At Federated Department Stores (Federated), diversity isn’t an option, but an imperative for competing in a multicultural American marketplace. At every level of the company, Federated works to show its appreciation for the unique characteristics and strengths of every person.
Federated’s commitment to diversity is reflected in its demographics. Almost 76 percent of its employees are women, and 44 percent of its employees belong to a racial minority group. In the management ranks, 66 percent of the executives are women and 23 percent are racial minorities. In its 30-attorney legal department, 20 percent are minorities and 50 percent are women. Of the three direct reports to the general counsel, one is a minority and one is a woman. Of the eight manager/supervisors, two are people of color and two are women.
A proven leader in diversity in the retail industry and among major U.S. corporations, the critical factors to Federated’s success have been education, planning, and accountability. Each retail store and corporate division completes an annual plan that details diversity initiatives, goals, and a timetable for their completion.
Federated’s commitment to diversity is further reflected through its “Vendor Development Program,” which seeks to source goods and services from qualified minority- and women-owned enterprises. The number of certified vendors has more than doubled in the past five years. In 2001, these purchases totaled approximately $300 million.
As part of its overall commitment to diversity, Federated’s law department uses the talents and expertise of women and minority lawyers from its outside counsel law firms. Federated also participates in a variety of outreach programs to the minority bar, including the Committee on Minorities of the Cincinnati Bar Association.
Given its exemplary diversity practices, it’s not surprising that Federated was named one of the 50 best companies for Latinas by LATINA Style magazine for the third consecutive year, placed on the Working Woman Honor Roll of Top 50 Companies for Executive Women, and recognized by Catalyst for including women on its board of directors.
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From the December 2002 issue of Diversity & The Bar®