Bloomberg Equality Summit
Measuring the Movement: Accountability in Action
March 22-23, 2022
By Bloomberg Live
The dual shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic and a profound reckoning on race sparked a global movement. Rallying calls for change quickly shifted to calls for racial and economic equity. And now, nearly two years later, greater calls for measurement and accountability.
The push to create a more equitable workplace and society at large is being driven by various stakeholders – each with their own list of priorities. Investors want intentionality, employees want empathy and accountability, consumers want change.
Leaders at the forefront of advancing equity and inclusion joined us to talk about where we are now and how we can move forward.
Click here to view the in-person morning session of Bloomberg Equality on March 22.
Click here to view the in-person afternoon session of Bloomberg Equality on March 22.
Click here to view the virtual sessions of Bloomberg Equality on March 23.
- Esther Aguilera, CEO, Latino Corporate Directors Association
- Roy L. Austin, Jr., Vice President, Civil Rights & Deputy General Counsel, Meta
- John Barnes, Former Liverpool and England Footballer, Author of “The Uncomfortable Truth About Racism”
- Sarah Bond, Corporate Vice President, Game Creator Experience and Ecosystem, Microsoft
- Keisha Lance Bottoms, Political Commentator & 60th Mayor of Atlanta
- Commissioner Sharon Bowen, Chair, New York Stock Exchange
- Krystal Joy Brown, Broadway, Television and Film Actress
- John Hope Bryant, Founder & CEO, Operation HOPE
- Nadia Calviño, First Vice President of Spain
- Natasha Cazenave, Executive Director, ESMA
- Bryan Terrell Clark, Broadway, Television and Film Actor & Producer
- Maria Colacurcio, CEO, Syndio
- Mary C. Daly, President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
- SoVonna Day-Goins, Former Global Head of Social Sustainability, Credit Suisse; Founder & CEO, Women X Meta
- Alex Kofi Donkor, Director, LGBT+ Rights Ghana
- Diana Filip, Deputy CEO, Junior Achievement Europe
- Jeff Gennette, Chairman & CEO, Macy’s, Inc
- Darrick Hamilton, Ph.D., Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy; Founding Director, Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy, The New School
- Jessica Heidt, Department Manager, Pixar Animation Studios
- Catherine Howarth, CEO, ShareAction
- Yie-Hsin Hung, CEO, New York Life Investment Management LLC
- Nicole LaPointe Jameson, CEO, Evil Geniuses
- Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chairman & CEO, Visa
- Emily Kos, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group
- Matt Krentz, Managing Director and Senior Partner, Boston Consulting Group
- Katja Lammert, Chief Administration Officer, MEAG
- Lynn Martin, President, NYSE Group; Chair, ICE Fixed Income & Data Services
- C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D., President & CEO, Institute for Women’s Policy Research
- Julie Moret, Global Head of Sustainable Investing and Stewardship, Northern Trust Asset Management
- George Mpanga, Poet
- Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament; Chair, Women and Equalities Select Committee
- Gabrielle Novacek, Managing Director & Partner, Boston Consulting Group
- Michael Novogratz, CEO, Galaxy Digital; Chairman, The Bail Project
- Celia Ouellette, Founder & CEO, Responsible Business Initiative for Justice
- David Oyelowo, Actor, Producer, and Director
- Gina Raimondo, 40th Secretary of Commerce Secretary
- Dame Lesley Regan, Chair, Wellbeing of Women
- Miriam Rivera, CEO, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Ulu Ventures
- David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, The Carlyle Group
- Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson, CEO & Founder, VC Include
- Jarvis Sam, Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion, Nike, Inc
- Fatima A. Shama, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Americas, Bloomberg LP
- Marcus Shaw, CEO, ALT Finance Corporation
- Tanya X. Short, Director, Kitfox Games
- KJ Sidberry, Principal, Forerunner Ventures
- Maria Sjödin, Acting Executive Director, OutRight Action International
- Charise Castro Smith, Writer, Producer, Co-director and Actor
- Marisa Sternstein, Associate General Counsel, Dentsu
- Anneka Treon; Head of the Competence Center, Van Lanschot Kempen
- Anette Trettebergstuen, Minister of Culture and Equality, Norway
- Luis Ubiñas, Former President, Ford Foundation
- Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri, Partner & Chief Human Resources Officer, TPG
- Jon Winkelried, Partner & CEO, TPG
- Anne Clarke Wolff, Founder, Independence Point Advisors
- Olivia Wong, Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion, John Swire & Sons (H.K.) Ltd.
- Lisa Abramowicz, Co-Host, Bloomberg Surveillance
- Shelly Banjo, New York Bureau Chief
- Sonali Basak, Financial Correspondent, Bloomberg
- Dina Bass, Technology Reporter & Seattle Bureau Chief, Bloomberg
- Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder, Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, 108th Mayor of New York City
- Shartia Brantley, Deputy New York Bureau Chief; Senior Editor, Bloomberg Live
- Lizzy Burden, U.K. Economy Reporter, Bloomberg
- Ruth David, Deputy London Bureau Chief, Bloomberg
- Mark Dawson, Senior Editor, Bloomberg Live
- James Ellis, Assistant Managing Editor, Bloomberg Businessweek
- John Fraher, Head of ESG News, Bloomberg
- Alisha Fernando, Head of Diversity & Inclusion (APAC), Bloomberg LP
- Scarlet Fu, Anchor, Bloomberg Quicktake
- Peter Grauer, Chairman, Bloomberg, LP
- M. Scott Havens, CEO, Bloomberg Media
- Jordyn Holman, Retail Reporter, Bloomberg
- Pamela Hutchinson Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Bloomberg
- Francine Lacqua, Editor-At-Large & Anchor, Bloomberg TV
- Jenny Leonard, White House Reporter, Bloomberg
- Carol Massar, Co-Host, Bloomberg Businessweek Television and Radio
- Michael McKee, Economics Editor, Bloomberg Television and Radio
- David Merritt, Senior Executive Editor
- Sasha Qadri, Senior Programming Director, Bloomberg Live
- Chris Rovzar, Editorial Director, Bloomberg Pursuits
- Rakshita Saluja, Executive Editor, Equality, Bloomberg
- Jacqueline Simmons, Business Head, Americas, Bloomberg
- Ben Steverman, Reporter, Bloomberg
- Kurt Wagner, Technology Reporter, Bloomberg
- Renita Young, Correspondent, Bloomberg Radio and Bloomberg Quicktake
- Jennifer Zabasajja, Anchor & Reporter, Bloomberg Quicktake
- Laura Zelenko, Senior Executive Editor, Bloomberg
Day 1 – In-Person
Syndio Breakout Briefing Session: The New Age of Pay Transparency
“A wholesale shift” in how we think about pay equity was predicted by Maria Colacurcio, CEO, Syndio. Trends driving accountability include worker disclosure and investor demand, joined by a growing number of cities and states passing legislation.
Public and private sectors working together are part of the solution for a gender pay gap that has closed by only 20 cents since 1972, said C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D., President & CEO, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, adding that there is a “need to democratize pay.”
“GenZ is really paying attention to these things,” said Marisa Sternstein, Associate General Counsel, Dentsu. Transparency is necessary if companies want to attract workers in today’s environment, But the downside, she said, is that accountability for pay decisions and policies can be difficult to explain, and lead to unrest.
Proposed law in California is not about pay, Colacurcio said. It’s about representation in the diversity space. “This is a full body scan, and if you have just one employee in California, it applies. There will be nowhere to hide. And it will go federal, because as California goes, so goes the nation.”
Boosting Representation on Broadway
Krystal Joy Brown, Broadway, Television and Film Actress and Bryan Terrell Clark, Broadway, Television and Film Actor & Producer spoke about the potential to lose some of the recently-gained ground with representation. As Broadway reopens, it is hard to predict the tenor of audiences. Clark said there needs to be authenticity; a move beyond doing shows like “Black Shakespeare.”It’s still an experiment.”
Both are working with filmmaker Ava DuVernay on projects that include scholarships, diversity both on and backstage, and pushing back against theater’s elitism with affordable tickets for students. But it was Brown’s comments about being a Black woman, despite her fame, and trying to be authentic, that brought applause from the in-house audience. “I always feel like I have to look perfect. If I look or sound a certain way, I’m considered angry. I realized I also look at myself differently. I have to be in the box and not appear to be difficult.”
Creating an Inclusive Path on Wall Street
Independence Point Advisors, also known as ‘Salomon Sisters,’ recently debuted as Wall Street’s only women-owned firms via a partnership with Lazard. Founder Anne Clarke Wolff, said she is excited about modernizing the industry, after 32 years of thinking she could change things from the inside.
David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, The Carlyle Group said that more than half their assets are managed by women, but acknowledged it was easier to recruit from banks at their genesis in Washington, D.C., as opposed to Wall Street. He needs to be much more realistic now, he said, suggesting that corporate decision-makers match the diversity of their customers, and software companies seat younger people on the boards. “We are still very much in a check-the-box space.”
Both spoke about women still taking much of the child care responsibility, and their careers paying the price. “The reality is that women still hide that they’re taking time off to do child-related things,” Wolff said.
Bloomberg New Voices Program Update
Laura Zelenko, Senior Executive Editor, Bloomberg and New Voices Founder talked about using the Bloomberg media platform to amplify the expert opinions of underrepresented executives across business and finance, and the current expansion of cohorts across the U.S. “We need to be proactive and intentional,” she said. Through the program, Bloomberg TV has tripled its representation of female guests since 2018, significantly increased the number of stories that quote or cite a female expert and expanded a database of women in finance to more than 7,000 names globally.
Venture Capital: Investing in Change
Female and other underrepresented founders continue to receive a small percentage of venture capital funding; a huge gap of only about 2% in 2021.
Miriam Rivera, CEO, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Ulu Ventures said, “It’s unclear where funding has gone versus the commitments.” A quarter of GenZ has Latino descendents. Success requires understanding the culture, to reach both customers and workers. Investing in Latino businesses has a potential $2 trillion impact on the economy.
KJ Sidberry, Principal, Forerunner Ventures, said tethering user experience with funding is a significant step, giving the example of a healthcare platform for people of color that offers mental health services, identified as a pressing need. “The identity of the American worker has changed. VC has not kept pace, and is trying to serve markets they don’t understand or represent.”
After the George Floyd murder, commitments were made, said Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson, CEO & Founder, VC Include, but there were no real strategies to actually deploy capital. “Now what? We need to figure out how to deploy capital in a responsible and holistic way.”
Remarks by Fatima A. Shama
Fatima A. Shama, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Americas, Bloomberg LP said businesses that are diverse on the C-level are 25% are likely to experience above average profitability. “Yet, just 8% of Fortune 500 companies are helmed by women.” Hispanics and Latinos are 18.4% of the population, but only 6% of management positions. They need to stop being “unicorns” in that space, Shama said. She spoke about the War for Talent disproportionately affecting minorities and, in Europe, the dismissal of a society.
In Conversation With Yie-Hsin Hung
The banking sector is one of the toughest sectors for a woman, and Yie-Hsin Hung, CEO, New York Life Investment Management LLC, said that is in part about who women are. They don’t often self-promote, over-scrutinize position criteria and don’t realize how important a sponsor is for that next opportunity. A child of immigrant parents, Hung said that during much of her 36 years in finance, she saw herself as being the one to adjust and adapt.
In Conversation With Roy L. Austin, Jr.
When it comes to connectivity, there’s no question social media wields massive influence. Roy L. Austin, Jr., Vice President, Civil Rights & Deputy General Counsel, Meta holds what is believed to be a unique position in a tech company, and came on board after a 2-year audit resulted in 117 recommendations for improvement. “This was one of them,” he said, adding, “we’re definitely building this plane as we’re flying it. Having someone who wakes up every day thinking about the risks is crucial.” Austin was a federal prosecutor and served on Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force, and talked about now, with the rebranded Facebook, notifying the LAPD that their unauthorized accounts will be removed. He announced Meta will do race measurement. He thought about their reach, some 3.5 billion monthly users. “I said, you know, if I can do something with civil rights at this scale, that could be incredibly important.” A team of 11 is researching voting, civic engagement, AI and products.
AltFinance and HBCUs
It was a lively conversation about boosting diverse representation in the alternative investment industry via Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), with John Hope Bryant, Founder & CEO, Operation HOPE and Marcus Shaw, CEO, ALT Finance Corporation.
They agreed most people head for their comfort zones, who they trust and who they know in their career. Shaw asked if there was anyone in the audience of about 200.who didn’t know someone in their office their first day in. Only one person raised their hand.
Bryant added that it’s about getting rid of the embedded system of who you know, and assessing the environment you’re in. “If you hang out with nine broke people, you’ll be the tenth.” He spoke about Operation HOPE not being a charity, but an investment in Black business. He quoted a Citibank report that estimated $16 trillion in GDP is missed because of discrimination against Black Americans..
In Conversation With Darrick Hamilton, Ph.D.
A “birth right to capital,” is how Darrick Hamilton, Ph.D., Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy; Founding Director, Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy, The New School sums up the idea behind Baby Bonds. He devised it about 12 years ago, and now, some states are taking up the movement to tackle the racial wealth gap. Newborns are given a small trust fund “to begin a lifetime of wealth building,” Hamilton explained. He added that it has to be progressively seeded to avoid enhancing inequality. Baby Bonds send resources to areas, not just people. He wants to eliminate “humble beginnings.” “The opposite of the assumptions occurs. By offering people resources, they are able, and willing, to work more.”
Remarks by M. Scott Havens, CEO, Bloomberg Media
Havens offered a State of Bloomberg and a call to action; “to continue to challenge ourselves on the global reckoning on race.” Bloomberg is using its massive reach to inform and empower people, through philanthropic efforts, like The Greenwood Initiative that benefits Black medical students and a media fellows program coming in May. On diversity and inclusion within Bloomberg, Havens said there has been some progress, but not enough.
Latino Representation on Corporate Boards and Beyond
“A sea of white,” is how Esther Aguilera, CEO, Latino Corporate Directors Association described those applying for board of director seats. Latinos are 2.3% against 20% of the population, and not without ample talent. Part of the solution is eliminating the excuse that companies can’t find talent. She cited a poll of board chairs who thought 30% of latinos are undocumented and half are laborers.
Luis Ubiñas, Former President, Ford Foundation and a veteran of numerous boards, said the problem is profound with many in boardrooms and C-suites having no understanding of the issues. “Decisions are made in the ecosystem devoid of Latino voices when there’s no one in the room who understands the culture. We need critical mass.”
ESG in Focus
The biggest change in ESG (environmental, social and governance) is that “customers care about it,” said Lynn Martin, President, NYSE Group; Chair, ICE Fixed Income & Data Services. “It’s evolved in a very good way.” She said companies want to do the right things, and meet investors’ demand for transparency. Many are already working on how to report greenhouse gas emissions. The challenge lies in standardizing that accountability.
Commissioner Sharon Bowen, Chair, New York Stock Exchange said no one is doing a perfect job of ESG compliance, and collaboration is key. “We can learn from each other.” She talked about social purpose to support specific companies and providing a database to eliminate excuses.
Tapping Underutilized Talent: The Justice-Impacted Workforce
Nearly one out of three U.S. adults – about 70 million – have a criminal record; a barrier to employment.. The “clean slate” bill can give people what they’re already entitled to; sealed criminal records, said Celia Ouellette, Founder & CEO, Responsible Business Initiative for Justice, adding a shocking statistic. “Five years after the sealing process, that person is less likely to offend than a person who has never committed a crime.” Yet, only 1% are actually getting it.
“In places where you do bail reform, cities are actually safer,” said Michael Novogratz, CEO, Galaxy Digital; Chairman, The Bail Project. “The obstacles for people coming out of jail are immense.” He spoke about hiring a falsely-accused man who sat on death row for 24 years, who has since passed the paralegal exam, and the talent wasted because of crimes committed in youth, mostly because of “growing up in a rough neighborhood.”
According to Ouellette, a software program that scans court records for cases that meet criteria is used in Utah. On the day it was initiated, about 400,000 records were sealed.
In Conversation With Alfred F. Kelly, Jr.
Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chairman & CEO, Visa spoke about moving employees out of Ukraine and Russia, with many relocating to places like Dubai, concerns about Ukraine and operating difficulty in the midst of sanctions, and bringing clothes and toys to refugees. He added that Putin understands how uniting this has been for countries.
On workplace, “We need to build culture within a company,” Kelly said, as Visa moves to a 50/50 flexible schedule. Employees will be required to be in the office on the same two days each week. “The pressure is on leaders to make those days count. People need to be saying, “I’m glad I went into the office’.”
On diversity and inclusion, he is concerned that the pandemic has reversed the course, and said it will be years before it’s clear if the right decisions were made.
In Conversation With Keisha Lance Bottoms
After leading her city through violence, economic turmoil and a pandemic, until her term ended in January, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Political Commentator & 60th Mayor of Atlanta is focused on voters, “massive” suppression laws in Georgia and keeping the message strong. “We have to keep reminding people it matters. I tell people to watch the [Ketanji Brown Jackson] confirmation hearings. Great things can happen.” Voters need reminders, but the messaging has to be diverse. Her mother, for instance, will pay attention to TV ads and mailers, while her college son “needs it to be on his phone.” Bottoms added that like her son, young people are not satisfied and may give up on politics, but need to understand that change takes more than one election.
In Conversation With Jeff Gennette
Macy’s is continuing to increase efforts toward D&I throughout the company and global supply chain, and that includes $5 billion pledged toward sustainable products by 2024, said Jeff Gennette, Chairman & CEO, Macy’s, Inc. Its Business Development Program has graduated 175 companies, so far. It has launched an accelerator to a “massive response,” and is partnering with secondhand clothing retailer ThredUP. “We are living by science-based products. Our private label brands, about 20% of our business, will all be natural fibers by 2030.”
Day 2 – Virtual
EU Women in Finance: Inspiring the Next Generation of Leaders in the Financial Sector
The low number of women in finance and STEM careers is an issue that concerns Nadia Calviño, First Vice President of Spain, because this is where the future jobs are. “I’m not sure why, but women need to network, they need to be where the important decisions are made. We cannot wait another 125 years for change.” She urged self-assurance and perseverance, and to keep speaking up until heard. Feminism is strong in Spain, Calviño said, but policies are needed, or need updating, including maternity leave, removing pension caps and investment in skills training to decrease the pay gap.
A panel discussion included candid stories and advice from Natasha Cazenave, Executive Director, ESMA, Anneka Treon; Head of the Competence Center, Van Lanschot Kempen, Katja Lammert, Chief Administration Officer, MEAG and Diana Filip, Deputy CEO, Junior Achievement Europe.
Illustrating the challenges women face, Treon recalled fainting in a roomful of men. It turned out she was pregnant, and while she called it “silly” in retrospect, it seemed devastating in the moment. Currently, “There’s so much disruption in the financial market. It’s a window of opportunity for women.”
Lammert said good communication is key for women, and she found a way to assert her voice while being polite, not pushy.
Working with Bloomberg, for more than 25 years, was a means to spreading information and open eyes, Filip said. “Bloomberg is an ambassador.”
Cazenave said the challenges for women are believing in themselves and finding a family-career balance. “We need to show others what is possible.”
In Conversation With U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo
“America’s strongest and competitive advantage in the world is its diversity,” said Gina Raimondo, 40th Secretary of Commerce Secretary. She blamed the post-pandemic labor shortage for “the brutal losses for women in the labor market, almost overnight” as schools and daycares closed. It’s a persistent problem, with half of the potential labor force impaired because of a lack of basics like affordable child care and universal pre-k, where “America lags the rest of the world.” Diversifying talent in the workforce is essential, and the best CEOs recognize this, she said. Raimondo spoke about the majority of Americans working in small businesses, which need to be supported by investors, not social programs, and of $65 billion being deployed to universal broadband, high-tech training and apprenticeships. “It’s a massive opportunity. We need to make sure the people who get these jobs look like America.”
Bloomberg Accountability Tracker Overview and Update
Bloomberg’s Accountability Tracker has kept tabs on corporate commitments to diversity and representation since the summer of 2020, following George Floyd’s murder, and has now collected enough data to rank companies. Rakshita Saluja, Executive Editor, Equality, Bloomberg, named names, like CVS, making good progress on diversity, while Coca-Cola, a typical frontrunner, has lost ground. The EEO-1 standardized reporting forms are challenged by some, including Warren Buffett and Elon Musk, the latter saying Tesla uses its own, sufficient reporting tools.
Measuring the Impact of ‘S’ in ESG
Using sustainability to push equality was discussed. Catherine Howarth, CEO, ShareAction, said that data sourcing by the European Commission “not only invites companies to respond, it factors in their impact on society. It’s double materiality.” In response to investor demand for transparency, companies still tend to tell only the good stories.
SoVonna Day-Goins, Former Global Head of Social Sustainability, Credit Suisse; Founder & CEO, Women X Meta said there needs to be better data sets and voluntary disclosures. “Companies should want to demonstrate their worth and how they live up to the S.” Day-Goins said we are already seeing what will motivate them with rebellion by employees. “The labor force is speaking with its feet.”
Julie Moret, Global Head of Sustainable Investing and Stewardship, Northern Trust Asset Management spoke of a coming together of certain industry bodies that “we think will be a game-changer,” amidst the shift of increased focus from the initial E, to S. “We need to get a sense of the culture and where these issues sit at the heart of a company.”
Boston Consulting Group Sponsor Spotlight: Reinventing Gender Diversity Programs for a Post-Pandemic World
Gabrielle Novacek, Managing Director & Partner, Boston Consulting Group said the pandemic
put a spotlight on women having to choose whether or not to come to work. ”If there ever was a time to consider how employees experience the workplace and make decisions in their careers, that time is now.” She added that many companies seek to solve for the practical and forget the psychological.
Talking Openly About Menopause in the Workplace
Life shifts, from pregnancy to menopause and what women need in the workplace are finally finding open discussion there, and that includes men, who just never knew.
Dame Lesley Regan, Chair, Wellbeing of Women offered an eye-opening fact; we now have women who will live more years in menopause than they did in child-bearing years. Workplaces need to change. “We can predict what women will need. It’s not rocket science.” She spoke about incentivizing, including the development of a menopause workplace pledge (she challenged Bloomberg to sign). “Why would an employer let go of their most experienced workers because no one will talk about what they need? I firmly believe that when you get it right for women, everyone benefits.”
Older women are role models and an inspiration for those coming into the workplace, said Caroline Nokes, Member of Parliament; Chair, Women and Equalities Select Committee. She called for governments to find mechanisms for women’s options for a break later in life, just as they do with maternity leave and spoke to $150 billion a year in productivity loss when needs are not accommodated.
A Global Lens on the Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights
Persecution of the LGBT community persists in regions around the world. Alex Kofi Donkor, Director, LGBT+ Rights Ghana and Maria Sjödin, Acting Executive Director, OutRight Action International are on the frontlines. Sjödin spoke about issues faced by Ukrainian refugees, and progress in governments targeting human rights advocacy.
Donkor’s perspective is far less optimistic. In Ghana, politicians “weaponize LCBTQ issues to make people believe they are responsible for everything bad that happens to them.” Businesses are not taking a strong stance with policies because the community is not pushing for it.
Solutions Session: Culture as Strategy Presented by TPG
Culture as strategy, as a big part of an IPO, is a differentiator for potential shareholders looking for a good investment over time, said Jon Winkelried, Partner & CEO, TPG. They describe their culture as producer-manager, with everybody wearing multiple hats. “That idea is very important, as is keeping silo walls down, what they call “shared teams and shared themes.”
On maintaining this as part of the process, Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri, Partner & Chief Human Resources Officer, TPG said consistent communication is required, as well as careful decision-making, such as considering how an employee up for partner treats others. One of the reasons people want to work at TPG, she said, “is that we are very vocal about what we stand for.”
The Government’s Role in Fostering Equality
Norway is considered one of the world’s most gender-equal countries and has two-decade-old laws requiring greater representation of women on corporate boards. Anette Trettebergstuen, Minister of Culture and Equality, Norway spoke about sanctions against professional Russian athletes as an objection to government oversight, and the importance of the arts for equality, as that industry puts itself on the front line of progress, and culture versus government initiatives. On setting a quota for business to comply with, she said it went from controversial to accepted and effective in just two years. There is still a gender pay gap, and a new report, Trettebergstuen said, shows executive roles are still predominantly male. “It’s not due to a lack of ambition, education or talent.” It’s an issue of women caring for families and a family/work life balance that employers need to focus more on.
In Conversation With Mary C. Daly
“You can’t serve America if you don’t hear from every American,” said Mary C. Daly, President & CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Likewise, the reserve bank needs to continue to push for equality within its walls. Daly, openly gay and from humble beginnings, hoilds herself up as an example of how anyone can find their way to success. She credits her female mentors, and not leaving anything to chance.
While she doesn’t expect the U.S. to fall into a major recession she cautioned that economies around the world will factor in, and the pandemic is not behind us, particularly in China, where it continues to disrupt the supply chain. On the potential for a global recession without Russian oil, it’s too early to call. The approach is to pay close attention to the data and respond quickly with small adjustments, with the goal of a soft landing out of an unstable economy.
Changing Corporate Culture
D&I strategies don’t work when no one at the top – a corporate champion – is leading and believing in them, said Olivia Wong, Group Head of Diversity & Inclusion, John Swire & Sons (H.K.) Ltd. They need to constantly push and remind everyone in the organization. On challenges for global companies, Wong said policies need to be consistent, but geography has to be respected. “We have conversations with each of our different company’s D&I committees and ask, ‘What does it actually mean for you?’”
Jarvis Sam, Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion, Nike, Inc. talked about playing a role in grassroots efforts, a framework that’s top down and bottom up and, critically important, including people managers. “Corporate culture is only as successful as the experience that’s created from it. How we drive deeper connectivity and continuity, middle out, is even more important to aligning our goals.”
Talking Race and Class
John Barnes, Former Liverpool and England Footballer, Author of “The Uncomfortable Truth About Racism” is now one of the most prominent British voices for combating discrimination both on and off the field. Were he writing his new book today, it would include the war in Ukraine’s refugee crisis, he said. Barnes said the book is not just about race, but the unconscious bias we all have, about gender, religion, sexuality and morals, “because this is the way we are conditioned to think and conditioned to feel. We need to deconstruct everything we have learned for the past 200 or 300 years.”
Diversifying the Video Gaming Industry
The gaming space, at the nexus of tech, entertainment and sports, is one with significant opportunity, yet D&I statistics are extremely low.
Sarah Bond, Corporate Vice President, Game Creator Experience and Ecosystem, Microsoft said she knew going in about the lack of diversity, but saw it as a chance for change. She spoke about an inspiring five years, including ID@XBox that extends game-writing opportunities to everyone. “Many of the most diverse and inclusive games on the platform came through that program.”
Tanya X. Short, Director, Kitfox Games said they published two of the democratized XBox games. She spoke about using employee resource groups to help people move around successfully in the industry.
Only a few years ago, Evil Geniuses was underfunded and not well-infrastructured, said Nicole LaPointe Jameson, CEO. It drew on players and coaches from the past to be its leadership. “We really had to tackle from both ends. How do you get diverse talent from the top, who historically don’t come from the gaming space?” Only 60 days ago, she completed filling leadership roles, with more than half female and half people of color.
Amplifying Inclusion in Animation
Charise Castro Smith, Writer, Producer, Co-director and Actor believes things are progressing for women in animation, although slower than she’d like.Jessica Heidt, Department Manager, Pixar Animation Studios noted the time it takes to do animation factors in. What’s about to come out are projects that began sound 2016. Change will be evident, but not yet to a great degree.
On creating content for a more inclusive world, Smith constantly asks herself if the stories are telling a different kind of truth; if she’s “decolonizing” her thinking. Culturally-specific stories are not just gratifying, “they are also good business.”
Heidt encountered defensiveness at first, but said inclusion is now such a wonderful part of the conversation, on all levels and in all projects. “Turning Red,” set for an upcoming release, was produced by Pixar’s first all-female, creative leadership team.
In Conversation With David Oyelowo
“Good intentions that were idemonstrated after George Floyd’s murder have indisputably had an affect,” said David Oyelowo, Actor, Producer, and Director Art and Equality, in part because of the fear, insecurity and fewer distractions dealt by the pandemic. But he is seeing a waning in the efficacy of those intentions as life gets back to normal. Leadership and the pipeline are still a huge problem. Oyelowo believes “streaming is the best thing that has happened to entertainment because, “it democratizes what the audience get to watch,” instead of white men greenlighting a certain kind of narrative; “curating the world’s view on the world.”
Art and Equality
Peabody award-winning podcaster, poet and rapper, George Mpanga, turned from politics to art to try to change the world, and is working on a PhD in economics. He moved away from politics because it remains privileged. “I decided I could better influence people if I spoke clearly and uncompromisingly in a language that was familiar to them.” His podcast combines formal journalism with the stories journalism often misses, Mpanga said, which brings young people, in particular, who are used to social media, into the conversation earlier.
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