dominated industry. I work in a plant
the company.”
—Anonymous, Memphis, TN
environment and, unfortunately, it
Rush to Judgement is exactly what people say plants are
“ I work as an administrative
assistant for a high-end construction
like. There is foul language, offensive
jokes—all of that. But the part that

company, and I am the only minority Janet Crenshaw Smith is president of

angers me most is the constant
in the company. I come to work Ivy Planning Group LLC, a consulting
comments that ‘my position here is
every day, and I am always reliable and training firm that specializes in
helping the company to meet their
and professional. diversity strategy and leadership. Her
diversity quota.’ I worked hard to
“One day last week, a coworker book is titled, MicroTriggers: 58 Little
get here, and I work even harder
approached me and asked if I had Things That Have a Big Impact.
to tolerate this woman-unfriendly
seen the hot chocolate. I replied Have a MicroTrigger story to share?
no, and that I really didn’t care for Send it to: JSmith@ivygroupllc.com
—Anonymous, Memphis, TN
hot chocolate.

102 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

In 2007 our difference
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Comcast. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 New York Life. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 UnitedHealth Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

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Ford Motor Company Inside Front, Owens & Minor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Waste Management . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Back
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Hallmark Cards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 PepsiCo, Inc. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 67 WellPoint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

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Highmark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Pfizer, Inc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

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104 Profiles in Diversit y Journal january/February 2008

True Power Is Wielded Quietly.
When I look in the eyes of the people,
I feel their arms
wrapped around me.
Every day is a gift
and I never forget that.
My dream is to help others
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