Notes from the President & CEO
CHAMPIONING DIVERSITY & INCLUSION WITH A ROADMAP YOU CAN USE
THE LAST FEW MONTHS HAVE NOT BEEN KIND to leadership figures in the wide world of sports. The well-publicized racist comments and actions of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling were followed by the revelation of even more bigoted comments from Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson and General Manager Danny Ferry about that teams’ fans and a minority player.
And of course, we are now familiar with the decisions of embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who—in a league where player concussions and head injuries are of paramount concern—saw video evidence that one of his league’s players knocked his fiancé out cold with a vicious punch to the head and decided that a mere two game suspension was punishment enough for that player. Just think, some people actually predicted that Michael Sam’s sexuality was going to be the big “distraction” in the sports world this fall.
These issues carry critical lessons about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In each instance, at the top of the food chain we witnessed tone deafness and outright hostility toward women and minorities. With the real or threatened departure of sponsors and forced sale of ownership interests, the absence of leadership on diversity and inclusion issues resulted not only in embarrassment and significant—even permanent—brand damage, but also actual risk to the enterprise and tangible financial losses. These episodes show that a meaningful, sustained commitment to diversity and inclusion can actually serve to mitigate risk. The corollary, of course, is that the absence of such commitment can result in serious consequences. Is there still anyone who questions whether there is a business case to be made for diversity?
If you want shining examples of diverse and inclusive workplaces, then look no further than this issue in which we showcase our 2014 Diversity Gala Award winners. Our Employer of Choice Awards, Thomas
Joseph K. West