FARAH PANDITH: Well, good morning to everyone!
>> Good morning.
FARAH PANDITH: My name is Farah Pandith and I am the Special Representative to Muslim Communities here at the Department of State and I would like to warmly welcome you. We are honored to host more than 150 of American's top diversity thought leaders here today. Thank you very much for coming so early and for making your way here from all parts of our country. I would also like to start by recognizing our partners and informal steering committee: Laura Hertzog, raise your hand. Ted Childs, my friend. Nice to see you. And Leslie Traub. Thank you, Leslie. I would also like to thank the corporations who have provided support for this event. You are represented here today and I really do appreciate it. We all do. Thank you. The incredible day ahead would not have been possible without you. The timing of this event could not be better. As you know, the President has called on the whole of government including the foreign affairs community to make a greater impact in the areas of diversity and inclusion. Last August, he put out an executive order and established a coordinated government- wide initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in the federal workforce. Understanding the importance of diversity is not only an American value that we cherish here at home, but one that is important to us within the international community. Minorities matter. Representational governments matter.
Our annual human rights report that covers over 150 countries spells out the progress of minority rights and diverse environments across the globe. Diverse workforces create more productive, innovative, and prosperous organizations that in turn positively impacts societies and bottom lines.
Now, a few years ago, Catalysts -- who's a representative of Catalysts who's here today? Two of you. Thank you so much -- conducted a study that showed that companies who have more female board members performed better than their male-dominated counterparts. On average these companies outperform by 53% on return on equity. By 42% on return on sales. And by 66% on return on invested capital. Now, in 2006 the National Institute for Economic Review published a study that found that roughly 17% of GDP growth in the U.K. was attributable to migrants. This is not just a feel-good issue. Who you hire makes a difference. Now in my own work as I engage with Muslim communities around the world, I have seen the impact of this firsthand. If a young person can't find a job because they wear a head scarf or their name is funny or they don't have the same color skin, it shapes the way they think about themselves and how they think about their contribution to the world and to their future. Further, if companies or governments do not do more to invest in the next generation and focus on the demographics, we will raise a generation of young people who are marginalized and thought of as "the other." How we all think about and promote diversity matters to my bottom line too. It matters for building cohesive societies. It matters for growing prosperous communities. And it matters for national security.
This is an issue we all have a stake in. This is why my colleagues and I have often turned to the private sector and to NGOs for support. We can work together like I did with the U.S. Departments Chambers of Commerce in Europe to share best practices, look for new ways to increase diverse hiring and career advancement and to build coalitions.
Now in regions where minorities face tough challenges, we can share our collective know-how to move societies and economies forward. Our goal as the U.S. government is to promote equal employment opportunity, diversity, and inclusion both at home and abroad. To accomplish this, we must look within our regs as well as collaborate and partner with people and groups outside of government. Working together we can have the greatest impact. This event is a call to action. It is the first time we have ever pulled together a group like this to work on these important issues together. Thank you very much for being here.
The importance of increasing diversity touches all individuals, corporations and governments and every corner of the world. So today we will put our minds together here at the nexus of internal diversity policies and external advocacy for diversity and inclusion. I am counting on each of you to use this opportunity to build new connections, to forge new partnerships and to come up with innovative and timely recommendations. It's a worthy challenge here before you, but it is one that we all must embark on together. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Department of State and to wish you well in the work you're going to do today. But most importantly, I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens after. So with that in mind, may I ask you to join me in welcoming Senator Ben Cardin who really does not need any introduction.
FARAH PANDITH: Senator Cardin has served this country and the State of Maryland for over 40 years and has been the champion for legislation and equality in the workplace. Whether it is his most recent support of equal pay for women, pressuring governments abroad to foster a climate of mutual tolerance and mutual respect, he has been a tireless advocate for diversity at home and abroad. Senator Cardin...
SENATOR CARDIN: Thank you very much. Let me thank you for your extraordinary leadership for bringing us all together. It really is a pleasure for me to be here with my colleagues to talk about diversity and to thank you all for participating today. It was interesting, the stock market went up, the largest ever this year yesterday. There's been a lot of speculation as to why that occurred. What's happening in our economy...and I think it was clearly the fact that this conference was taking place.
SENATOR CARDIN: Because we all know that diversity is our strength in America. It's what has made this nation the great nation that it is. We embrace diversity in America and it has been the major reason I believe why America's strength over the years has grown, is because of diversity. I live in the state of Maryland and I'm proud to represent the people of Maryland in the United States senate. We now have a minority population that is close to 40%. We do embrace diversity in Maryland.
Last night I was at the Maryland Chamber of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. Montgomery County, which is one of the most diverse counties in America, one of the wealthiest counties in America, one of the most desirable places to live and work in America because of the manner in which it has embraced diversity. I think it speaks well to what this nation is about, what we stand for, and the reason why we have been able to be so influential and so economically successful. It does give us a pool of talent to help us achieve our international goals. Our international goals are to achieve national security, to be able to deal with our economic needs, all of which involves our goals for international diplomacy. And the use of diversity helps us to be able to achieve that.
I chair the Subcommittee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on International Development Assistance and I'm interested to make sure that the manner in which we use our budget is the most effective way, so that the taxpayers of this country get the best return for the investments that we make in international development assistance. We are now spending billions of dollars in Afghanistan on development assistance and I can tell you the effectiveness of those programs in large measure depends upon us having in our workforce in Afghanistan people that are knowledgeable, can speak the language, and understand the needs of the Afghan people. We are very interested in promoting democracy around the world, promoting democracy in Africa. It's important that we have in our workforce people who understand the culture of Africa, know the history and can help us in promoting the type of policies where we will get the best return for our dollars. I could go on and on and on about the different needs that we have within the State Department.
We need to develop stable governments that are economically strong and that respect human rights. Another hat that I wear is that I 'm the Senate Chair of the U.S. Helsinki Commission in Europe. I think many of you are familiar with the work of the OSCE, but the U.S. Helsinki Commission has focused its efforts on promoting human rights, on promoting respect for minority rights. We have worked from the Balkans to Western Europe on inclusion of minorities and we have been effective in dealing with that. We have worked with the Roma population who are basically homeless without having a nation. It's been the U.S. leadership that's promoted the rights of minorities in Europe and throughout the world.
We now have special representatives in the OSCE that deal with tolerance agenda. You heard Farah mention gender equity issues. That's one of our top priorities. It is very true, the way a nation treats its women will very much determine how well that nation will do.
SENATOR CARDIN: Women are better investors.
SENATOR CARDIN: They invest in our children, they invest in health, they invest in food, they invest in education, and we -- gender equity is critically important for nations to succeed. It's critically important for America and we're not there yet, by the way, in the United States and I applaud my colleague, Senator Mikulski for the paycheck fairness and we continue that battle.
SENATOR CARDIN: So that's our agenda internationally and these are issues that we are really trying to promote. But it starts with our own organizations here in America. If we're going to be effective internationally, if we're going to be able to achieve our national security objectives, we need to embrace diversity at all levels here in the United States. So let me just share with you some of the achievements that we have started here in America. It starts with the United States Senate. In 2008, we started a Senate democratic diversity coordinator initiative. There is now a person in the Senate that helps the democratic senators look at our offices and say have you really embraced diversity? Have you really placed in the key positions in your senate office true representation of your state and this nation? And we are doing better. Not enough yet. We are doing better in embracing diversity. President Obama in his 2011 executive order embraced diversity in our federal workforce. It's making a difference in what is going on. And the United States military, I helped author a provision in 2009 for the Military Leadership Diversity Commission and it was a key finding of that commission which said top military leaders are representative neither of the population they serve nor the forces they lead. That was the report just recently. We have a long way to go in our military. We haven't gotten there yet. But we understand what we need to do. So we're now developing a strategy in order to achieve those objectives.
And the State Department, Secretary of State Clinton said, "The key to promoting diversity at the State Department is leadership." Leadership. This is not difficult. You need people who understand and want to get it done. If you want to get it done, you'll get it done and I applaud USAID for the Donald N. Payne fellowships. That's a good start. But we still have a long way to go and that's why I'm so excited about this conference today. We have in this room people who are leaders, and we need to develop the right strategies to achieve a truly diversified workforce in our own country so that we can be effective in carrying out the mission for the people of America and continue to lead the world in the right progress for a more stable and peaceful world. I think you're taking a giant step today in this conference and I really do look forward to the work that you come up with.
FARAH PANDITH: I'm very pleased to introduce Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, Director of General of Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources at the Department of State. Though quite new to her position, Director General has already brought the Department of State to a new level in working on diversity. She is working hard to ensure that the State Department will accurately reflect the face of America and strengthen our advocacy and missions abroad. Ambassador...
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I want to welcome you to the Department. I'm very, very pleased to be here and to be part of the conference opening this morning. I want to welcome Senator Cardin for joining us today and I very, very much appreciate the remarks that you gave. I'm really pleased to see the turnout that we have this morning for the diversity inclusion and foreign policy event. I commend the in-house organizers and the outside partners of this event for bringing it into the spotlight, the key role that diversity inclusion plays in our foreign policy agenda. The audience knows very well -- I mean, we're preaching to the choir here -- that our strength is in our diversity. The question to address today is how we can work together to share diversity and inclusion best practices at the global level. As the Director General of the U.S. Foreign Service and the Director of Human Resources, one of my top priorities is recruiting, hiring and retaining a talented workforce that truly reflects the face and diversity of the United States of America and we cannot as the foreign policy leader in the world, we cannot lecture people about human rights in their country and fairness to others in their country if we do not provide fairness and inclusion in our own country.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Our diplomats around the globe can change for the better the way our nation is perceived. Their work is critical and it is paramount that our nation reflects our rich diversity. As the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, I left Liberia about three months ago, I worked -- and I was the first woman ever to serve as ambassador in Liberia and I worked with the first woman ever to be elected a president in Africa, and with a female U.N. special representative, and we were very successful, the three of us. And sometimes I asked myself why we worked so well together and why we were able to accomplish so much and I really do believe it was because we understood each other as women. We had a different approach to dealing with a post-conflict country than our male colleagues and we were able to continue to move Liberia to the next level. I'm not saying our male colleagues could not have done the same. But I know that we had a different approach and it worked for the people of Liberia. So we have to ensure as we post our people overseas that we take into account what the needs are in terms of diversity and particularly in terms of gender. We need to ensure that we have the skills, innovation, diversity, and commitment to inclusion that is necessary to advance the nation's interest. In Liberia, I think we did that and I believe that we were more effective because we were women.
That is why the Department has posted 16 senior career Foreign Service officers around the United States, our diplomats in residence. They're working in 16 colleges and universities, but they have a much broader regional responsibility. These DIRs aggressively recruit talented men and women from underrepresented groups and schools in their geographic regions, and with aggressive recruitment outreach by the DIRs and our Washington recruiters including through social media, the State Department has made a great deal of progress. But we still have a lot more to do. The department ranked number 2 on the 19th annual top 20 government agencies, and Equal Opportunity Magazine listed it as a top employer in its directory. But, again, I don't want to rest on our laurels. We have to continue to do the work that we need so that we can improve our diversity numbers in the department.
I was surprised when I arrived here two months ago to learn that the African American numbers in the Department of State had gone down since I came into the service 30 years ago. We can't afford to lose ground. I was shocked at how low the Hispanic numbers are in the Department of State. We have to work hard to improve those numbers and we can't accept any excuses for why we're not doing that work. I need your partnership and the partnership of others and your support as we move forward on these goals. During my congressional hearing in April, I was challenged to do a better job of recruiting a better workforce, a diverse workforce at the Department of State. Senator Menendez was the person who gave me my hearing and I accepted that challenge from Senator Menendez because I believe in it and the Secretary believes in it and the department's leadership believes in it but we can't do it by ourselves. We need a lot of help and you are having your conference here and the results of your conference will help us in that process.
I look forward to hearing your ideas for addressing our nation's diversity and inclusion goals and also in using the ideas that you come up with today to help me improve the department's outreach and diversity. And I want to thank all of you for being here today, for coming out early this morning and, again, I won't be with you the entire day, but I will look forward to hearing the results of your conference. Thank you very much.
FARAH PANDITH: Thank you, Madam Ambassador. I would like to introduce Dr. Cassandra Caldwell, the CEO and founder of the International Society of Diversity Inclusion Professionals. She's not only a big supporter of this event and I want to thank you so much for that, but her work is absolutely remarkable. In just one year, she has built a professional association to bring together diversity professionals from countries around the world. Please welcome Dr. Caldwell.
CASSANDRA CALDWELL: Thank you very much for that introduction. You actually said half of what I was going to say, so -- I'm joking. I am so, so happy to see many of you in this room. Some of you I'm meeting for the first time. We have communicated electronically. It's just like a family reunion. So this event was the brain child of Lora Berg who is also one of our members and I'll never forget last year when Lora attended our advisory meeting in Alexandria and we were throwing around ideas of ways to help professionals think on a global and higher level and as a result of that conversation is all of you sitting in this room today. So I want to give Lora a big round of applause.
CASSANDRA CALDWELL: Of course I want to welcome you here, but as you are listening this morning and learning about all of the federal initiatives around diversity and inclusion, we heard two stellar examples just a few moments ago and as you're working in your working sessions this afternoon, I challenge all of you to make sure that this particular wisdom session is just the beginning of our work. There is still much work to do. Senator Cardin alluded to and there are a lot of opportunities for everyone in this room to continue this work, such as developing a curriculum around diversity, inclusion and foreign policy. And I challenge all of you to continue to stay involved and stay tuned for additional innovative opportunities such as this to come from the International Society of Diversity and Inclusion Professionals. So welcome, welcome. And I look forward to shaking everyone's hand in this room before you leave today.
FARAH PANDITH: Thank you very much, Dr. Caldwell. Finally I would like to welcome Dr. Shirley Davis, Vice President of Global Diversity and Inclusion and Workplace Flexibility at the Society for Human Resource Management.
She represents the largest human resource professional association in the United States and has pioneered powerful diversity leadership training programs. This is the second time she is joining us here at the Department of State to help launch path-breaking initiatives and I really appreciate it and I look forward to hearing your comments. So welcome.
SHIRLEY DAVIS: Great. [Applause]
SHIRLEY DAVIS: Good morning. It is indeed a pleasure to be here among my distinguished colleagues and many of my friends. It's really great to see many of you here whom I've worked with and SHRM has worked with over the years and we together have done some phenomenal things. The Society for Human Resource Management is not only the U.S.'s largest association, but the world’s with more than 265,000 members in over 140 countries. So we are certainly representative around the world but we work with many of you, as Farah mentioned, it's not my first time, SHRM’s first time working with the department, we have worked with many of you to help us put together a really aggressive agenda for advancing the field of diversity and inclusion and I am proud to say that we have done that. Not only have we put together I think cutting edge and best-in-class corporations, professional development, resources and tools, but we are now on the cutting edge of really changing the game in the diversity and inclusion space.
Many of you in here are part of a 200-person panel of those who are helping us through the American National Standards Institute to put together the first ever diversity and inclusion standards that will be approved by ANSI and ultimately will be approved by the International Standards Organization, ISO, and so for the last 18 months we have been working tediously and many of you in this room has been working on that task force and I want to give a real quick shout out to the task force leader along with Terry Domingas, they together have been leading this task force for the last 18 months or so and we are pleased to say that they have made some really, really solid progress and by end of the year this year, we are pleased to announce that we will be introducing the first ever diversity and inclusion standards.
And I will also be remiss if I did not acknowledge the other leaders who are in the room too, Mary-Frances Winters is leading one group, Tiane is here, Leslie and we also have Kevin Carter as well as Glenn Winfree who could not join us but has been doing some exciting work. So it's these kinds of settings, we are thrilled to be a partner of the State Department again on an event like this where we could continue together thought leadership because it was a couple of years ago when we brought together 100 thought leaders for the same kind of purpose, how do we change the game, how do we really professionalize and standardize the field and bring together credibility and establish a really solid value proposition for how important this work is in the 21st century. So thank you again for being here. Thank you for all of the work that you're doing in this field. Thank you for helping us really make a difference and leave a legacy.
FARAH PANDITH: Thank you very, very much, Dr. Davis and thank you to our opening panel for your insights and long-standing commitments to diversify and inclusion. Now, you heard them speak about what they're doing and the importance and I want to bring it back to you because this is actually your day. We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts on how we can do things better; you have understood why it's important from a policy point of view. You certainly understand the impact that your companies and your work have on our work overseas and you said it so beautifully, how can we go around the world talking about human rights if we in our country don't do it better. So thank you all for your wonderful words. One of the panelists talked about social media as being one of the tools to get information out. So I would be remiss if I didn't give you the hash tags which I know this is probably in your binders, but I'm going to say them to you because for those of you who are tweeting, please tweet out what these wonderful people are saying and what you think and what you're doing. Tell your corporations to put out more information about the importance of what's going on today. This can't just happen here in a vacuum. So here are two hash tags for you. The first is hash tag DIUSFP12. Actually, I only have one. Sorry. I saw two things written down. That's only one, good.
Okay. With that, let me thank you again for your time and please join me in welcoming my friend and colleague, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Cheryl Benton. She's going to come to the podium and introduce the keynote speaker. Cheryl?
CHERYL BENTON: Good morning, everyone. First of all, I would be remiss in not acknowledging the great leadership of Farah Pandith. This is her brainchild. She has worked tirelessly.
CHERYL BENTON: I would now like to present to you Dr. Ernest J. Wilson, III. He is the Walter H. Annenberg Chair in Communication and Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. His experience is at the intersection of communication and public policy. He has served as a consultant at international agencies like the World Bank and the United Nations. He has worked in government at the White House and National Security Council, and the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. He has led research centers at premiere institutions of higher education and held positions in media companies and other corporations. He is the author of the book, "Diversity and U.S. Foreign Policy: A Reader" and has a long-standing interest and deep expertise in advising at the nexus of our foreign affairs agencies internal diversity policies, and advocacy for diversity and inclusion, around the globe. Please welcome Dr. Wilson.
ERNEST WILSON: Thank you very much for that very kind introduction, Deputy Assistant Secretary Benton. And I want to thank you for convening this very important session. I had the privilege yesterday of doing something I had never done before in this building and I'm fairly familiar with it, having been back and forth.
There is something upstairs called the Ralph Bunche Library. It is a very cool room. There is a special section of the room that has older, traditional volumes. What struck me is when you walk into the library, very impressive library upstairs, there is Thomas Jefferson here and there is Ralph Bunche right next to him. Therein lies the tale. It is a tale of tremendous energy and commitment. Two people who had different views on some issues, clearly. And I kind of think because the portraits were right next to each other, I think they were looking at one another and winking. It really, I think, symbolizes the talent. We either have enough talent or we go out of business. We either have enough talent or we lose our audience, our constituencies and that is going to be one of the main themes of my talk today.
So let me congratulate the organizers of the strategy session. And I'm delighted it is called a strategy session and not a conference because that suggests actions and new ways of thinking. I want to congratulate you for bringing together thoughtful and engaged people from the private sector, the nonprofit sector and the public sector to have an important dialogue about a critical issue. In today's globalizing world more so than ever before, what you experience in the private sector does materially affect the foreign policy of the United States.
Think of what Google did in China, for example, just as one example. And what the United States government does materially affects your ability in the private sector to develop new markets for products and services, the way in which you interact with the host government and a variety of other things. Again, I want to congratulate the organizers for not only having the – for introducing the opportunity to have the private sector, the nonprofit and the public sector talk to each other and share ideas. And I know that will be happening a lot in today's session.
So I would like to do four things today, if I may. One is to build on what has already been said before about the fact that diversity is not a nice thing -- well, it is a nice thing to do, but it is not just a nice thing to do; it is mission critical. It is mission critical in the private sector for reasons that we talked about and I will say a bit more. It is also mission critical for the Defense Department, for the Central Intelligence Agency, for the State Department, for USAID, for the Peace Corps, for the Commerce Department, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
If we win this effort to be inclusive, we win domestically and internationally; and if we don't, we fail domestically and internationally. I want to offer to you a way of thinking analytically about the changes that are taking place internationally. I want to offer an idea that is double diversity, diversity out there but also diversity inside.
On the more active side I am going to suggest a way of addressing the issues in policy and regulatory issues and then what I call "cultural competence," which I think is an interesting thing I want to share with you.
I will make a few specific suggestions and I will end with two provocative questions and I will save those two to the end and then open it up to questions. The point I want to make on this screen is, this is no longer ‘a nice thing’ to do. I think everyone in this room has lived through an evolution where these kinds of issues were first called Affirmative Action, Affirmative Action, which carries a certain weight and a certain implicit set of values. It has been called diversity; it has been called inclusion. Whatever we call it, it has remained with the United States and with public policy and private sector strategy and we will continue to do so and I think our challenge today is to make it better. Whatever we call it, the thing is, is to make sure we act on it. And to jump a little bit to my punch line, what I'm going to suggest to you today is diversity means not only bringing formerly excluded or non-included individuals to our institutions, whether it is the Annenberg School for Communication or whether it is a company or a federal agency, but in bringing in new kinds of people, as was suggested by the special representative, when you bring new kinds of people in an organization, what happens? The organization begins to change. And as someone who lived out on the left hand coast -- although I'm a native of Washington, D.C., born in Freeman's Hospital. One of the advantages of living in California, is that it is an odd state. It is very forward looking, LA particularly so. What one discovers there is the notion of innovation. And the theme there is, "We either innovate or we die. We innovate or we go out of business." The topic of today's conversation is also relevant to that. This is a part of organizational innovation and that is a theme that I want to come back to.
As the Deputy Assistant Secretary was kind of enough to say, I've worked in the private sector, the public sector, the World Bank. Some people call it a breadth of experience and some people say it is simple attention deficit disorder and I get bored easily. But it has been very insightful to work inside the building, to work in the White House and to work in community organizations. But I want to share with you two particularly impactful experiences that stand up for me as especially relevant to today's discussion. One, when I was teaching at University of Maryland, in Senator Harden's district, I served as consultant to the 16 agencies, underscoring 16, in the intelligence community. I was a co-principle investigator of a report on the recruitment, retention, training and promotion on intelligence analysts across the so-called community. And I say "so-called" because they do have issues communicating with one another, but this was done in the post 09/11 world. And seeing them wrestle with the issues of diversity, from the CIA to NIC, to other agencies, brought home to me the imperative of diversity as a national security issue. Because if you do not have diversity inside of an agency, like the community intelligence agency, then you run the risk of having bad analysis. If you have insufficient diversity you have insufficient policy making and the consequence of that is what? Not to put it too bluntly, but you can get blown up. That is why I say it is a nice thing -- of course it is a nice thing to do, but it is a national security thing as well.
The second very important experience in my recent life has been as Dean of the Annenberg School traveling around the country talking to CEOs and COOs of the private sector. And I have been fortunate to meet with Fortune 50 companies especially in media, entertainment and communication, but not exclusively there. And from these experiences I learned two things: First of all, that recruiting successful talent and embedding them in an innovative, generative organizational structure trumps everything else. It trumps the business plan, it trumps the strategy. If you don't have good talent and if you don't have a culture that supports good talent, then other things are not possible.
I was up at Apple headquarters, talking about strategy, this and that. He said, "Dean Wilson, listen to me," he said, talent and culture eat strategy every day for lunch." So we can have a strategy but, as the Senator has said and others have said, if the talent is not there and the culture is not there, we don't get to good strategy. The second point I'm so impressed with is talent, talent, talent. Jon Iwata, who is the chief communication officer for IBM, visited us recently in California. And I said, "What is your biggest problem?" He said, "I go to bed deathly afraid that I won't have enough talent to develop new markets for services and goods." I was in New York three days and just got back yesterday, same thing. Twenty-five CEOs around the table, large, medium and small. "What is your biggest problem, money or global markets?" And they said it is, "Talent, talent, talent." The challenge there is the nature of the labor pools is changing globally as well as domestically. Let me do this, since I'm a professor I'm going to do a test. It is to repeat verbatim -- no.
[Chorus of Laughter]
ERNEST WILSON: So please raise your hand if you believe that you don't have enough talent in your organization. So raise it if you think talent is a huge problem. Okay. Thank you, very much. You are not alone, as they say. The Harvard Business School, the HBR, Harvard Business Review reported recently only 15 percent of executives in North America and Asia believe they have sufficient talent pipelines to be successful and a majority of the CEOs from another survey found that that is beginning to effect their ability to do business. Again, not just a good thing to do. It is an imperative thing to do. In the private sector, if you don't do that, you lose market share, you lose profitability. In the public sector you don't get to provide the goods and services that are so hugely important that the State Department provides, the Treasury Department provides, et cetera. So if that is the case, then, we have got to figure out a way to make better our organizations and here I say, "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa." I'm a dean of a school in an industry, media and entertainment, that is going through the most turbulent period of change probably in its history.
My challenge is to recruit the very best talent I can find from around the world and train my students, talented people, so they can go and work for your companies and intern and work hopefully in the State Department. Maybe we will talk about that after this. So I feel your pain. It is a real challenge for all of us. But, as I tell my colleagues, we either innovate or we go out of business; we either innovate or no one will come to our school. We become irrelevant for our country. I'm going to move quickly forward and talk about double diversity. This is very straightforward. But it represents a challenge, I think, for everyone in this room and it goes something like this: Diversity is increasing in the United States, as we know. California is now a majority/minority state. This is not hypothetical, this is not something we are looking forward to in the future. This is happening every day in Los Angeles. We have the second largest population for 16 countries around the world outside of their capital cities, in other words, there are more Persians in LA than there are in any other city than Tehran. So domestic diversity is taking place. That represents a challenge to everybody in this room. How do we reach those markets, how do we recruit from those populations. At the same time this is happening here at home, what is happening internationally? The world is becoming more diverse in two ways.
Now, by "diverse" I want to talk about effective power diversity, because the world has always been diverse. The difference today is that the folks who are diverse have a lot more power than they used to yesterday, including things like atomic bombs, which will get our attention appropriately.
So the point I want to make is that paying attention to diversity internationally and having people who are competent in doing that is mission critical. And I think the challenge for us is to figure out is: how do those two things fit together, domestic diversity, on the one hand, and international diversity on the other.
Now, it is possible to make an argument, I think, appropriately, about a kind of cultural competence, which I will say more about in just a moment. If you are culturally sensitive, empathetic, understanding as a personality skill set, what I call SAKE, not just the drink, but that helps too, skills, attitude, knowledge and experience. If you have the skills, knowledge and experience, attitude about inclusion at home, it may be the case, arguably, that that is transferable internationally.
I believed that firmly 10 years ago, now I'm a little more skeptical because I believe it has to be worked at. It is not an automatic translation. From the private sector -- I talked already a bit about this. The private sector is looking for people with the following kind of skills I put up here. Many of you know this already. I will not labor through that. Mission critical, as suggested to you, for the national security and foreign policy agency. Here I want to define diversity in a particular way. The topic today I'm especially interested in, for reasons you will see in a moment, is ethnic and racial diversity and religious diversity too.
But there are other kinds of diversity. One I want to mention very briefly is work team diversity. What I hear again and again -- interesting, the higher up I go the more I hear this message. The people at the entry level are not quite so sure about this diversity thing in some instances. When I sit down with the CEOs they say, "I can't afford to have a homogenous workforce. If I do that, I will lose market share. I won't get the kind of inventiveness and my earnings will decline."
So this is, I think, an essential element. So you need to get lawyers and you need to get MBA types and you need to get communication officials and physicians and marketers all in the same room, but when that happens, they don't communicate very well. I'm sure you have seen that. The lawyers want to think this -- I was going to say something bad about lawyers.
[Chorus of Laughter]
ERNEST WILSON: The lawyers want to think like this. The MBA people are only looking at the bottom line. The marketing folks -- that is not easy even among, let's say, racially homogenous folks who have these different professions. I think you do have to be honest. This is not easy stuff that we are talking about. It is not easy to get lawyers to talk to MBA types to talk to engineers. It is not always easy to get African-Americans and Caucasians and Asians in the same team to talk to one another easily without, I would suggest to you, some kind of formal training in this area and incentives to behave well and play well. "You do it this way or you don't get promoted. You do it this way or you don't get your annual bonus. You do it this way or you don't make Assistant Secretary or you don't make General. And if you keep messing up, you could perhaps look for employment elsewhere."
So I think we have to confront these things. Let me suggest -- and then I will bring it to an end -- some responses to this. And this is what I call "cultural competence." And cultural competence is the capacity to think, move and act easily across borders, whether those borders are cultural or national or institutional, in order to pursue the goals that you want to pursue. It is very difficult to move from the State Department to the Defense Department and from the State Department, even if you are the Under Secretary, first of all, because you have to get a new security clearance and that takes eight months. But these are different cultures and we have to understand that. The university is a very odd culture. Sometimes it is tough to work with the private sector and the government. But we have to do it because it is mission critical.
I have talked about skills, attitudes, knowledge and experience, which I'm happy to talk about further.
Now, here is something that I say usually generates a certain amount of controversy and it is fun to say and I have tenure so I will say it. Which is to say if you look at the experience of people of color in the United States they tend to be marked by at least three things. One is they are on the bottom of society, not all of them, but proportionately they are at the bottom of society. Secondly, they are excluded, traditionally have been excluded from the elite institutions of the United States; country club, Harvard, State Department, IBM, et cetera. Thirdly, they are not, by definition, they are not from Western Europe, they are from Guatemala or Ghana or they have a learned familiarity with these regions. As consequence, I would argue at the margin, given 100 percent of the population, they may have a different perspective on the world relative to folks who have not had the lived experience. I would just assert -- and actually polling data do suggest this -- they have a willingness to support trade and foreign assistance, to advance U.S. interests especially in their home regions. So Latinos are very interested in seeing more trade and more foreign assistance toward Latin America, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
And there are other attributes. I simply put this slide up to suggest to you that there are different experiences that lead to different attitudes toward public policy. We can talk about that in a moment. So what are some of the solutions? Well, some of the challenges in large government bureaucracies and private bureaucracies and, goodness gracious, United States bureaucracies, powerful vertical hierarchies. A certain type of culture that is conservative, you don't reward risk taking in some of these institutions and measures of success are difficult. That makes it especially difficult in these kinds of organizations to generate changes that might be easier to do in smaller, newer organizations.
Let me really bring it to an end by saying next steps, and this is perhaps a framework to be discussed in Working Groups, make diversity a strategic as well as an HR priority. It has got to start on the eighth floor. I think on the eight floor in this building we have seen what Secretary Clinton has done in introducing not only bringing more women on board in personnel positions, but making it a foreign policy priority.
Conclusion: If you were inventing the Foreign Service from scratch today, what would it look like? I don't say that just rhetorically. I've talked to too many firms, long standing firms and start-up firms that say, "The world is changing so fast, I'm scared to death. We have to get new kinds of people in here or we go out of business."
Secondly, what is the proper balance in making new diverse recruits more like the institution? I said I hire people at my university and I say, "You are going to be like me because I'm a professor and this is what professors have always done." Yes, but I also understand I don't know how to do the Tweeting and Twittering so I have to hire the young -- I don't want to adjust, but that is a reality. New people and new kinds of experiences and I bring them in to be disruptive to my organization. They have got to be disruptive and I try to back them, especially with some of my faculty who don't want to change. So I bring in disruptive people. But there is a young woman I talked to -- I will never forget this as long as I live. I was at the National Security Agency doing the study I mentioned earlier. She said, "Dean Wilson, remember one person's innovation is another person's insubordination." One person's innovation is another person's insubordination. Let me stop here by thanking you so much for your attention and I hope I provided some provocative thoughts.
CHERYL BENTON: We are at a crunch for time. We will forego our questions at this time and I know you will be here the majority of the day so folks will get a chance to do that. So thank you, Dr. Wilson, and we will just move on to our next presentation.
SCOTT BUSBY: Thank you for organizing this great conference. I was intrigued when I saw the subtitle for the conference -- not the conference, the session as a wisdom session, and that immediately conjured for me images of a bunch of old, experienced, perhaps slightly tired people talking to much younger, more energetic people who are going to carry into action the wisdom that is important. There are two ways in which that image is incorrect. A, even though some of us may be old, I can at least -- the two colleagues I work with here in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, I can attest to the fact that they are far from tired and you will see that they are quite energetic.
HANNAH ROSENTHAL: And not wise.
SCOTT BUSBY: I'll get to that. And second of all, I do not want this session to be a one-way session of us ostensibly sharing wisdom with you, but rather a two-way exchange in which we all generate wisdom that all of us can benefit from. I'm going to ask each of our speakers to try to limit their remarks to five minutes so that we have ample time for questions and comments afterwards. This session is a little bit different than the sessions throughout the rest of the day in that it is not inward focused. It's rather outward focused. How is it that the State Department promotes diversity in our foreign policy and our bureau, the bureau of democracy, human rights and labor, and labor is deeply involved in that and you'll hear some from Judy, but other bureaus such as that Zakiya comes from and also Marc comes from are also deeply involved in this work.
Let me just say that when we talk about promotion of diversity, we are talking about the promotion of the rights and interests of a wide range of minority and other vulnerable groups, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual individuals. Of course many of you are very aware of the administration's focus on this group and the Secretary gave a ground breaking speech on this in Geneva last year, talk more about that later. Women, the rights of disabled persons, religious minorities as well as ethnic minorities. These are all crucial issues the department seeks to promote and protect in our work both here in the Homeland and overseas. We try to integrate work on behalf of such groups, not only in our diplomacy, but in our programming.
In our bureau we in particular look at points of common intersection among the issues affecting these various groups, recognizing that coalitions among such groups can strengthen our overall human rights and foreign policy. In particular, DRL, as our bureau is called, has changed our own grant criteria recently to give extra weight to proposals that support and empower persons with disabilities, LGBT individuals, women, religion minorities and ethnic and racial minorities, so that is one way we have sought to promote diversity. But we also look at ways in which increasing inclusion of certain groups in societies overseas can more fully and successfully address human rights issues of concern to the United States.
So let me stop there and now turn it over to our panelists and we'll begin to my right with Hannah Rosenthal.
HANNAH ROSENTHAL: Okay. Good morning.
>> Good morning.
HANNAH ROSENTHAL: As the special envoy to monitoring and combatting anti-Semitism, I travel the globe and try to fight anti-Semitism. I'm sad to report, not surprisingly, that I am seeing increases in anti-Semitism on all continents and it's painful. It's awful. It's the longest continuing form of hatred that has existed on our globe and we certainly haven't figured out how to eradicate it. There are some Jewish communities today who closet their faith for fear someone might find out. Many are moving from communities where business leaders or political leaders say things that are very offensive to them and they fear for their lives and their well being. There are parts of the world that actually teach in their schools texts like the czarist forgery, that use texts that are offensive and describe Jews and Christians as children of apes. If such dehumanization happens, how can we ever hope to move the needle when it comes to confronting hatred?
And the thing I've noticed most when traveling is that frankly hate is hate. Where there is anti-Semitism, there is hatred of Muslims. Where there is hatred of Muslims, there is hatred of LGBT people. And the list goes on and on.
So our approach has really been to go to the fundamental, which is fighting hatred. I'm proud that I work for an administration that has put this on the top of the agenda. People fighting for inclusion and fighting all forms of hatred sit at the foreign policy table and it makes me proud. I do lose sleep over it, but it makes me proud that I work for an administration that has committed time, energy and resources to fighting hatred.
I will say that one thing Secretary Clinton has done early on in addition to what you just heard is she emphasized to all of us in the State Department that part of our role is not just meeting in bilateral relations with governments and governmental leaders, but to meet with civil society and do what we can to strengthen civil society and that they are to be viewed as equal partners.
Given that charge by the Secretary, you heard earlier from Farah Pandith, my good friend -- once the Special Representative to Muslim Communities and I, we're at a conference together, a tolerance conference. Please understand in diplo speak, tolerance is a good thing. Not so much in English. We were at a tolerance conference and it was going to focus on what they called Islamphobia and focus on anti-Semitism on Christaphobia and everything else. The expected behavior of a diplomat it is to sit and read this information that is cleared by you don't know by how many people in this building -- and the night before the conference began, Farah and I decided to swap speeches. So the special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism was the public face and spokes person for condemning hatred of Muslims. Farah then followed by being the face and spokes person to condemn anti-Semitism and we had a man with a collar being the spokesperson condemning hatred of LGBT, and you can understand.
HANNAH ROSENTHAL: A lot of politics and a lot of diplomacy is symbolic. But guess what? That was more than symbolic. As Farah and I have traveled, we're recognized by people as we're the ones who swapped the speech. Why? Because the message is very important and sometimes the messenger can enhance and make whatever statement you're making more impactful and when you're dealing with issues of hate and intolerance, this cannot be emphasized enough. Now, what we heard from the young people that we brought to Kazakhstan for this conference was, that's very nice. Diplomats sitting around the table talking to each other. We want to do something. Give us something to do. And Farah and I left that conference saying they're absolutely right. We should never just condemn. We must condemn hate speech, hateful policies, et cetera. But we need to always make a call to action and so we made what we thought was kind of a cute something-to-do, and we called it “2011 Hours Against Hate,” urging young people to -- it's a virtual campaign, all on Facebook and Twitter. Didn't cost taxpayers a single penny and we put it out there hoping that at the end of 2011 people around the world would get online and pledge 2011 hours, get it? Well, that happened in the first few weeks.
And as we traveled together, in Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, in South America, we found that young people totally got it. They want to do something. So we asked them to give an hour or more of their time to help someone that doesn't pray like them, live like them, love like them...that this is not -- it so happens these were two people who identified with a religion which had nothing to do with the initiative, it's a call for people to walk in someone else's shoes.
And it had such a profound effect in the world of young people and how they communicate that in 2012, the London Summer Olympic Games have adopted 2012 Hours Against Hate as their tolerance initiative and there are many NGOs in London that will be focusing on it. So it's not just Twitter and tweet. Billions of people will be watching the Olympics and they will hopefully see not only fans, but athletes and other sparklies that are in attendance who will pledge their time to walk a mile, to walk a few steps in someone else's shoes. Fighting intolerance and fighting hatred is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to inclusion and making sure we're reaching across all divides. We operate, as Secretary Clinton says, over and over again, with the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that means that all human beings are born free and equal, equal in dignity and in rights. It's a huge task. But we can make gains. One policy at a time, one business at a time, one symposium at a time, one museum or art display or one hour at a time.
SCOTT BUSBY: I didn't realize you were a speaker, Judy. No offense. A little insubordination. Our next speaker is Judy Heumann, our Special Representative on the Rights of Disabled Persons. Judy?
JUDITH HEUMANN: Well, it's great to be here and in my five minutes I will try to impart what it is we're doing and more importantly what we'd like to be doing with you. Some of you may not be aware of the fact that last year a report came out from the World Bank and the World Health Organization which says that there are now at least 1 billion persons with disabilities living in the world. Meaning at least 15% of the world's population and frequently when we look at issues affecting disabled people, we look at it from a medical perspective, from a preventive perspective, and we don't really look at the lives of disabled people now and how we are trying to achieve the same goals and objectives as everyone else.
The other issue in disability is we are not all the same. We are not all born with our disability. We are not all white or black or Asian. We acquire our disabilities over the course of our life. Some people are working when they acquire their disabilities. Others have not yet been in the world of work. So diversity for us in the workplace and more broadly is critically important. And within the State Department itself, we have a very good office. The disability accommodations office, which is helping to both do recruitment of disabled individuals and also helping to provide appropriate supports so that a person who comes to work here at the State Department can be working in D.C., can be working in Tunisia, can work in India, can work wherever their post places them, which is very important in a global world of work where it is essential that people be able to be mobile and where disability should not be a reason for a person not being able to move around the world and do the jobs that they are wishing to do and are qualified to do.
So we have been advancing the rights of disabled people within the State Department in the area of employment. But we have also been working very hard, as we just heard from Scott, on methods to include disability across the work of the State Department. So one area that we work in is we give grants and contracts. We expect those who are getting grants and contracts for us to become more knowledgeable on issues in the area of disability in the respective area that they're working in because many people in our organization are generalists. They're not expected to be an in-depth specialist in every area. So we are turning to those who we work with externally and saying we expect you in collaboration with us to be able to get real information and to become much more inclusive.
So we see progress being made in areas like elections, ensuring that disabled people have the right to participate in elections, but also have the right to be able to run for office. Look at ways of making changes with governments and civil society to remove those barriers. But employment is something that I want to just very quickly address with you. We know that people who are working are more valued regardless of the country they live in. When people are not working, regardless of the country they're living in, they are less valued. They are seen as being less able to be contributory members of their communities. One thing that the United States has an advantage over many other countries is a history of very good legislation that corporations around the U.S. have been participating in for more than 20 years now, depending on the state where you work, where your organization may be. It may be 30 or 40 years, but certainly all of you as a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act have been looking at effective ways of ensuring that disabled people are meaningfully integrated across the work that you're doing. That means in the area of employment, in customer service, et cetera. So we have been as we have been traveling to agencies around the world raising the issue of employment. Meeting with the American chambers of commerce, meeting with specific chambers from the countries that we're visiting. Having meetings with ambassadors, inviting in the employer community for the ambassadors to learn from the employer community what it is they are doing to in fact diversify their workforce and be more inclusive of persons with disabilities.
Some of you may have heard of the Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities and if you have not and work for a national corporation, I strongly urge that you read it, see it, talk to your colleagues overseas. But the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a treaty that was adopted by the United Nations in 2006, it's very similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act in relationship to the principles that it adopts. And there are now 113 countries around the world that have ratified the CRPD. The United States has signed and sent forth our CRPD package to the Senate and we are hoping that we will see ratification. But for you as a business or as an NGO doing international work, it is important, I believe, that you are actively engaged in the countries where you're working, with the disability community and also with governments to help influence the legislation that many of these countries now have an obligation to develop in order to be in compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
There is a specific article in the CRPD which speaks to issues around employment. You can be passive players and allow governments to develop laws that you will then have to implement or you can try to reach out to governments and civil society and work with them to help them learn about good practices that we have in the United States. Another way that this is critically important to be done, is to be ensuring that those franchises that you are developing overseas or whatever the appropriate word may be as you are developing offices overseas, is that you look at whether or not you are bringing with you or when you are giving a franchise, meeting commitments to principles under the ADA. So are you, in fact, working with your HR offices overseas to ensure that in your diversity program you are including disabled people in internship programs, that you are including disabled people when you're doing your outreach. That you're working with disability organizations to help ensure that you know how to outreach into the disability community so that you in fact can get qualified people to be applying for your positions. Are you in fact looking at whether or not the service -- you know, if you are a seller of like food, McDonald's or Kentucky Fried Chicken or whatever the particular business may be, are you ensuring that your stores are accessible as they are here in the United States?
One thing that we clearly are finding is that U.S. companies seem to be interested in doing it the right way, but when you go and visit many of the shops overseas, they are not accessible. People clearly haven't been given appropriate information about how to take what has been done correctly here and put it overseas. Those are things I must say that people in other countries observe. Disabled people and others ask the question, why is it that you as a U.S. government come overseas and talk about all the wonderful things that you're doing in your country, but you're failing to do that here. And that is something that I think you've heard not just in the area of disability. But when I heard it from a staff person of a president's wife in a country recently, which was I went into X store and I couldn't do Y and I went to the United States and I was able to do this in all of their stores. Why is this happening? So it makes good business. It makes good sense. A billion disabled people around the world really no longer can be overlooked. We have to get over our feeling of pity and charity. We have to look at how in the social corporate responsibility work that you're doing for example in education, that you have to be asking questions, are disabled children being included in education? Are universities accessible? Are disabled students allowed to participate in higher education like others? Because we hear all the time that they are not. That they are excluded from certain professions just based on disability. So we look forward to working with you more and thank you very much for your time.
SCOTT BUSBY: Thanks, Judy. Zakiya?
ZAKIYA CARR JOHNSON: Thanks, Scott. Well, I think we're moving from some of the broader international issues down to the way we are working on some of these very important issues in our bureaus that are regional. I'm here representing the Bureau for Western Hemisphere Affairs, that is Canada to the Patagonia and I'm currently the head of the race, ethnicity and social inclusion unit in our bureau. The race, ethnicity and social inclusion unit was established in 2010. The bureau put in place this unit with the support of Congress to focus more clearly on the ways that we look at race, ethnicity, social inclusion as a broader umbrella issue and particularly the rights and access to basic services of indigenous people, people of African descent and other vulnerable groups. Some of you may not be aware...we mentioned before ethnic minorities and we talk about ethnic minorities, but in the region actually and in some of the countries where we work every day, specific groups are not minorities. They're actually majorities, disenfranchised majorities. In countries like Guatemala and Bolivia, indigenous people are majority. In countries like Brazil, African descendant people are a majority and what we found in a country like Brazil which has over 51% of people of African descent is that in higher education until recently, they only made up 2% in higher education. They are not present in policy-making decisions, in policy-making scenarios. They are also not present in the private sector.
I'm here today, I'm going to be very short because we have a workshop later on this afternoon, but for those of you all who are working in the Western Hemisphere, we would like to have a session with you to brainstorm about how we can promote better inclusion in the region and as we're doing work in the region and opening up new businesses and you all see all of these new opportunities that are opening up with the FTA and other agreements, that we have not been yet able to transfer those good practices, and thank you, Judy for saying that, the good practices that make us champions of diversity here in the United States. We haven't put those in place in the countries where we're doing work abroad, specifically in this region. And I want to focus on this region to say that the Americas are ripe for change on these issues.
We're not going to those countries to say that the way we do things is awesome in the United States. But they're thirsty for exchange of good practices, new policies, and their policies at a national level are starting to reflect some of this.
In Brazil, they have established affirmative action and I know it's a bad word in a lot of places, and quotas programs to support and try to level the playing field for people of African descent and indigenous people and people with disabilities. It's absolutely important that as we do business abroad, we bring the concept of diversity there. And as we bring people from the region to the United States to work, that we don't automatically assume that because they're from Guatemala or because they're from Bolivia or because they're from Chile, that they represent a diverse set of ideas and backgrounds of the countries they come from. Nationality is one thing, but there are also many experiences within that nationality just like in the United States. It's absolutely inspiring to see the interest level coming from not just civil society who we're having a lot of interaction and dialogue with, but also from policy makers in the region.
Brazil has a ministry for racial equality and a secretary on women and they're asking us, how does your EEO work? We want to know. Can we do an exchange with EEOC? And what we have been able to work on, which I find absolutely fascinating, is that we have two bilateral agreements. So this is now also foreign policy. This is a bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Brazil and the U.S. and Colombia to promote racial and ethnic equality. We are doing ground-breaking work with those governments to promote access to education, looking at ways to level the playing field in terms of access to higher education and to international exchange programs. We're also looking at ways to specifically target entrepreneurs who are interested in breaking into markets and to do good capacity building and training with their governments that are trying to work with companies abroad. I have one minute left.
ZAKIYA CARR JOHNSON: I'm just going to say I get up every morning very passionate about what I do because I have never seen it done before. This administration has taken on some very challenging issues, but we have some interesting ways that we are dealing with these issues and the ways that we're looking at these things are mutually beneficial. I would like to reiterate that this isn't just us looking outward and saying how Colombia can do things better because Colombia has problems. Our dialogues don't work with those countries if we don't also recognize the challenges that we are facing. And the advances we have made, of course, over the past 50 years, but the road that's still left to travel to get to where we want to be as a more inclusive society.
We have the talent pool. We have so many different cultural experiences and in countries where they have the same level of multiculturalism, the same level of challenges, we'd like to do better in terms of exchanging what we know and learning from them as well as having them learn from us. I want to also say that our effort is interagency and we have been working with the Department of Commerce, the Minority Business Development Agency. There are a few of you here I see. We have been working with the environmental protection agency. We have been working with our Department of Education and what we have found is that their counterparts and the countries where we're working want to work with us. They're creating seminars on equity and education in Brazil together.
We are looking at how to take advantage of the World Cup and Olympic games in Brazil to bring women, bring ethnic majority members who are disenfranchised and youth to the table in these exchanges and these opportunities. I know I have no time. So I'm just going to say if you're interested in working in this region, if you want to work with us, we need you. Diversity officers, we need what your experiences and expertise have brought our private sector and we want to work in conjunction with you to be able to share those experiences that we have and promote greater inclusion in the region. So come this afternoon. Happy to work with you personally.
SCOTT BUSBY: Thank, Zakiya. Marc?
MARC OSTFIELD: Good morning, everybody. Pleasure to be here. As Cheryl and Scott said, I'm Marc Ostfield here from the Bureau of European Affairs. Following Zakiya, we cover some 50 countries across the continent. I think of it as a rhyming way of Liberia to Siberia. In our office, you know we speak in acronyms and also the State Department, there's no PowerPoint because you'll notice it's not the Pentagon. In our bureau, promoting diversity inclusion is one of our highest priorities working across the region and similar to my colleagues we promote these issues both at a foreign policy level, bilaterally country to country and multilaterally in the U.N. organizations, and involve multiple nations as well as diplomacy and civil society in a range of countries. As U.S. diplomats we work to advance diversity and inclusion because it's the right thing to do but also for reasons of clear national importance and earlier today Professor Wilson talked about one aspect of national security with respect to diversity and inclusion. I want to look at it from a slightly different perspective and say that we look at it and we say, countries are not struggling with difficult internal divisions at home make stronger partners internationally. And that's an incredibly important reason for us looking at these issues from a purely, if you will, selfish national security perspective, that it is in our interest to help countries do this work better, to help ourselves do this work better as well.
In Europe, diversity takes many forms; with five minutes, I will focus on two illustrative examples, the first is the Roma populations in Europe, a population unique to Europe and the second is working with the LGBT community and I use that as an example not only because it's the work now, but also illustrative of the ways we work with Europe to have an impact globally. Roma are the largest minority in Europe. Approximately 12 million throughout the continent and despite some progress over the last decade, many Roma still live on the margins of society, violence, police brutality, housing, employment and so forth. These problems are particularly acute in central and eastern Europe but as the recent Europe report describes anti-Roma violence and rhetoric are on the rise throughout the continent. Over the past several years Secretary Clinton has repeatedly reinforced the U.S. commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of Roma and in furtherance of this; this year she announced the U.S. to become an observer to something known as the decade of Roma inclusion to lend our voice, to helping ensure that the voices of Roma are heard throughout Europe and in this struggle.
U.S. embassies across the continent are actively engaged in efforts to promote human rights and inclusion, for example: this year on April 8th our Ambassador to Romania spoke out distributing a videotape message throughout the country and through many NGOs, while Poland hosted the 4th annual meeting for human rights officers at U.S. embassies. Additionally we're working on something known as workforce diversity, something very close to all of your hearts, to help promote Roma competitiveness and enhance their chances in the job market. We are working with NGOs in partnership with junior achievement Bulgaria to train young Bulgarians, many of them who are Roma, for future jobs in the IT business, and supported a tech camp helping staff and NGOs throughout Romania learn and build their digital skills and tools. These kinds of activities are ones where we seek partnership with companies such as yours and we welcome your interest in working with us on these things. Additionally we work with Roma on an international visitor program bringing them to the United States to bring a first-hand view of how the rights of every individual can be viewed in law and practice and the struggles we simultaneously have in the United States to ensure a diversity and inclusion across the multiple sectors of our own society domestically. We work as well with Roma to help with law enforcement protection as well and finally on policy to work within the OSCE, the organization for security and cooperation in Europe to create a venue to raise this issue broadly in an organization that has 50-plus member states.
I have a minute left and I'll use that to address what we working on for the LGBT populations in the U.N. and globally. The European Bureau is uniquely positioned to have a significant impact on advancing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and promoting diversity and inclusion in Europe and globally. Despite the region’s relatively advanced record of support on human rights, abuse and persecution of LGBT persons continue to occur across the region. To address the diversity of LGBT human rights realities in the region, we look at our region in four distinct zones, each with its own particular LGBT situation:
Building on the foundation of the Secretary’s clarion call that “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” EUR developed a strategy and toolkit which our Embassies in Europe are now using. Examples of that toolkit in action include on the policy front: The Consulate General St. Petersburg responded actively and forcefully to the recent passage of municipal legislation which curbs the freedoms of expression and assembly for all citizens, but especially LGBT individuals. The U.S. Ambassador to Moldova has talked repeatedly with top Moldovan officials about the importance of passing anti-discrimination legislation that includes sexual orientation. The Embassy also included non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in its March 2012 training for prosecutorial offices. After a May 2010 Vilnius Court decision to suspend the long-planned Baltic Pride 2010 gay-rights parade, the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania shared the President’s statements on LGBT rights with the Prime Minister, an MP, and the Mayor of Vilnius, and informed them that the USG supported the parade as an exercise of freedom of speech and association. It’s notable that two years later – just this past weekend – Baltic Pride took place in Latvia, involving the participation of multiple U.S. ambassadors from the region, a senior official from Washington, and staff from all three of the U.S. embassies in the Baltics. The U.S. Mission to the OSCE has made multiple statements against anti-LGBT municipal laws passed this year in Russia and Moldova. When possible, the U.S. has partnered with the EU to ensure that our statements on LGBT issues are mutually reinforcing. During the March Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), for instance, there was a Panel Discussion on LGBT issues, for which members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) planned a walkout. However, through close coordination we were successful in having several European OIC members, including Albania and Bosnia, remain in their seats and not join other OIC members in the walkout. And in terms of engagement on third countries, we worked with several European countries to find funds to support an LGBT Special Rapporteur at the Organization of American States, raising close to the $1 million needed to fund the position and office which is soon to be operational.
And though I never get to mention Lady Gaga as part of U.S. foreign policy, here I do. Last year, our Ambassador to Italy David Thorn wrote a letter to lady Gaga asking her to be the headliner for Euro Pride last year and she agreed. It's quite notable for us that we're able to bring in a proud Italian American to come and promote LGBT rights in Italy. These are just some ways we are doing it. Happy to answer any questions you have got on this and looking forward to ways to work with you on this. Thank you.
CHERYL BENTON: We're actually just going to move quickly to our next panel. Everybody has so many important things to say. But we do have our next panel up and they are going to be representative from Congress and from the White House and they're going to talk about the executive branch on diversity goals and foreign policy.
DR. THOMPSON: Hello. My name is Mischa Thompson, of the Helsinki Commission. I have the privilege of introducing two persons who have been key in government efforts to foster diversity. Given that we are running behind time, I'm going to skip lengthy introductions and refer you to the speakers' bios in the packets you received. And with that, I would like to go ahead and welcome one of our commissioners, Congressman Alcee Hastings who has been a leading voice in international affairs for decades. Thank you.
REPRESENTATIVE HASTINGS: Thank you, very much. I'm very glad to be here with you and with my fellow panelist. I refer to Mischa Thompson as DT (Dr. T). She and I work together rather actively on a number of issues and among them is diversity in Europe, believe it or not. We set about trying to learn who the Afro-Europeans were who were in public office, and we have been pretty successful in the last three or four years.
I found it more than interesting that another young man who worked with us did some research and found when we began our efforts in Europe that 100 years to the day, W. E. B. Dubois had done the same thing. So we were treading back on the path. As I sat back there briefly talking to my friend, John Robinson -- and John came to the new office of D&I at one point to help them set that agency up -- and he would know during that period of time the efforts being put forth by those of us that were of like mind with reference to CIA diversity.
With that said, I thought, as I sat there, about the children who are in our cars on long trips and they say, "Are we there yet?" And my response for us here is, "Hell no. We are not even close to where we need be." And personally I'm glad to be here with you. I used to be the only Black in the room a lot of times, as many of you have been, and then occasionally it flips and it is the only White person in the room that is there. But now most times I'm the oldest person in the room.
[Chorus of Laughter]
REPRESENTATIVE HASTINGS: And therefore I don't mind saying what is on my mind as opposed to just being scripted. Let me say, the fact of the matter is I'm tired of going to these meetings about diversity. And that is the honest to goodness truth. I tried to tell people -- I practiced law in Ft. Lauderdale and these were in the Halcyon days of segregation, and I was always called upon, among some others in the nation, but in my community I was called to be on the United Way and on the Biracial Advisory Committee every time. So after a while I got tired of it and I told people, "Listen, I'm an expert Negro. And I have been one all my damn life." And the question they kept asking me was, "What do your people want?" I said, "Get out a piece of paper and write down what you want for your family and sign my damn name." That is all you have to do.
[Chorus of Laughter]
REPRESENTATIVE HASTINGS: It is not as confusing as people tend to make it. And the continuing, inseparable triumvirate of inadequate jobs, inadequate housing and inadequate educational opportunities is pervasive through America and throughout the world. If we want diversity we will make diversity.
I can't come over here from the House of Representatives and certainly not from the United States Senate and tell you that we are exemplars of diversity. We are not. And all you have to do is go with me through many of the offices, including those of my fellow colleagues from the State of Florida, that have no Blacks in their office, no Latinos in their office, no Asians in their office. No gays in their office that they know about.
[Chorus of Laughter]
REPRESENTATIVE HASTINGS: And it goes on and on and on. And so then people talk. Now back to the script. Close to a decade as senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, I have been fighting to increase diversity in the intelligence field. I have introduced legislation so we could establish matrixes and be able to make adequate determinations as to whether we were making any progress. Evidence that failed: my colleague Sheila Jackson Lee introduced the same legislation by way of an amendment to the intelligence bill this year. This is despite the fact that our national security concerns are now in areas of the world where it would be more beneficial for our spies to look like those places. You can't send a blond, blue-eyed white man to Korea and talk about spying. What good would that do? You understand you have to have somebody. What we do in the State Department that I found silly -- I travel all over the world and I go to Sweden and here is a person steeped in Farsi assigned to Sweden. For what? And we do that. The persons that have the expertise get rotated out of the area where their expertise would be particularly beneficial. So I don't understand what it is in many instances we are trying to achieve. At the end of the day, diversity means hiring, and hiring more Arab-Americans, it means hiring more Asians, Pakistanis, Koreans, and Latinos, the whole nine yards. We have a regrettable set of circumstances. Some of you as EEOC officers do like my colleagues do. Interesting how it flipped on Black people. Black people wind up being more tolerant and more acculturating than everybody else. So when we get to a high position, the first thing we do is determine "that it would not be a good thing if we were to bring in more Black people." You know, "I'm here now and therefore, you know, I'm here, so I must show White people that I am not like them, I am not going to just have Black people."
Somewhere along the line that turns the whole nation on its head and that is why at the CIA the good old boys are still the good old boys. And I realize people like their comfort zones. If we want to be about the world and in the world and if we want to be the face of diversity in the world, then we need to do better -- and that’s my story and I'm sticking to it.
[Chorus of Applause]
DR. THOMPSON: Congressman, thank you.
[Chorus of Laughter]
REPRESENTATIVE HASTINGS: You needed to wake up this morning.
DR. THOMPSON: I said, as someone on his staff for the last five years, I learn that whatever we give him, he is going to say what is on his mind. I would like to introduce Veronica Villalobos, who is in the Office of Personnel Management, director of diversity and inclusion and responsible for, I guess, the easy job… of implementing government wide diversity initiatives. I think it is fabulous that she is here today because she will actually talk about some of the concrete tools and initiatives that are taking place to implement some of the very real things that the Congressman actually just talked about. Thank you.
MS. VILLALOBOS: Good morning. So when I knew I was going to be on the panel with the Honorable Congressman, I said, "I'm not sure I should be on the panel." And after this, I'm certain I should not have been; I could only pale in comparison. But what I wanted to start out giving you is an idea of what the vision is in terms of diversity and inclusion government wide. I hope everyone in the room has heard about the government wide Executive Order that was issued in the fall of 2011 to establish a coordinated government wide effort for diversity and inclusion. And the vision is to create a workplace that values everyone. And we hear those words and we think, "What does that really mean?"
We have used the words "everyone has to be connected to the mission, everyone has to be engaged." And people think, "Why do I care?" I have heard people say, "Why do I care if folks feel connected to the missions and engagement? As long as they are doing their jobs, what does that mean to me?" I'm here to tell you that engaged employees are 89 percent more productive, 89 percent, so that is what it means. And people who feel connected to the mission are better able to serve their customers. And in our case, that is the American people. So that is why we are doing this. That's the vision. And I tell people, "If you want to know what it feels like, remember that job you had that you loved getting up to go to every morning." You think to yourself, "I have to go and do all these things, and I have to see my colleagues, and I look forward to it, and I have this important meeting!" By a show of hands, do people remember that job? Now, I don't want to embarrass anyone, but is everyone in that job today?
So that is really where we are trying to take the government. Under the Executive Order we have 90 days to issue a government wide strategic plan and we did issue that plan and we did it with all the agencies having opportunities to comment, and what became very clear is we had to keep it simple. We have three goals: diversify, include and sustain. And under diversify, what we are asking agencies to do is broad outreach in the community, to make sure they know what their government does. Do recruitment at many different institutions, organizations, seek talent everywhere because talent is everywhere. And one piece I want to deliver specifically to this group is, let's not go to the same schools over and over either. We know who they are. There is great talent there. There is talent in other schools as well, right? We also looked at folks -- look at your Schedule A hiring for people with disabilities. Make sure you are utilizing that tool. I will tell you one interesting thing that happened to me once. I used to be an attorney at EEOC and I was talking to a very high level senior attorney and he said, "Our jobs are very rigorous. There are certain jobs we could use folks for, but to be a trial attorney is tough work.”
And I turned to him and in a kind way -- at the time it was the acting -- what was her title? The acting chair of EEOC at the time, Christine Griffin. And I said, "I know Chris. She can run circles around any of us and she is in a wheelchair." And he said, "Yeah, you're right." And thereafter he started asking us, "How do I get more Schedule A talent into my office?" People forget because we forget. We make exceptions. We shouldn't make exceptions. We should remember each person is an individual and has different talents and skills and can do different work. We are also asking folks under diversifying, we want them to look at Veteran talent. For a long time you remember we said, "Oh, I got to get over the veterans list. I have a whole certificate and I don't want to hire a veteran because I'm sure they don't have the right talent and skills," although we spent millions of dollars training them. So I have to figure out a way to jump over the certificate. We are asking folks to please look at that talent for what it really is, right?
I will tell you I had a deputy director one time tell me, "You talk about diversity and inclusion and I have a bunch of veterans I have to interview. I can tell you they are not going to be diverse or have the right skill set and I'm going to be forced to hire them." And I said, "John, please look at the list and give them a fair shot and come back to me when you're done." He came back to me and apologized and told me, "You tell everyone if you ever say something about veterans -- they are diverse and they are talented and they are perfect for the jobs I hired them for -- and I was wrong." That is another piece of it, right.
We are also asking agencies to leverage your special emphasis program managers. They are not party planners, right? They are not there to do those monthly observances. Please utilize them as skilled individuals who can help you do the outreach and recruitment and figure out where the barriers are, figure out how you are going to develop talent all the way through that person's lifecycle. With respect to inclusion, we are talking about developing every employee to their full potential. That is everyone.
And that means that White men need to see themselves in this plan as much as everyone else because if they don't buy into it, it is not going to work. It is just going to be one of those plans again that gets marginalized and we see what the new leadership says. This means our leadership development programs, our trainings across the board. Are there any barriers and is everyone getting a chance? Not everyone wants to move up but everyone wants to know they are considered.
We also say, "Let's do some good mentoring." Mentoring is the key to make sure people learn their organization and learn how to succeed. Succession planning is not replacing me with one person if I get hit by a bus tomorrow. Succession planning is having a deep bench of talent where I have addressed skill gaps across the board and there are many people who can take my place when I'm no longer here.
We are asking folks look at work life balance. Does anyone in here telecommute? You want to know why that is so important for work life balance? Because when an employee knows they are trusted enough to be at home working and getting the job done, that increases their production and their interaction in the work place becomes more positive for everyone. They feel like adults. And that is what we are trying to foster.
Employee resource groups, affinity groups, are important because they can be your pulse in your workplace; and then, on boarding. Seems pretty simple. This one day on boarding you come in and fill out your forms. Doesn't help anybody, right? You need a good six months at least of a robust program where people are able to connect with somebody in the organization who can teach them how to function and succeed in this new work environment because every single work environment has a different attitude and different rules that folks need to learn.
And then, finally, the third piece is sustainability. This means putting diversity and inclusion in your agency's strategic plan. And when we first said that, people said, "Why does it have to go in our strategic plan?" May I ask you how you accomplish your mission? Through our people, right. So how can we not put our people in our agency's specific strategic plans? Employee performance plans all need to have diversity and inclusion and every agency needs to have a diversity and inclusion council and every workforce needs to be trained in these principles of respect and fairness in everything that we do.
That is it. Pretty simple, right? We have all seen these programs. Common sense. Have we done this in a coordinated way? Probably not until now. We have the agency specific diversity and inclusion plan, we have 50 of them. We have been reviewing them. We are having the agency meetings in clusters of three so we can learn from each other and we are giving them their feedback. I will tell you every agency is in a different place on a different journey, but we are here to help you.
I'm happy to take questions as we start and open that section, but we want to make sure that everyone understands what the goal is, right? It is that equality and fairness is for everybody. We have to be able to serve our people in the right places with the right talent. Thanks.
DR. THOMPSON: Thank you. With that we would like to take two or three questions from the audience. One that would actually -- some that would focus on a congressional perspective on diversity and international affairs or also implementation of the OPM's strategy for government wide diversity. Anyone?
<<<: Hi. I am from the congressional perspective. You mentioned a number of your colleagues are less ambitious in the field of diversity than they might be in their own offices. What, if any, incentive is there for them to change that?
REPRESENTATIVE HASTINGS: None.
<<<: That is what I was afraid you were going to say. I thought you were going to say that. Thought I would check.
<<<: My question is for Veronica, with respect to better leveraging the special program manager, my challenge is that the agencies, generally agencies have 20 percent collateral duty for your special program managers. With all the things that you are expecting from those managers, how do we better leverage them? How do you see it being better leveraged when it is only an eight-hour day that they are given per week to do the retention, recruitment and et cetera?
MS. VILLALOBOS: Sure. Great question. So they are going to have to be strategic themselves. What I told folks is make sure you create your own plan and know what your expectations and outcomes are going to be for that year. Then you need to narrow it. We don't need to be doing so many different things that we don't get anything done. And that is the one fear we have. With the Executive Order and the President has specifically stated, "I will see chief human capital officers and their offices, EEOC directors and their offices and diversity and inclusion offices where they exist working together on this." This should not be just carried by one office. It is not on one person's shoulders. That is important for the special emphasis program managers. They need to be given clear guidelines on what is expected and the work needs to be shared by everyone. Sometimes we experience the boundaries between our different organizations. Those need to be broken or else we will not get work done.
<<<: I have a question. When you are talking about this being a leadership issue, diversity and inclusion being a leadership issue, where is the accountability for holding our leaders accountable to make sure diversity and inclusion take place?
MS. VILLALOBOS: What I can tell you, the President's Management Council, which is all the deputy secretaries at the cabinet level agencies, has been tasked with making sure this occurs. So they are on a regular basis receiving data regarding our underrepresented groups. I can tell you government wide these are people with disabilities and Hispanics. Government wide their numbers are way too low. They are getting that regularly. They also know our senior executive service is not diverse. This is a cornerstone for us making it sustainable. That is another area where they are monitoring closely to make sure we are making progress in these areas. We are also working closely with the chief human capital officers because ultimately they are able to make sure we are fully leveraging all of our human capital and opportunities to bring new people in and those have been the two mechanisms we have been using strongly in coordination with the EEOC directors -- but the idea is -- it comes from the President's Management Council.
REPRESENTATIVE HASTINGS: I want to tell one personal story and then one I know from historic reference about how you go about your responsibilities as leaders and how leaders go about their responsibilities in trying to ensure that they are inclusive. I will use myself as an example. If you were called by the office right now -- if you call the office right now and ask about my schedule or wanting to meet with me, the person that answers in that responsibility used to clean the toilets and the place at the Capitol. She worked in maintenance.
Footnote there. When I was a federal judge, I saw those Dunkin' Donuts. I used to go to a Dunkin' Donuts and I would meet with all the maintenance people and have breakfast and bring sometimes grits and bacon and everything and federal judges often wondered when my toilet broke how I could get it fixed so fast. Be nice to everybody and give everybody a chance. And my fraternity, I argue with these people every time they are giving out scholarships. They give the scholarships to A students. Now I don't have anything against A students, but A students will find money to go to school. What I say to them is, give the money to the C students like all of us were.
[Chorus of Applause]
REPRESENTATIVE HASTINGS: One final story. And I'm Kappa so Omegas and Alphas and Sigmas, don't you all start because they are only good training programs on how to become Kappa.
The real story I want to leave with you is at IBM. IBM headquarters when they started with the huge cold rooms and computers, they were being set upon for not being diverse. And the then President of IBM talked to his all White male board about that fact and that they needed to change. And then they started that – how many times have we all heard this, "Find me somebody qualified." And he said, "Well, I think I can find somebody that is qualified." And he had paid attention over the course of time that the elevator operator had been running the show when people went on break and they left him there. That elevator operator went on to become the first Black President of IBM. You have to give people a chance and get past these little papers and data driven matrixes and what have you.
I know people at the CIA that would be better CIA officers than a whole lot of people that are in those offices. I know people in lower ranks in the State Department and know people who drive cars in the State Department that are better diplomats than some of the people that they send to represent America. Give people a chance.
[Chorus of Applause]
DR. THOMPSON: Thank you all, very much. I did want to point out that Ms. Villalobos will also be on a panel later this afternoon, for those interested in hearing more about OPMs diversity efforts.
MS. BENTON: Thank you, Dr. Thompson and Representative Hastings and Veronica Villalobos.
Now we are going to move to Todd Corley, Deborah Dagit, Pat Harris and Ana Duarte McCarthy.
MR. CHILDS: I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge and introduce to you all to the Office of Civil Rights and the director, John Robinson. John, could you stand and please have your staff stand.
[Chorus of Applause]
MR. CHILDS: Thank you, very much. My name is Ted Childs and I'm the moderator for this panel. I do want to comment there were some fraternity comments made a few minutes ago. I don't mind jokes about fraternity, but I did work for IBM for 39 years and that story was not true. Thank you for the light coverage.
My name is Ted Childs and I'm the moderator for this panel. Some of you know that I speak quite a bit about what I call my six diversity mega trends. I'm going to use three of them to introduce and set the table for our panel.
First, the mega trend. The people, the changing face of America mirrors the world. In 1987 Hudson Institute published the workforce 2000, telling us what was going to happen. In 1997, 10 years later, they updated it to 2020 and it would appear that we didn't pay much attention to what they were informing us of. Because just a few days ago, May 17, front page of three major newspapers had a cover story on the changing population arrivals.
What is America's new reality? Well, in 1915 we were 100 million people. 1967 we were 200 million. 2006 we were 300 million. June last year was the first day in history where the majority of babies born were not White. 2023 is the year that the majority of children in America will be not White. And then in 2043 we are going to be 50 percent White and 50 percent minority. And of that it will be 25 percent Hispanic and 25 percent other. We are going to have 200 million people of ethnic color in the United States. At that point in time in world history there are only nine countries that have 200 million people. And we are going to have 200 million people of color. If you look at that from a global perspective, a continental view, 39 of the top 50 cities in the world are in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Only 11 are in North America and Europe. If you look at that a different way, 20 of the top 50 cities in the world are on four continents. Twenty-one are in two countries. That is an evolving picture. Let's look at that one a different way.
I'm sorry the slides are as they are, but the key data you can see. From 1950 to 2050 there is a shift taking place. Europe will come from 21.7 percent of the world's population to 7. Africa will go from roughly 7 to 19.8. That is an extraordinary shift but that tells you what the flow is.
Mega trend please. Faith will play an increasing role in the world economy and politics. Here is how I describe this chart. When you look at the global statistics on faith, 33 percent of the world is Christian. But if you break Catholicism out and call it a separate faith, the largest faith in the world is Islam. You really don't want to be at war with Islam if you have to have people around the world.
There are many countries around the world now that give awards for corporate performance on diversity. Why? Because it is good for business and it promotes the concept of talent. Well, two years ago I was honored to be the keynote speaker in Denmark for the Danish Institute for Human Rights for their annual awards ceremony. And I was walking around the room and walking up to tables and asking what company are you, what group are you. And I walked up to one table and the lady said, "We are McDonalds." And I said, "McDonald's what?" And she said, "McDonald's Corporation." And I said, "You do hamburgers." She said, "Yes." I stepped out of the room and called Pat Harris, who is with us today. I said, "Pat, your company is here in the room, I'm in Denmark and about to make a major presentation." Did the speech, we moved to the award and did the academy awards. The people who are there don't know who the winners are. They are asked to come and bring a senior executive and they have a prominent citizen come up for each category, for the large company category, McDonald's wins. I go back out of the room, call Pat back, this is getting expensive. "Hey, look, your company just won the large company award. I'm going to get the head of the Danish Institute and your managing director on the phone, say something provocative, say something powerful to this guy."
I go to the photographer and ask him for the picture and he says, "There is a fee." I said, "Come on man. You just saw me give the keynote address. You can't sell me a picture." I get the people on the phone. I don't know what it would take or how many hamburgers this guy has to sell to have his name discussed in Chicago. Pat begins. "I just went to tell the CEO that you just won the award." This is a big deal. Winning the diversity award in the country was a big deal.
I got back home and got the picture and I went to the Bastion Institute to address the MBA and I called Farah, who spoke this morning. I said, "Farah, I am going to Bastion to speak. I would like you to introduce me." And Farah comes to me in Boston and says, "Ted, I want it. Ted, I have to call Denmark.” I called Denmark and I said, a U.S. State Department representative senior member of the team wants to use the picture to demonstrate an example of a U.S. corporation doing well, doing good in another country. They, of course, agreed that Farah should have the picture. This is our work. You don't have a U.S. based corporation that is global that doesn't make the majority of its income now outside of the United States. This is important for our community to understand that this is a cash flow dialogue. I would like to now transition to the panel and the first speaker as appropriate is Patricia Harris.
MR. HARRIS: Good morning. First I want to say thanks to Ted, my great friend, for inviting me here to join this great panel of CEOs and friends and I'm looking forward to having more dialogue with you.
First, I want to say I bring you greetings from Jim Skinner and Don Thompson who is our CEO and president currently, as well as the entire leadership team around the globe because, as Ted said, we do a lot of work and it's the leaders here that really have bought into what we do and help me make a difference and my team make a difference around the globe. McDonalds' focus is on good food, is on good people and good neighbors. In 119 countries where we serve customers in over 34,000 restaurants every day. In fact, our 1.7 million employees serve approximately 68 million customers a day. And we are very bold about it. Again, you may have heard that Jim Skinner will be retiring at the end of this month and effective July 1, Don Thompson will be taking over the role at McDonald's Corporation. Thank you and I'm very excited about that particularly as I knew him as a kid, a young engineer who came into McDonald's. I was in HR and now he is the CEO. You got to know that makes me feel really good. We are excited. Jim was an awesome CEO and one of my greatest diversity champions and I'm just excited to see what Don is going to do, continue to do as he takes on the leadership role.
I'm very proud, as you can see, here of the other area of the world presidents because they are the ones that have my back and help me do what we have done around the globe, especially Jan Fields. She is the President of McDonalds U.S.A. and she is the person I report to. She actually has 14,000 of those 34,000 restaurants so she is pretty important to me and my team. She chairs the Catalyst Advisory Board. And Congressman Hastings talked about giving people a chance. I think about Jan when he said that because she started at McDonald's as a crew person, right, and so she went directly from -- not directly, from the crew room to board room and we are very proud of her because someone did give her a chance, and we are proud of all she does as my number one diversity champion. I also wanted to share that one of the things that we are very proud of is our franchisees, our suppliers, as well as our employees, which we call our three-legged stool. But the one thing I'm most proud of is McDonald's commitment to D&I and the fact they understand it, they get it; they understand that it makes good business sense because that is how we are able to get as close as we can to our customers every day because they get that, they understand it, and we have been able to do this around the globe.
Because people are D&I, our strength of our brand and business -- we have a long history of supporting over 130 employee business networks around the world. They help us serve good food every day in our restaurants. They help us with good people by helping identify and develop talent and to be good neighbors by giving back to communities we serve every day.
The three elements that have historically made a tremendous difference at McDonald's and continue to be relevant today are management, support, and accountability. We talked about that some this morning and the over 130 employee business networks and our D&I education. The core and the foundation of what we do is the ongoing education that takes place within the organization. Our curriculum is uniquely customized and branded in the cultural context, specific to each audience around the globe. It is as experimental as it is educational. Our workshop facilitators are employees, department heads from various disciplines within our business.
Our signature Black, Hispanic, the Asian gay and lesbian and women's career development workshops along with our intercultural learning lab have been customized and they are localized in the U.S., in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa as well as Canada. In fact, they have been attended and facilitated by everyone from our current President, Don Thompson, including our owner/operators, our franchisees and suppliers. Our initiatives are integrated and executed as part of our core business model and utilizing the three legged stool, that is, our employees, our franchisees and suppliers. The result of our diversity focus in the U.S. in particular: 45 percent of our franchisees are women and minorities and 59 percent of those in training are women and minorities. Also -- at this point we have not or don't track the percentage of franchisees in other areas of the world, but that is to come. Also in the U.S., 67 percent of our food and paper spent is with women and minorities and that is something we are very proud of.
How do we do this? We identify successful business people who are running small businesses to help them grow. And a key to that is to find partners, find those businesses who share our values and our commitment to D&I toward our customers, toward our people and our communities. Our vision is that people with the McDonald's global system are working and living to reach their full potential and that means our employees, our franchisees and our suppliers. As Veronica stated earlier, as we do this it allows them to better serve our customers, when we allow them to contribute their best and give our best. With that, I want to close and say thanks for listening and we will wait for questions. Thank you.
MR. CORLEY: Good morning. My name is Todd Corley and I'm going to do the A&F piece. I left out the short list models on ours but I thought about it. So maybe next time I will do that. I represent 85,000 employees for Abercrombie & Fitch, who are in currently 16 countries and I say countries because we are literally opening up 40 stores this year outside the U.S. By 2015 we expect 50 percent of our revenue to come from outside the U.S. When I think about the A&F journey, to us it is a complicated one and one of great interest to many. The office reports to the chairman and CEO. We have the benefit of co-owning and co-sharing the corporate social responsibility platform. So we are slotted in a way that we think is strategic and moves the agenda forward. We also have looked at, with critical thinking, six ways to move this initiative. We heard earlier on about strategy. Strategy is what you need to do an initiative. If you don't have it, then you just have a job that is really fundraising or event planning, I heard as a comment. That is a true statement.
When we think about what we do at A&F, employee engagement and training and education, those are the platforms where we have the best practices that we think separates us from other organizations.
We put that under the bucket of A&F United. It really has been on marketing and image and branding. You have to brand things. That really means for us being united that moves the initiative, the D&I piece forward.
I will briefly talk about the two pieces that are behind me. The piece on your left, the Facebook piece. So social media and behavioral training for us are the things that we think are the two driving forces that are very unique and we use the platform to communicate daily with our associates about vignettes, about scenarios or challenges you might have or encounter in a customer interaction, employee feedback, whatever it is. We put it out there in a time that is real for them beyond the fact we have required training they all go through, but you have to make sure you have an engaged environment. So our platform is focused on making sure we have a robust conversation. When we last looked at one of the weeks to audit it we added 4700 fans on our Facebook page. This is only the diversity office Facebook page for Abercrombie. This is not Abercrombie. It is our office. We make sure that we are engaged and on the same page. The number of 6 million is what we figured out the last count as friends and fans. In essence, it means these people are connected to the fans, to the however many thousands of fans we have today on our page. During the same week I quoted, May 7 through the 12th, we had a peak of 255,000 unique visitors to our page talking about the initiative, conversations, challenges, vignettes to make sure we push it forward. That for us is a very big deal. Why it is also global is it helps our connectiveness for global audience. People around the world in the same learning room, if you will, for them to understand it.
To look at the training piece, we look at behavioral based learning. So we don't traditionally like to do just platform delivery. We like to look at how we immerse a culture in something. So we actually take professional actors to interview for 85,000 employees, come up with a script and role play it. So imagine if you are all A&F associates, we have a stage here set up, role playing and acting out with behavioral learning the things they are challenged by. We capture them and say, "You can't say that is not you. That is your quote." That is the type of learning we want to happen. It is who our associates are. We also looked at reality theater and reality shows. MTV had a piece a few years ago, "If you really knew me." It explored in high school what kind of things get in the way of people who have differences. We use the theme "If you really knew me," to ask our associates, if you knew me, how do you describe yourself to a fellow associate, a colleague and get to know them. We make sure we immerse our culture in things that matter. And we benefit from that, learning not only inside but also our partnership with Georgetown University, for example where I'm an alum, that houses the first immersion program. Those kinds of partnerships allow us to make sure we are pushing the envelope in a way that is somewhat painful but also provocative. I will end with this slide because it is about the business. When we think about our journey of D&I -- and it was a Hollister brand that is an independent group in Kansas City -- that says what brands are familiar or popular with groups. What we fixed and learned and are happy about, we saw the Hollister that did not appear in 2005 or 2007, but appeared in 2009 and 2011 as a top brand for African-American youth between 8 and 15. Why it is significant? We had 700 stores. In those 700 stores less than 10 percent of our associate population was non-White. That is a true statement. By 2009, 2011 that number increased. That increased by more stores open. By 2009 we had 1100 stores. So between 2009 and 2011 we have 52 percent non-White associates in our stores. It is a trajectory that happens over opening doors.
The last point is most of the stores that are listed here are brands you can buy anywhere. You can buy Rocaware at J.C. Penney. You can't buy Hollister anywhere but Hollister. So it also says the experience inside and helps people feel good about who they are and why they are coming in.
MS. DUARTE: I'm delighted to be here in particular because my flight was canceled. I did figure out a way to get here by various means of transportation by New Jersey. I'm delighted to be here because Citi has a long time relationship with government. We are government contractors so from that perspective we run the continuum of having over 190 Affirmative Action plans but also look with anticipation with the partnership of the soon to be developed offices of minority and women included in several of our federal agencies. A couple of things about Citi, we are 200 years old and celebrating our 200th anniversary. It was founded in 1812 and from that time to today we look forward to providing services that are reflective to the needs of our community. We have a global footprint, serve over 200 million customers and have a long tradition of being one of the longest serving banks within the countries where we operate.
I know some of you are in different areas of the continuum of looking at diversity and inclusion as a strategy. One of the things we often reflected on in our business is about human capital. We are a business that is best when we have the best talent. Our CEO says we are really going to be the best and the most competitive when we are able to recruit from around the world. Talent does not honor ways of demarcation. Talent is everyone and everywhere and we can embed that value around the world. We have an overview of strategy and a deeper dive in our best practices. Our company is in financial services overall. I think it is more recent to the diversity continuum. Many of us started out as government contractors focusing on affirmative action. As Hudson Institute and others encouraged, it started to look as a war for talent and we tried to differentiate ourselves.
Citi moved from a platform of culture and race and identity and has more recently expanded that to include other strands such as the gay lesbian bisexual transgender community and most recently the U.S. veterans where we look across areas where we can create a strong partnership to support men and women who are coming out into civilian life, and the families and partners who are employees we are serving.
What we do across the strands is to address three core areas. We have a focus on recruitment and attracting talent so there are dedicated strategies for that. We also have a focus on leadership development. We recognize that within our industry there is a continued, I think, trend that you do not see the participation rates of women and particularly minorities moving up into most senior management. So it is a bit of a pyramid, a pipeline at the bottom. And then as you look toward the top, the percentages decrease. And thirdly we want to foster an inclusive work environment and a culture of meritocracy. It is something we do through our employee affinitive group. These are employee led and employee initiated groups. We have policies that enable these groups to be recognized and they each have a business champion that supports the group and links it back to business strategy.
One of the things we focused on historically is the representation of women around the world. We have a great opportunity to differentiate ourselves as an employer of choice in this area. In many countries we have been a long time partner. Our pipeline of women from the vice president level, which is middle manager in terms of how we have officer level, is about 39 percent. When you look at managing directors it drops to 18 percent and there are trends and I think issues within and outside our companies that create those obstacles. So we wanted to put our arms around it and created a strategy around the world that is focused specifically on increasing the pipeline of senior management in our Citi women's strategy.
We have four prongs. The idea of serving over 143,000 women, which is 53 percent of our workforce, and enabling those women to really optimize their careers. We are focusing a lot on helping people to have structured career development plans. Within client engagement we recognize the power of building a powerful brand on inclusion of women as a client engagement opportunity. And, as an example, this past March 8, International Women's Day, we held events in 60 countries of which 20 were targeted client events. And lastly we have an opportunity to serve our communities and in partnership with the Calvert Foundation launched a win/win fund, which is women and men investing in women. We think this is a powerful vehicle to bring economic opportunity into the developing markets.
We are always looking at opportunities to align research into practice. One of the things we looked at was this aspect of sponsorship being a differentiator in terms of career mobility and advancement. Some of the research we looked at suggested that White males are 46 percent more likely than women and people of color and other diverse colleagues to have a sponsor. By that I mean someone who is going to put skin in the game and help advance an individual to the next role. So we have paired executive women with executive men and women as their sponsor. We have provided a coach for each of these women and then put them through an assessment in which they get data points about themselves, particularly around executive presence, which is often the unspoken data that people don't receive that holds them back. Through this initiative we have found that we have been able to push women, 70 percent of the participants have advanced to increased responsibility and promotion and 95 percent were retained. This is something we are putting a lot of time and focus into. It is a targeted intervention to try to create more equity in terms of advancement and mobility. I will leave you with this in terms of women investing in women, I'm not supposed to advertise it. Anyone can invest in the Calvert Fund. Again, it's the idea of the responsibility of corporations to build the economies that we are actually hoping to drive and create capital. It is a privilege being with you and I look forward to our conversation. Thank you.
MS. DAGIT: It. Is great to be here with our ‘sparklies’ and allies. I like that word. I never heard of sparklies before. It is a great group of people and great to be here. It is a real privilege. I'm with Merck, which is a pharmaceutical company that is headquartered in White House Station, New Jersey, which is central New Jersey. We have about 85,000 employees. We do business in over 140 countries with annual revenues of over 47 billion. It has been a real privilege for me over the last 11 years as the chief diversity officer to work for a company that literally saves and improves lives. I know the pharmaceutical industry is not treated too kindly by the media but it is the key case.
Januvia for diabetes and Isentris for HIV positive, which literally saved my best friend’s life. Recombivax for Hepatitis B. Gardasil, which is one of the drugs in the world that is certified. If you are not aware it helps to prevent cervical cancer and because it has legal certification, it is considered appropriate within the Muslim population. And Zostavax for those of us getting older and more likely to experience shingles. We have a consumer care division, includes sun care products, over the counter and Dr. Scholls. And then our animal health division, which takes care of livestock and companion animals like my service dog not with me here today. We are still working with her. I have been given the opportunity to talk a little bit about what we are doing at Merck. I want to quickly move to the panel so you have the opportunity to ask some questions.
But the first thing I thought I would share, many of you may be thinking if you are a global organization how can we be truly global. This is a model, how we have gone truly global at Merck in terms of governance. We have a business insight round table. It does not have the word diversity or inclusion in the name. It is a group of nine individuals representing the nine demographic teams that you see there and they are each led by a senior executive leader who is a representative of that group. That makes it possible for individuals like the President of Merck Japan, Tony Alvarez, or the President of our vaccine division, is that underneath each of them is a chief of staff. Another line leader -- who is a high potential director level person again in that demographic group, who spends up to 50 percent of their time in addition to their job, being the spokesperson for this group and helping their line leader to be visible and out there virtually and in person to their demographic within our company on a global basis but also to develop programs and efforts that speak to this population. We focus on three key areas, talent and inclusion, business insight and corporate responsibility.
I'm going to touch on some of the initiatives we have in that space. We also have task force leaders who are also line leaders and spend only up to 5 percent of their time helping with the key focus areas. Again I report to the executive vice president of human resources. But these nine leaders work directly with our CEO Ken Frazier, and they are creating the agenda for how we think about global diversity and inclusion in the three focus areas. This gives you a little bit of a sense of some of the things we are working on and I will touch on these briefly.
So excel, extend, expand and execute is part of our global mantra for the business. What we are contributing toward is health care literacy, which is a very important element of how we address the greater disease burden for marginalized communities, underserved populations. And if we have time today on the Q&A, I will tell you more about that. Merck foremost announced this past fall by our CEO and the UN secretary general a global initiative to reduce maternal mortality. Every day women die needlessly from preventable causes from maternal mortality. Our round table leaders are addressing this in all countries where we do business. And in our talent and inclusion space, we are focusing on some of the same things we have heard other colleagues speak about today in terms of accelerating our ability to have the representation of our workforce at the top of our organization be more reflective of our marketplace.
The other thing I will just briefly touch on we have heard a little bit about this from other allies and people with disabilities. One thing I would encourage you to do if you are just starting to think about, how do we really include people with disabilities in our global diversity effort, is first do a self-diagnosis. Is your organization thinking about people with disabilities in a medical model or context, or a social model? You can imagine in a health care industry there is a tendency to want to be in the medical model. We employ a lot of M.D.s, nurses and pharmacists. In addition, societal culture on a global basis uses some of the terms you see in the medical model. You can imagine how much more that proclivity would be given the nature of our industry. But we have shifted to a social model that defines disability very differently. And I will just give a quick example and then invite our other panelists to come up with Ted. It is interesting to me I have always been visibly a person with a disability. I have always walked with a cane and I'm only four feet tall. So everyone knew I had a disability. But a couple of years ago I started using a wheelchair. You would think I became a make a wish adult. Everyone was really concerned. "Are you okay?" Just a lot of concern. You know what is fascinating about that, I wish I had been using a wheelchair throughout my entire career. That may sound strange given the environmental barriers but I'm always comfortable in the chair I'm sitting in, unlike when I didn't use the wheelchair. I'm safe, because people don't see short people and bump into them all the time. It is easy to carry things and people are more able to help me when I need help rather than tracking them down. The wheelchair is a great enabling device; it is not a deficiency or problem. My only challenge is the fact that the world is not very accessible. I'm going to be retiring from Merck at the end of the year and going into my own business and Ted and I are good friends and I was like, "How much would I be willing to travel in my job?" And he said, "It is not so bad. Say you need to travel business or first class and get drivers and have that part of your business model." To be honest no matter what cabin you travel in, if you are a wheelchair user the world is a challenging place. The problem is not being a wheelchair user, the problem is our environment. So think about it as a social model. I don't have a medical issue. I have a social issue, right. And that is both people with apparent and not apparent disabilities in your workforce and in your customer base, and are you part of the problem or the solution? Being part of the solution is seeing it is a social issue.
MR. CHILDS: We had prepared questions that I was going to ask, but I think in the spirit of respecting time, let's just take your questions. I just want to make one comment, I realized something. Deb's CEO is Ken Frazier. Ken is Black. Pat told you about her CEO to be. Ana's CEO is of Asian heritage. I'm retired from IBM. I hope you know that Ginni Rometty just became the CEO.
[Chorus of Applause]
MR. CHILDS: These are examples of what is happening as a result of talent management processing, that if they are adhered to results can be profound. I saw a hand over here for the first question.
<<<: First I want to acknowledge what an esteemed panel we have here. These individuals as you mentioned, as an example with the CEO, have done extraordinary things around diversity. With that in mind my question is associated with the profession of diversity. Congressman Hastings earlier asked, "Are we there yet?” We know we are not there yet, however, from the profession, from diversity leaders, where do you think we are, and what do we need to do to catapult ahead?
MR. CHILDS: I think everyone will probably want to say something about that.
MS. DAGIT: Well, unfortunately, I am a little bit concerned. On the positive side a trend we are seeing, at least in the private sector, is integrating talent and diversity and that is really giving us a boost to be integrating how we think about succession planning and early talent development, I think in much better ways, so that is a positive sign. The thing that concerns me is that too often individuals who are tasked to do the diversity and inclusion work are not given the resources and tools that they need to be successful. They are thrown into the jobs because they have demonstrated an interest in it and a passion for it, but then they don't have the budget, the head count, the training, the things that they need to be successful. And so I think that we need to do a better job through public and private partnerships of providing affordable tools and resources that are readily accessible so people don't have to reinvent the wheel.
MS. DUARTE: I would ditto what Deb said. The other thing I observed is unlike in many areas across industries, this is a space where people are very willing to foster success transfer. They are willing to share practices, not just to keep it siloed. They are willing because we see -- if I help to support women at Citi, that is not just doing it for Citi. It can be a collective when across industry. You saw many of us are friends here. We are friends because we have been each other's sounding boards and providing wisdom and I think have been very, very generous with sharing strategies and practices. For those who are newer in the space, you enter a community that absolutely wants to support your success.
MR. CORLEY: It is funny, I had this conversation earlier and he said, "I think it is sexy." And I said, "What does that mean?" "Because you get to go to conferences and network with people and do events during the month." I quickly tuned out because for me it is not about that. There are competencies that you need to do this work, to focus on business relevance skills. When I look at D&I, what is the ROI of initiatives inside an organization to do this work? If you are not thinking about it from that perspective, you have to think about it, then your work is not relevant and it is not going to be sustaining and you are going to be passing through this work hoping you have a party next week -- and that is not what this is about. There are competency reports out there and I know Georgetown published one with Georgetown executives and what the competencies are. So find the competencies and know what they are. That is what makes us work differently.
MR. HARRIS: I'm like Todd. Everyone wants to work in my department because they think it is a fun department. And for some reason, I'm like, "You guys don't think we work or what?" What I tell them, my current team, "You have to engage everyone in the process." We are not only responsible for our department. We are responsible for the entire McDonald's Corporation, ensuring everyone is engaged. That is why I say diversity at McDonald's is everyone's business, not just the business of my team members. Our whole thrust is around engaging people, particularly those who are not readily stepping up to the plate, but making sure we are engaging men, women and people of all races because it is about everyone. So that would be my thought, when we say, what is our role as diversity champions, to ensure we include everyone in the journey.
MR. CHILDS: A couple of comments. One, my observation is that in terms of the talent pipeline, because of the focus on Affirmative Action, if you will, and the hiring that took place in the 60s and 70s, we had a pipeline that is retiring and we don't have the pipeline coming behind it for the next generation for Black and Hispanic leadership. So we need to buckle down on that. Secondly, I'm very worried about the educational system, particularly in this country. We have 10 cities that have dropout rates between 50 and 78 percent. I just looked at competitive data for international student assessment, ranks of students in math, science and reading, top 10 countries -- we didn't make the top 10, and half of the countries in each of those three categories are from the Asian community, Singapore is Number 1 in all three categories. Finally, the issue of how you prepare for a diversity career. I had these kids say, "We want to work with you and be like you." And I told them being like me means you don't work for me. I want people with very solid backgrounds in human resources management.
When I sat down and my successor -- Ron is here, both of us. When we sat down with the other HR vice presidents, each of us had managed employment, compensation, benefits, employer relationships, industrial relations, the medical team, each of us had managed each of the aspects of HR. So HR representatives can't say to us, "You don't know what you are doing," because Ron and I had done everything that they had done. Get a foundation in human resources because you are a human resources executive. You are not a diversity executive. One more question. Go.
<<<: Good afternoon, Sheila Robinson, a publisher of Diversity Women's Magazine. My question is while you are doing all the work, preparing opportunities for your employees and leadership in the pipeline, I'm out there trying to provide resources so they are prepared for these opportunities. What are the things that you wish and hope that your employees take the initiative to create -- to develop themselves, not to wait for the organization to say, "You need to do this to prepare for this role"?
MR. CHILDS: I will take a stab at this first. I would like to see more people acquiring language skills. This goes far beyond the United States, but I wish we were not having a debate in America about English as the national language. I think that is one stupid debate. I think we should assume that English is going to be the dominant language in the country and we require American children to speak three languages, all speak English, and Spanish is an important language for communicating and I would hope they would learn to speak a third language. As I travel around the world I meet so many children who speak multiple languages. And we are moving away from a model where the U.S. Labor Department is going to be able to audit you on the employment thing because you are going to put work where you have the greatest access to talent. And a growing factor in assessing what that talent pool is going to be is the number of people who can communicate with the greatest number of people who will be your customers.
MS. DAGIT: Just briefly I took your question more around people who are new entrants to our workforce or early professionals. And one thing I often tell people if they ask me for input is they often want a mentor and a sponsor and they are looking for a program. And really the best way to do it is to have a really -- a lot of clarity of what your learning objectives are and how you can engage in a reciprocal relationship with someone, regardless of their level, to accomplish what you are trained to accomplish that will help you reach your career ambitions. Mentoring needs to teach young people how to find their mentors and sponsors and engage them in a reciprocal relationship. It is not all about give me, give me, give me. It is about I think we can work together and that is part of the diversity solution as well.
MS. DUARTE: One thing I would add, we have a whole initiative around women globally, we found that women were less likely at Citi to say they were global or wanted career advancement and were waiting for people to tap them on the shoulder and say, "We want you to consider the job." So we have been working not only on identifying concrete goals but to be more expressive with leading with a, "Yes, I would like to be considered. I'm interested in the next role." So they are considered as someone who could potentially get in the next role. We hope this will create more advocacy with the women in turn to be considered for roles.
MR. CORLEY: I will just add, an article in the Wall Street Journal today talked about D schools, reference, business schools. I would expect and I hope the generation comes in with more creative thought, a way to design and think through things that is not traditional, and that is what I would focus on.
MR. HARRIS: For me, finally, I just encourage our employees to network more with each other. Utilize the employee business network there. These are not social organizations anymore. We invest a lot in our employee business networks and also do a lot of networking across networks. You know, don't just stay in the women's network or the Hispanic network, but do a lot of networking across networks as well.
MR. CHILDS: Thank you. You have a panel here that represents four industry sectors. That was one of the discussions Lora and I had; we wanted to make sure we had diversity of businesses here. In closing I want to introduce someone to you. I think this is interesting. We are near a government setting and you do do good work in government. I want to introduce our newest member in corporate diversity. It is Ken Barrett. He is the new and first global vice president for diversity at General Motors. General Motors is still a pretty important component of our global business community. Lora, thank you for allowing me to work with you, to ask a group of the colleagues I have who I respect the most to come and spend some time with your government colleagues. I hope what we have shared with you is of value. There are a number of our corporate colleagues in the room. I would encourage you -- Allison Greene from Lincoln Financial, Ron Glover from IBM. I will forget people. But, look, there are a number of business people here who are doing interesting things around the subject -- Heide Gardner -- those interested in the subject of advertising and how a major advertising firm relates to its customers. Thank you, Lora.
MS. BENTON: We are now ready for our next panel on Advancing Diversity within State, USAID and Peace Corps’ Global Work Force, moderated by Ambassador Tracey Jacobson.
TRACEY JACOBSON: Good afternoon. My name is Tracey Jacobson. I've been told in the interest time that we won't have any Q&A after this session. As a State Department employee, I have negotiated for at least one question.
But I'm not going to make long introductions. I'll just briefly say we have a panel now here to switch from the private sector to the government sector, John Robinson, Patricia Lamond, and Earl Yates, and we'll start with John Robinson.
JOHN M. ROBINSON: This is very similar to speed dating.
JOHN M. ROBINSON: Let me just say first, unlike a lot of executives here at the State Department who were born and raised here, this is my sixth time in a government agency and one of the things that I bring to the task here is other perspectives from other federal agencies and federal environments. But I would like to focus on some ways in which we're trying to make being the chief diversity office and officers more effective. One of the first is mastering the culture where you are. Many of us in EEO and diversity folks in the federal government believe that the family that we belong to starts at the Supreme Court, comes down Constitution Avenue, takes a right and goes out to the EEOC headquarters and that's the family that we belong to and we'd be doing the same thing at the State Department as we would at Social Security or the Department of Energy. But it turns out that what makes you effective and what increases your credibility is that you understand the business that you're in. Ours is foreign policy. When I was at the Internal Revenue Service, it was auditing your neighbors. I found myself in an organization where when I was 22 coming out of college I had to decide between going to the military, going to the Peace Corps or going into the ministry. I discovered alcohol and gambling, so… I became a naval officer.
I find myself now as a senior executive with people who when they have the same choice, they decided what they would like to do is what they saw their friends do, and they have had a whole career in one agency, and I was not one of their members. So I had to learn what auditors learned in order to be credible, and at the State Department, that is foreign policy. So there are some things about our culture that I've learned. The State Department is hierarchal and, believe me, everybody in any room knows which tribe you belong to all the way down to your A-100 course that you went to as a new officer at the Foreign Service Institute. They know if you came from the Agency for International Development, the USAID tribe, and somebody knows, not everybody will know, who in the room is undercover and is actually a member of our intelligence community, our brethren. There may be some here. But I'm not asking you to stand up.
JOHN M. ROBINSON: After modeling the culture, then you have to ignore the culture. Say that again. Every federal agency thinks it's special and they all are. However, in order to have equity and inclusion, we have to master the culture but not be captured by it. We have to be counted on to be honest and to speak up and to speak truth to power. That's our main value. None of us have big budgets but we do have big credibility. If you join my staff, you have to sign a loyalty agreement that you will abide by your work, and that will be fairness in inclusion, solving problems at the lowest level, speaking to each other, being cordial and everybody shows respect and we say to you when you come on board if you know there is some category of people that you don't like, Hispanic, Jews, gays, don't join us because you will be out of step and you'll end up being fired, graded lowly, so let's just get all of that up front. You have to manage your own talent. In federal agencies and maybe in other places some people end up in the EEO office, they end up in the EEO offices and diversity offices rather than choosing to be there. I interviewed some former HR directors and asked did you ever send somebody to an EEO office because they couldn't get along with other people and you couldn't figure out how to solve their case? Each of them said yes. They might not have said that if they were still working, but they were retired so they had no reason to lie. We had to manage -- my neighbor job is a personnel officer. I have to make sure that people who come on board are not only motivated but talented and willing to learn and grow even more. I know I'm running out of time quickly, so I'll cover this last part. Diversify your product lines...the EEOC will make sure that we know the latest case and we will not be evaluated on the legal wisdom of our agency's decisions. We will be evaluated on how well we treat people when they come into our office. So we have our own customer service initiative which is not something that's taught by the court, but something that we have to learn for ourselves.
Second, you have two articles in your folder and I would ask you to take a look. One is leadership at the top and another is the business case for diversity. David King, is David with us now? The author of the business case for diversity? These are part of something that are called 2011 diversity reader. Is Mariel Verde here? She was, and she'll be back.
So we took these 27 articles, every month in State Magazine, we have another article. We aren't just trying to reach the people who are here, we're trying to reach our State Department people in over 200 countries so we have something to put in their hands that lets them know we're trying to help them do a better job including with some topics that they might not normally associate with our office. We try to make these articles interesting, well written. My name appears on the articles but they're not all mine. Other people are the first drafters and that's one of the reasons why we reprint them. So learn your culture, then ignore your culture, modify your product line. Be a gate keeper for excellent talent. And I'll leave it at that.
TRACEY JACOBSON: Thank you.
PATRICIA LAMOND: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Patricia Lamond from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Just as background, USAID has a long history of extending a helping hand to people overseas, advancing U.S. foreign policy and political interests, and reflecting the American people’s passion and support for human dignity. We do this through agriculture, democracy and governance, economic growth, the environment, education, health, global partnerships and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries to provide a better life for folks. At the beginning of this administration, the agency's leadership recognized the need to place a greater emphasis on commitment to obtaining a diverse workforce, an inclusive workplace. As well the leadership has placed emphasis on leadership development, exactly what we do. Because diversity and inclusion are at the core of what we do and how we extend a helping hand on behalf of the American people. We really have embarked on this path, so we have broadened the scope of what was a very I would say myopic approach to EEO, very compliance-oriented, by establishing the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity and we're working on building our capacity, not just in Washington, but in our missions overseas with not only our foreign service officers, but our foreign service nationals as well. The director of the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity serves as the agency's chief diversity officer and reports directly to the administrator and the agency has revitalized its executive diversity council. It's chaired by the deputy administrator. As a matter of fact, I just came from a meeting with him an hour ago and he's very, very involved. The OCRD director is the co-chair and it's comprised of around a dozen senior agency executives who are champions for our diversity and inclusion strategies and initiatives. We also discuss and agree on opportunities to use the administrator's initiative fund, which is a separate fund that's not budgeted for through my office.
As part of our infrastructure development for diversity and inclusion, we're launching a new HR system next week and then following that we're going to have data validation. We discovered that we have problems with our workforce data so we really don't know where we need to do most of our work. We have some general ideas, but we really want to drill down into the data and do some more barrier analysis. We're working on an all-employee survey, again, around diversity -- identifying diversity and inclusion activities. We have found that the federal employee viewpoint survey only reaches about 30% of our employees because of the diversity among our employment categories. And then one of our administrators launched our agency objectives, USAID forward, and one of those key components is our talent management. So in order to attract the best people who reflect global diversity and share one common trait and that is the ability to be innovative problem-solvers.
We have brought several senior officials on board to promote inclusion in our development programming. We have a senior coordinator for gender equality and women's empowerment. We have a senior coordinator for inclusive development, and private-public sector folks engage in this, and we have an LGBT coordinator who is focusing on LGBT issues in our programming from a human rights perspective. As federal employers in response to the President's executive order had to develop a strategic plan for diversity inclusion and ours focused on three goals: Workforce diversity, and among the items we have targeted is establishing partnerships. One step that we're particularly happy to work on this year is the new Donald Payne fellowship and that's for the purpose of bringing more diversity into our foreign service. And we'll be doing some targeted recruitment in that arena. And then workplace inclusion...we have significantly increased the role of our affinity groups and we're having those folks more engaged with our leadership. We have established conversations on diversity, so we, again, get the employees more engaged.
We implemented a pretty comprehensive mentoring program where we're targeting for this year 400 foreign service nationals to be mentored and then also sustainability and leadership. We have the EDC as I mentioned. And then we're mandating EEO and diversity training and for all of that we're creating a dash board so that we can hold organizations and individuals accountable. So you see we are moving forward. With thanks.
EARL YATES: Good afternoon. It's my pleasure to represent Peace Corps and be part of this panel with USAID and State Department to talk about very important matter of how federal agencies go about the business of ensuring that they have diverse and inclusive workforces and ways of doing business and going back to what Dr. Wilson said at the start of the day -- for Peace Corps, what could be more important than the fact that diversity and inclusion are mission-critical imperatives. Peace Corps just celebrated 50 years last year and over 50 years in 139 countries around the world, 200,000 volunteers have served supported by their in-country staffs and headquarters staffs and we continue to do that in about 75 countries with 9,000 plus operating in the field. It's absolutely critical that we represent the diversity of the United States. The three goals of Peace Corps as established in 1960 will remain the same. The first is to help the men and women in countries that invite us there to move their own economic and social development through empowering through training and partnership in undertaking projects. The second is to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the people in those countries and communities. And the third is to help promote a better understanding of other peoples of the world by Americans by returning volunteers and staff and to be able to achieve those second two goals which are as important as the first, our volunteers, our staff, must represent the diversity of the United States.
We are presently as are the other federal agencies engaged in the effort to respond to the President's executive order and to develop an agency strategic plan on diversity and inclusion. We have done that. Our diversity task force actually existed before the executive order came along and we were already in the process of marshaling the forces in a volunteer kind of way of staff up and down our scale and across the spectrum to get at the issues of diversity and inclusion as they affect our staff in the U.S. and around the world. But just as a perspective, Peace Corps is -- we like to think we have a well-earned reputation around the world but we are a small agency. We have fewer than 900 staff, probably the size of some departments in your agencies. But it's no less important that we achieve the goals that we all share of mastering diversity and inclusion as mission critical. So we're doing that and in early July we'll join AID on July 10th in the OPM round tables in which we'll exchange information on how we're doing, how we share best practices and as we refine our own plan and I'll plan very much as AID does: we will have goals that are about identifying the professionally prepared folks, from the best and the brightest from all of our communities, from volunteer positions, for doing training in-house of our own managers and our own staff about how to be comfortable with, how to go about this business of including and not excluding and how to do it in a way that -- where it's not always a hard investigation, where it's not filled with some sort of a discussion of who loses or who wins.
The very important thing, Grace Ross who is here today and our diversity program manager came to us as a career officer from other agencies, military and civilian, and the office has the possibility of compliance with equal employment opportunity regulations and laws, and she does that as a specialty area, but she thinks very broadly about that and had no difficulty -- in fact, led us in our thinking on the notion that it's not about the numbers. It is about -- indeed about making sure that we are identifying, attracting, getting on board, supporting and getting the best out of our volunteers and staff in that very short time that Peace Corps has them. Volunteers serve tours of 27 months. Peace Corps has limited tours of duty of five years, so we have got to be good and we have got to be good fast and we take very seriously and welcome the initiative from the President and the guidance that OPM provides for us to achieve this mission-critical objective.
Let me conclude that it's very important for us to get it right. If you work in any federal agency, you work with folks who are returning Peace Corps volunteers, returning country staff, returning headquarters staff -- one of our leadership development academy presentations recently made the point that if we don't get it right, it has impact throughout the federal government. So we look to partner with all the other agencies. In doing that, we learn from governmental organizations, from private sector organizations, we value partnerships. We hope this is the start of being in ongoing contact with organizations from all of those sectors as we get better at doing what we're doing -- to impact those people for the short time that we have them. Thank you for this opportunity.
TRACEY JACOBSON: Thank you. In the interest of time I'm not going to make a presentation, but just a note about the training piece. I think most federal agencies have a one or two-day course that may be mandatory for supervisors on diversity and inclusion, but that's really not sufficient. At FSI, we have a leader ship school started by Colin Powell on the principle that if you want people to rise to leadership skills, you should teach those skills. So we do have mandatory leadership training at every level and every one of those courses has a diversity element in it. When people comes to us from the foreign service or civil service for the first time early in their career, those courses are mandatory and they have diversity and inclusion conversations built into them. These are supposed to be iterative courses, so over time, the presentations become more and more advanced and by the time we get to deputy chief or ambassadors for example, we're having very good conversations not only about promoting diversity, but leveraging diversity for policy success. We're able to do this throughout our curriculum because we have a very strong and robust partnership with John Robinson's office and I think we all need to think about going forward, how it is that we build that kind of diversity promotion into our training. Oh, we don't see it as a stove pipe issue. We really see diversity as a leadership issue and that's how we teach it. So we'll start -- we negotiated one question, and maybe we could have two.
>> Yes, Ron Davis with Parks Casino. Let me commend you again for a great presentation. As a person who is not in government, I'm just fascinated by the whole process. One of the things I'm fascinated by because I'm not government, how do you operate? And I say that because every four years you stand the specter of change. Unlike a lot of our business, which in some ways is tactical. You know strategically you have to actually ride the crest of whoever is in office. Two questions, one, how do you deal with that? And two, what are your changed thoughts as you go forward? And I guess a third question is what's the turnover in government when senior government turns over, what's the percentage and how do you deal with that also? Thank you.
JOHN M. ROBINSON: I'll take a stab at some of that. First is that there are safeguards in government transitions. As a senior executive, I'm aware that there is a 90-day moratorium before you can be fired and moved out by new people who come in. Gives them a chance to settle down and settle in. We rely on the EEOC, provide guidance and protection through processes and cases. You talked about the other secret weapon, we have alliances with each other as Tracey said so that we're able to collaborate and keep things going regardless of what winds of change seem to appear at the top and our focus has to be on our customers. We have to manage and operate a 360-degree deal. Not just please the people who are above you, but figure out how to take care of your own troops, your own students. The Foreign Service is going to be here and we have been in business since George Washington. And we will be in business regardless of who's in the White House. That's our posture.
EARL YATES: Peace Corps is protected by the fact that we remain the same, we act, say what we'll do and we do that -- yes, we're affected by different administrations but the core of what we do remains. Our volunteers in the field work on the country teams and on the other side of it the ambassador and embassies, aid missions are all very supportive and enable what we do, but allow what we do without regard to variation and policy of the day.
JOHN M. ROBINSON: It's great when you can get a Secretary Clinton and a Secretary Powell. But we have to be prepared and ready for when we don't.
PATRICIA LAMOND: I would add one other thing. One thing we have going for us now is that before from the EEO standpoint, we took our direction exclusively from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the most part, but now we have the Office of Personnel Management engaged in diversity and inclusion initiative. So that partnership has been very dynamic and I think it's going to allow us to have more sustainable initiatives.
TRACEY JACOBSON: One more question.
>> A two-part question. One is when you have training programs at FSI, or National Defense University or the Kennedy School or the military academies, and you say that you give, you have conversations or modules about diversity, if a student does not do well in those modules, are they still passed in that course? That's the first question. The second half of the question is that the Director General, the most senior person in the Foreign Service said that the numbers for African Americans were lower now than they were 15 or 30 years ago. Now, if we're going to be prescriptive about what we can do to make things better, it seems to me we have to be analytic and explain why we face the conditions that we have faced today. So could the panel explain why the numbers have either remained stagnant or gone down or are not the levels that you would hope to be if you really believe that these things must be mission critical?
TRACEY JACOBSON: I can address the training piece. We don't have pass-fail courses. The real test is when you get to back to your office and how well do you do. When I say conversation, let me be more descriptive than that. Our leadership courses include an element of 360 where the students have to go out in advance and collect 360 surveys from subordinates, peers and supervisors and that is part of what they do in the course. It's not just group sessions and lectures. It's a little bit of coaching, personal thinking about how you're perceived by the people that you work with. And that's something that they take with them to their assignment. What we do instead of a test is we do surveys right at the end of the course. Then we go back to employees and their supervisors, three to six months later to see how they're doing.
The real test of course is in the promotion precepts where diversity is very clear, diversity leadership is addressed. I chaired a promotion panel last year and this is not only in the promotion precepts, but it's something that the promotion boards take very seriously and if somebody is not showing leadership in a diversity promotion area, they are really not looked at favorably in terms of advancement.
JOHN M. ROBINSON: I don't know if anyone else wants a piece of the action on the recruitment part, but what I can say is that what Patty talked about the new alliance, essentially the end of the 100 years of war between EEOC and the Office of Personnel Management is extremely important to help us in our recruitment effort. We have different parts of the State Department that work on it. There is not a single person up here who has a job title "recruiter." What the White House has mandated is that we will have to connect all of our dots and we will have to do exactly what your question suggests. We'll have to be totally analytic, not just for your section, but look at the whole thing. So we have invigorated a new diversity governance council. There is a woman in the back of the room who is our ombudsman and these are our assistant secretaries chaired by the Secretary of Management who is responsible for everything that moves practically in the State Department and to whom the Director General reports. So he will be overseeing that and I think that when you take another snapshot of the State Department you will see a different profile because all the dots will be connected and I think we'll be moving right in sync.
PATRICIA LAMOND: And I would just echo for USAID, we can looking at analytics, starting with new data, validating our data to make sure we're looking at the right thing so we can move forward appropriately.
CHERYL BENTON: Thank you so much. This was a great panel. Can you please join me in thanking them for their presentations.
CHERYL BENTON: Our next panel is going to be on minority contracting. It will be Kevin Davis from the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Businesses at USAID (presenting for Kimberly Ball) and Shapleigh Drisko, Director of Small and Disadvantaged Business at Department of State. And our moderator, Shawn Ricks, is a Senior Advisor on Global Affairs at the Minority Business Development Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Then right after this, we'll break for lunch.
SHAWN RICKS: That puts us in a very dangerous place, where we're the only thing standing between you and lunch. We have already been advised in order to keep us on track with time today, we unfortunately will not be able to take any questions at the end of the session, but obviously during the lunch period and throughout the rest of the day, feel free to stop any of us. I am just new in my capacity as Senior Advisor for the Minority Business Development Agency. I've spent 20 years with the International Trade Administration prior to this position. I'm excited. I loved everything that I have heard thus far. I see myself as a hybrid at this point. For those of you who work for the federal government, the ink has not dried on the transfer from my new assignment, so I'm wearing two hats. So I'm doing my part to represent diversity within the federal government because I am in senior management for the International Trade Administration as well as my new capacity within BDA, so as a woman and African American, I am checking off four boxes for diversity within the federal government at the Department of Commerce.
I would also just like to make a very quick point about the focus of this panel. We have talked all morning and we're very aware about some of the challenges that we face in terms of inclusion and diversity. That's including in contracting opportunities in the international sphere. But what we would like to focus on today is to take advantage of the expertise that we have on the panel to highlight those challenges, but mostly use the very limited amount of time that we have to focus on some of the resolution that we may have to some of those challenges and best practices that are available.
With the Minority Business Development Agency, we do traditionally focus on helping minority-owned firms in the domestic capacity but there is a newly-reinvigorated focus on helping minority firms take advantage of the global opportunities that are available and we plan to do that by working much closely with the International Trade Association, with the State Department in a number of different capacities through the various free trade agreements and with our counterparts at the State Department, USAID, because we feel that in all of these areas, by working together we are creating more opportunities, and more focus on jobs which every agency will tell you at this particular time with the dynamics going on within our economy, that job growth is obviously one of the top priorities. So at this time, I would like to turn it over and Shapleigh.
SHAPLEIGH DRISKO: As a small business advocate, you know, I come by this -- what was it? About 22 years worth of working in small business contracting. Shortly after coming off of active duty, I worked for an agency called the SBA, Small Business Administration and I bumped into my colleague here -- who was at that point, what was it – in a clerk kind of position, and I am a strong believer in finding strong talent and Kevin is proof of what happens when you give somebody who has initiative and a whole lot of capacity an opportunity to grow and development himself. Now, looking at -- all things aside, looking at federal contracting and how it can be used to further diversity and inclusion… it has since its inception maintained and diverse and is broad and industrial based of the federal economy as possible. The preamble for the small business act of 1953, you know, I'm not making this stuff up.
Looking at that goal, it allows us to have many small businesses operating so we don't end up with all of our eggs in one basket. We don't end up in a position where, you know, God forbid push comes to shove that the only supplier with a particular good or service happens to be in a country that maybe we're not being quite so friendly with at the time. Not a good position for anybody to be in. When we have the capacity within the American economic base that means that we can get as much of the stuff that we need from American sources.
While with the Small Business Administration, I was working with the aid program over there which is kind of the grandfather of all the small business, minority development programs that government has come up with. It is not uncommon that we have visitors from members of the diplomatic community, other embassies who would come in and say okay, how does this program work? You know, is this something that we can use ourselves? The answer is simple, yes. Using available programs that the federal government has come up with, various industry sectors that the government has come up with, adapting them to the needs of your specific organization -- entity or country and then, you know, taking advantage of the good parts of the program, rebrand it so that it's got your own name on it or whatnot. But that is a definite way that you can accomplish your goal to be a broad industrial based one, be it building up particular sectors of your economy, fostering growth within certain socioeconomic sectors of your population.
Basically what we have done here within American small business contracting, the goal is take the small businesses, help them become more successful. Firms that are owned by socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, give them a chance. And then other groups that have not had a level playing field, for example firms that are located in hub zones, historically underutilized business areas. Women-owned businesses, service or disabled veterans, give them the opportunity to grow their business, what they do in that is hire other folks and it's a synergistic effect that there is not a down side...okay. Well, that in a nutshell. This is something that will work here. It does work here in the U.S. It is something that is imminently exploitable in just about any form or fashion. I'll throw some quick numbers at you: small business for the Department of State of our domestically performed contracts for fiscal year '11, about $3.9 billion that we spent on whatever it was we spent it on. $1.3 billion of it went to American small businesses. That's not good enough for anybody on the staff or good enough for management. They want it higher and we're actively working on doing that. We're actively working on having the program offices, the SESs, the political appointees in charge of the functional areas of the department take direct ownership in surpassing the minimal goals. And that will facilitate the success of their particular mission. It will also significantly increase the department's performance and fostering the growth of American small businesses across all the demographics. Over to Mr. Davis:
KEVIN DAVIS: Hello, everybody. Again, I'm Kevin Davis. I'm filling in for our Deputy Director, Kimberly Ball. I support the USAID and small business offices, as one of the business specialists. You can mention all of the higher level foreign policy objectives we have to include all businesses including the minority businesses, hub zone, service disabled veterans in our implementation of procurement reform and I encourage all of you to go on our website, USAID.gov to take a look at that. From my point of view and what I focus on at work is to include firms. I encourage the firms to provide input so when our agency has a source that's sought or any requirement in our forecast, we need the firms to communicate with us so we can include them.
Our office has been very successful with sources sought, having capability statements come from the business community to demonstrate that small businesses actually can perform this requirement, whether it's domestic or one of our foreign programs and this is where our office needs to have ammunition, to justify to include firms that historically have not been included in certain procurements. So that's win of the biggest things that your community can do to help our office to meet all of our objectives.
One of the other things, just like Mr. Drisko had mentioned, all of the federal business programs, whether it's the service disabled veteran program or the women's program to just setting aside partial or full small business set aside procurements. One of the gentleman had a question earlier about accomplishing goals every time there is an administration change and I would like to address that. In the contracting community once the administration changes, you should see that as an opportunity for more contracts to be met to address some of the new initiatives that come along with that change. So when something like that actually happens, engage the small business office. Get us involved and let us know specifically what you provide and I have to tell a lot of firms that with a lot of international agencies you really have to drill down and narrow down skill specific capabilities to match what it is we're actually doing in our programs overseas. Not to say that we're not doing a lot of the services and products that most U.S. government agencies purchase from U.S.-based organizations, we all have the mail room services, the courier services as well as the shuttle services.
One of my personal initiatives is to include a lot of the American businesses in our actual foreign development. So -- and I know that was real quick. I'm here on short notice. You see my name is written in.
KEVIN DAVIS: That is one of the key initiatives that Secretary Clinton started as she became the Secretary of State here, as defined in the QDDR review of the mission postures, goals, basically what the department is, where it is going, how it's going to get there. And it gets down to the detail mechanic level. One of the tenants of that or one of the goals, you know, on that, is to increase the level of American small businesses performing in foreign affairs funded acquisitions. These are the contracts that we use for the work that we do with other countries and outside the American homeland.
The Agency for International Development goes quite a bit further within their portion of that as to just how they're looking at doing that. But this is -- it's indicative of how this Secretary has been very forward thinking in all aspects of how to put the best foot forward for what America is and what it represents and what it can be and to show by doing. Put the American business out there. Collateral benefit, more business working, more jobs, more people hired, more growth. Everybody wins. Thank you.
SHAWN RICKS. And since we actually have a few moments, there were a couple of relevant statistics that I had wanted to share at the opening. Every minority-owned firm and I'm sure everyone in the room knows this, does not necessarily mean that it's small and I think it's very important to distinguish that even though they may be underrepresented, it doesn't necessarily mean that they have not had a great deal of profitability and success domestically, but we're also looking at the international level. Minority-owned firms add $1 trillion to the output of the economy and create 5.9 million jobs, so they are very significant in terms of their contributions. Minority firms are more likely to have a global operation in comparison to nonminority firms representing 14 of the 19 top industry sectors internationally. Minority owned firms out-pay the growth of nonminority owned firms when it comes to paid employment. They grew by 27% from 4.7 million to 5.9 million and that's compared to nonminority firms who only saw a 4.3% increase. Yeah, with those statistics in comparison between minority owned firms and nonminority owned firms seeing a growth -- their population representation is 31% in 2007. Yet we only held 22% of all the classified firms, only 9% of the firms gross receipts and over 10% of employment overall in the United States. So you can see there is a great disparity even though minority owned firms are twice as likely to export when it comes to practical terms, they're still underrepresented so it's very important that we have programs like they have with the State Department, like they have with USAID and that they get the technical assistance and support from agencies like the International Trade Administration and the Minority Business Development Agency. So we thank you very much for your time.
>> Just one question. Real quick. Does that include military spending?
>> That does not include military spending, so, again -- but what I can tell you is if you were to -- if minority owned firms were on point for the growth that they're seeing, you would have an additional 2.4 million additional firms in the United States and you would have over $8.1 million represented in terms of growth that you would see among employees and so, again, it's very important when we're talking about U.S. policy in recognizing that minority firms play a key role in our economic success in the future, so we can't ignore that sector, just going back to what we continued to say most of the morning, that the numbers definitely support that it's not just a good thing to do, but if we're all going to be successful both domestically and as well as internationally, that we have to make sure that minority firms take advantage of opportunities both domestically as well as on a global level. Thank you.
MR. MAGGIO: Within my bureau I am the special advisor for the office of the U.S. national contact appointee for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and I know that is a mouthful. Our team is tasked for furthering the effectiveness of the guidelines as we do our engagement of the embassies, private sector and civil society and other stakeholders. The guidelines are non-legally binding standards and principles for responsible business conduct addressed by the 40 OEC countries. To multinational enterprises operating from or in their countries, the guidelines cover a broad range of subjects related to corporate citizenship. And in the context of inclusion and diversity, the guidelines contain chapters with human rights and employment with specific language recommending that global operations of multinational enterprises should pay particular attention to respect human rights, and guided by the principle of nondiscrimination and employment with vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities, as well as race, gender, sexual orientation, HIV or other status. You can see that's broad. Diversity and inclusion therefore are among the issues that my bureau incorporates with the engagement of business. My colleague, Nancy, who leads the Secretary of State's annual award for corporate excellence -- secretary's annual award for corporate excellence program, the ACE Award will provide you with more details about that program and more about my bureau's other public/private partnership activities at one of the workshops that she is facilitating this afternoon. And now I'm going to introduce our panelists and ask each of them to tell us something about their work in relation to diversity and inclusion in public/private partnerships. I will begin with Jim Thompson. Jim is the director for global partnership initiatives here at the department of state.
MR. THOMPSON: Thank you, Frank. Nice to meet all of you. Thank you for coming. My name is Jim Thompson. I'm with the Secretary's Office Working on Global Partnerships here at the Department of State. And it is really exciting to see the list of people who are here today. I actually recognize some of your names on the list. I'm happy to talk about the public/private partnerships we are doing. I will answer more of the diversity aspect in the question and answer period as opposed to in this opening. I would like to actually say the Secretary of State is committed to partnerships and she is committed to diversity. And in our office we actually happen to be a happy instance where we are able to work on both. So the Secretary founded our office three years ago to build public/private partnerships and it is to bring others into our space working on diplomacy as well as development and we do outreach to corporations, foundations, private sector individuals, faith-based groups and more. And we are really excited to be here today talking about the partnerships that we are doing and I'm going to talk about two specific partnerships: one is a diaspora engagement program and one an LBGT program that we have just launched following the secretary's remarks in December in Geneva.
Importantly on public/private partnerships it is the wave of the future, definitely something the Secretary of State sees as important. It is being done across the U.S. Government. This is not a passing fad. We actually have a good track record of doing these things. From our office alone we have over 800 partners identified. We have launched -- we have a database with about 2000 private/public partnerships. This is something that is real. It is something that is still fairly new, its relevancy and the way the government approaches business. It is definitely the wave of the future. With that I will turn it to Greg.
MR. MAGGIO: Next is Matthew, director of policy, the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs at the State Department.
MR. LUSSENHOP: The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs or ECA, as we call it, is charged with using educational and cultural exchange to build mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and peoples overseas in the pursuance of U.S. foreign policy goals. So we have a very broad mandate. We are a functional bureau of the State Department. We have our own congressional appropriation. We have well over 120 different exchange programs, academic, cultural professional, some of the flagship programs you have probably heard of such as the Fulbright Academic Exchange, which comes under ECA management. We are all about moving people, people from the United States overseas and from overseas to the United States. And for a long time diversity has been a key goal in our recruitment of people to participate in these exchanges. We want to oversee and present a realistic and diverse picture of the United States. So we spend a lot of time recruiting underserved audiences both overseas and in the United States. In overseas recruitment of candidates we particularly search out non-elites from ethnic or religious minorities. in the pursuance of providing opportunities for education and advancement they might not otherwise get. In any number of programs, private sector partnerships have been a crucial element in expanding the reach of programs, expanding the size of our network and when we have been able to do that with partnerships -- expanding the size of our network and expanding outreach has resulted in greater diversity of our participant base both in the United States and overseas.
MR. MAGGIO: Our next speaker is Kimberly McClure. She is the deputy director of the 100,000 Strong Initiative at the Department of State.
MS. McCLURE: I just want to say I'm actually a Foreign Service officer. I have been in for nine years. I'm a product of one of the Department's strongest efforts to increase diversity in Foreign Service. I came in from the Thomas R. Pickering and the Charles Bucks Wrangler fellowship program. These two programs have put 600 officers either in the pipeline or brought them on board in the Foreign Service by paying for their education and guaranteeing them a job in the Foreign Service. It is an example of something we have done really well. I want to mention it because I don't recall the programs being mentioned earlier. My job here today is to talk about President Obama's 100,000 Strong Initiative. It is an initiative aimed to increase significantly the number of Americans studying abroad in China; not just to increase the overall number of students studying in China, but also to increase the types of students who have access to study abroad programs in China. People ask why all the emphasis in China -- I will say there is a second 100,000 Strong Initiative at the department that focuses on Latin America and Caribbean. The one I work on is China. People ask why such a big focus on one country, China. Secretary Clinton says China represents our most complex and bilateral relationship. It has the second strongest economy in the world, it is the United States’ second largest trading partner. And there is this myth in the media that China's rise represents a great threat to the U.S. Secretary Clinton has said we reject that view. Actually she says it presents great opportunity for the United States. But the difference between it being an opportunity or threat is whether or not we prepare our next generation to engage constructively in that relationship. So that is what the 100,000 Strong Initiative to China is designed to do. It is a public/private initiative, which means that it has been incubated here in the Department of State and is managed out of the State Department, but is fully funded by the private sector. It is a model that has worked today. We have raised 15 million-dollars. Citi Group and Deloitte are represented here today. So thank you for that. Also the reason this is so critical goes back to what speakers were saying earlier today, China sends 10 times the number of students to the U.S. that we are sending to China, and over six times the number of Chinese are learning English, as Americans are learning Chinese. And it goes back to Ernie Wilson's point of cultural competence. We cannot sit back and expect everyone to learn English and not think this has an impact on the way we do business or diplomacy overseas. So that is what I work on. I will talk in the Q&A about specific diversity initiatives that we have that involve outreach to underserved students and to HBCU and Hispanic students.
MR. MAGGIO: Thank you, Kim. And the last speaker is George Selim, who is director of Community Partnerships at the National Security Staff at the White House.
MR. SELIM: Thank you, Greg, and all the folks at the State Department who helped put this together, all the time that goes into that. I'd like to take time to thank you. When I think of the National Council and the National Security Staff at the White House, the words "community partnership" are not usually the first two words --
[Chorus of Laughter]
MR. SELIM: That usually gets a laugh. I'm glad it does here as well. A newly formed office. It is now called the National Security Staff, the body of people who advise the President and Vice President on international security decisions for the White House. It is an honor to serve there and be part of the forum. The new office, the Community Partnership Directorate, brand new came together in January of the past year. I'm the first director of the office. Our focus is to optimize U.S. Government collaboration with a range of partners, particularly in the homeland, to support our national security mission priorities. Partnerships provide opportunities for perspectives, skills, tools and resources that can enhance our ability to address a range of policy priorities from reducing poverty to improving education, to protecting our country from national disasters as well as terrorist attacks. The underlying principal for the work we do, why the office was founded and why we are in the space is the approach that government alone is insufficient to address the complex policy and programmatic challenges we face on a day-to-day basis. We need to work with nongovernmental actors as well to help address those things, to build expertise and leverage collaborative actions, improve our mutual performance and shared goals. This is the thesis behind what we are doing, the way forward that better reflects the national security environment, I think both in the U.S. and the world around us today. Diversity in partnership is part of the way the national security workforce will be doing business from here on out. Looking forward to engaging with you all on these issues.
MR. MAGGIO: Thank you all for the succinct comments. It helps because now we can move into question and answer. I think you have an idea of what I will ask, but I will begin now. I am going ask we devote five minutes per question. The first one I would like to ask you all: What do you believe are the most effective types of public/private partnerships and what specific issues relating to diversity and inclusion do you see as key for making partnerships sustainable and effective to address important U.S. foreign policy objectives?
MS. McCLURE: In our experience the most effective collaborations have been the ones that combine not only government with the private sector, but also academia, the nonprofit sector and even a little bit of celebrity juice. Just to give an example. I mentioned we raised 15 million-dollars thus far, two million of that has gone specifically to programs to send underserved high school students to China. We did that in partnership with a couple of celebrities, including Will.I.Am and John Legend, he did a big concert to raise awareness and get companies on board to support it. It is a good example to get the government to lead an effort and companies to sign up and combine it with celebrities to raise the profile and in a lot of cases bring attention to the students who come from underserved backgrounds, and have celebrities that look like them tell them how important it is to engage in this type of environment.
MR. THOMPSON: I think partnerships where we are able to put out a challenge are the most successful, particularly where we are able to challenge communities to work together with us. So two of the programs I mentioned earlier; one, our diaspora program has real relevance for the United States overall. Sixty-two million people in the United States are either first or second generation Americans. So literally 1/5 of our population are either first or second generation Americans. It is a huge resource, an untapped resource for the United States in doing our diplomacy and development works. The resources they sent home dwarf our public assistance by four to one. So their impact is huge, the impact these communities are having in the countries of historic origin. So we have embarked on creating a new international diaspora engagement alliance, otherwise known as IDEA. We are really good with acronyms. One thing that is perfected. It basically creates a platform for companies, foundations, and government to work together with diaspora groups. And we just got the platform launched this past year at a diaspora conference. We are having a second round in July and there is a website set up for it. Be sure there is a Facebook page. We are embracing social media and networking on the new platform.
Following on what my colleague was saying, our diaspora are our best representatives as our citizen diplomats. One of things we launched in coordination with the diaspora program is a diaspora core. We will be sending students to countries of origin to be citizen diplomats. I will weave in here too our focus on LGBT rights. I know my colleague sneaked in and is sitting way in the back. Hi Mark. This is an exciting new program we have launched here and all about diversity. The Secretary of State has been very passionate about the issue and says human rights are gay rights. Our focus on that program is on advocating justice, supporting NGO groups abroad work on LBGT rights and increasing the public dialogue. This is a place where we need more support through a public/private partnership that we have developed, the global equality fund that is now out and we are looking for companies, foundations to join this effort with us.
MR. MAGGIO: Thanks, Jim. Matt, do you have something to say and George?
MR. LUSSENHOP: I guess part of the answer is in the question, in terms of the sustainable. We have a lot of partnerships, a lot of one-off events. Those have their use but a really well thought out partnership is one that has sustainability built into the planning. I can point out one of our current partnerships is a program we call Tech Women in which our embassies recruit female entrepreneurs and business people from currently the Middle East region. We have done a lot of outreach to the private sector in Silicon Valley and research triangle to pair those people with American mentors and partners. And what we brought to it is a networking that we can do at our embassies on the ground in the Middle East, and what the private sector brings to it is the expertise on cutting edge technology, which quite frankly, the State Department will never have.
[Chorus of Laughter]
MR. LUSSENHOP: That is another element of it, is taking the strengths of both partners. From the Department side it is network of Embassy and Foreign Service personnel with local staff and Americans who have the great networks and great people, and linking them with opportunities that we can help leverage with the private sector.
MR. MAGGIO: Kim wanted to make one more point and then I'm going to open the floor to questions from the audience.
MS. McCLURE: I wanted to mention one of our upcoming diversity initiatives. Last month Secretary Clinton announced a call to activity to all presidents of historically Black colleges and universities to double the number of students they are sending to China over the next few years. We have partnered with the Thurgood Marshall fund in a campaign to raise funds for students to study abroad in China. We are looking for corporate partners. I want to put this out there as an opportunity to engage with us on that.
MR. MAGGIO: We would like to take questions.
<<<: Ron Davis. How do you keep your focus on developing partnerships that work and not doing it through solely American eyes? And I say that because obviously the countries that you are dealing with have their own objectives. And partnerships mean you listen to the partner. And how do you measure that? Because everything that is not counted doesn't matter in most places. So how do you measure that?
MR. MAGGIO: Anyone who would like to take that question first?
MR. SELIM: I will jump in and add maybe a policy frame to your question. One of the things that our office and the National Security Council and the White House tries to do is not so much do the partnerships or have the partnerships in a singular sense, maybe in the way that you're referring, but create and enable departments and agencies to have broad umbrellas under which they can create different kinds of partnerships from different kinds of needs. I think a lot of people think of partnerships where if I connect with the person sitting across from me or down the hall or down the street we can partner and do this job together. Whereas our role is as a policy office and helping to create the legal and policy structure through which you have the mobility and availability to partner with who you need and when you need to and that partnership is a tool, rather than a requirement. Because there are a lot of things you do in your job and your work and in our work in the national security space, and we cannot partner with people outside the government on everything, but there are a lot of things we can partner on and we have to make sure that we have the clear policy and legal authorities and statutes, room to work in that space. From the policy perspective, I would only say, sometimes it is good to set the table, lay the foundation for what is not acceptable in that space and maybe with it comes the measurement.
MR. MAGGIO: I would just add from the Economic Bureau perspective, some of the things I do, we facilitate, we seek to facilitate a dialogue among groups to help create a space for them to dialogue and perhaps find a way to resolve differences but also establish partnerships for moving forward on important social and economic and other issues. So I would concur with George. Much of this is creating a space to facilitate an opportunity for groups to meet, rather than us directing them what to do or determining what a partnership should be.
MR. LUSSENHOP: I can think of a concrete example in a previous post I served where we made a concerted effort to reach out to the Roma community in Southeast Europe. We wanted more Roma students to apply for Fulbright Scholarships and there were many barriers to that. We used the embassy's convening power to bring together Roma academics and other academics and also the private sector because there was interest in the private sector also to increase their hiring and increase the diversity in their own companies and measuring the effectiveness was quite straightforward. The more applications we got from that community, the more we knew that we were having the right impact.
MS. McCLURE: In our case we have a very defined goal. The reason that the initiative is called 100,000 Strong is that the goal is to increase to the number 100,000, the total number of American students studying abroad within a specific period.
MR. MAGGIO: I first saw this gentleman, and then we will take a lady over there and a lady in the first seat.
<<<: I'm going to give you a curve ball. About a year and a half ago I was delivering a speech at the World Bank and there was a young woman in the audience who was intrigued by my message and she chased me to New York, came up one day when I was talking in New York. She wanted to tell me about a program that she was involved in creating, and I was so impressed with it. A, I sent her a check. And, B, I sent a letter on her behalf to several of my corporate friends. I know that is not why you are on this panel. I want you to talk about global kids. Anything that would introduce American kids to other cultures is, I think, a profound opportunity and she helped create things that are really worthwhile.
MS. McCLURE: Through a separate fellowship opportunity between the State Department and the Council on Foreign Relations, I spent a year outside of Foreign Service working in collaboration with Global Kids, Inc., to launch a program for underserved high school students in the D.C. area that introduces them to international careers and global issues and study abroad. The reason for this program is, there is a particularly cruel irony to the fact you have a lot of youth growing up here in the nation’s capital in the most powerful city in the world for foreign policy but have no access to the conversation and no voice in that debate. So we launched this program to help correct that. We took our students to Brazil for two weeks at the end of the session. So they first had an opportunity to learn about global issues by hearing from various speakers from different sectors here in D.C. And then we took them to Brazil and they looked at all the issues from a perspective of another country. And Merck was actually a strong supporter of that program in addition to Ted. So thank you. That is another example of a public/ private partnership that was launched out of the Department of State.
MR. MAGGIO: Yes.
<<<: Hi. I am with the U.S. Department of Commerce. I wanted to maybe take this opportunity. We have talked a lot about some of the State led initiatives. This is a U.S. Government approach and in each one of your cases you do work very closely with a number of other U.S. Government agencies. I was just wondering if you want to take a few moments to share some of those collaborations you have, not just with the private sector, but a question was asked earlier as to how does the U.S. federal government work together. I thought it might be beneficial to hear how the State Department coordinates through your public/private partnership programs with the U.S. Government agencies.
MR. THOMPSON: That is a great question. It is really important for us. We actually use our convening power here not only to bring private partners and foundations but also U.S. Government partners as well. Most of our public/ private partnerships, formed out of our office and the Secretary’s office have a number of governmental agencies on board. Our U.S. water partnership in particular has brought in over 30 partners. And we have, I think, 18 U.S. Government agencies represented, including all the trade agencies in that partnership because it is a partnership focused on water, but it is also focused on business opportunities for U.S. companies on water abroad. Also global opportunities for clean cook stoves has over a dozen government agencies, USAID, Department of Agriculture and others on board on that partnership. So there is a lot of room for U.S. Government agencies to collaborate across the U.S. Government and work together. Because we do bring unique expertise and skill sets to the partnerships as well as different funding bases and mandates.
MR. MAGGIO: Yes.
<<<: So this is probably for Kimberly. I'm just curious, are there any initiatives where you reach out to U.S. parents of adopted children from places like Russia and China to see if those children would be interested in connecting to learn about their country of origin? I know there are sensitivities given how their biological countries may feel about adoption. I was wondering if that is something you looked at.
MS. McCLURE: I don't think we have something that looks at it with that finally tuned focus. The closest thing we might have had is -- we had at one point a program called the Critical Needs Language Program. When you take the Foreign Service Exam to enter, it gives you extra points on an exam if you spoke one of the languages deemed as a critical language, like Arabic, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese. A lot of times people coming in with language skills were heritage speakers who had some connection to a country in the region. But I don't think we have done that, to my knowledge. Someone else can please pipe in if you know, have looked at it from that angle. An interesting idea.
MR. MAGGIO: With relation to the LGBT, one of the things being in a company, being in a global footprint, we are either in a country where we have operations and having employees come in and out there is dissonance with the country's social structure and the country law relative to the gay community. Most recently with the policy that was being considered in Uganda, there was a pretty significant petition that was started by one of our clients. I think that the enterprise of creating partnership -- I was interested in the approach with which the State Department is looking at the mobility of both people and commerce in and out of the country where it is illegal to be gay.
MR. THOMPSON: Seventy-six countries criminalize homosexuals and homosexual acts. We are working bilaterally to address those issues. We are working closely with the private sector to address those issues. You are often times the employers in these countries. And it is important to have your voice at the table with us. It is one thing to have the President and the Secretary talking about this issue. It is another thing to have IBM, Cisco Systems, Intel Corporation also talking about the issues with us. Making what you do here in the United States and in Europe applicable in Africa and Asia and Latin America where it may be more difficult to have those policies. Talking with one of the companies who is in this room, they basically have told us we know that there are issues on LBGT rights, but when you walk through the doors and you enter into our company, you leave those issues at the door. You are now an employee of this company and you will abide by our standards and conduct. And that -- having that resonate across companies would be a really powerful message and something we hope that we can affect through the global equality fund as we talk about changing the discourse and working through and creating more civil rights and people rights.
MR. MAGGIO: In reference to the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises, we are charged with furthering the effectiveness of the guidelines. With human rights and employment, there are specific references to respect for the human rights of particular groups and in particular a discussion of the issue of nondiscrimination and employment. It goes exactly to what Jim is saying. So with regard to that corporate social responsibility instrument, which we seek to further the effectiveness of, American companies are recommended to uphold the principles in the context of community and work relations regardless of what their status may be. When you walk in the door of a company, you will be treated as someone employed by that company. If it is an American company, according to how the American company would operate regardless of being in Uganda or Saudi Arabia. To let you know the guidelines are out there.
<<<: I think the companies have taken a rigorous approach having those global kinds of conduct. The opportunity is to try to impact the countries' laws.
MR. MAGGIO: That is a separate question. Companies do a lot of good things. But there are parameters in which they can work.
MS. McCLURE: Yes. I had an addition to the question from the woman from the Department of Commerce about agencies collaborating across the board. I failed to mention another organization that is bridging together different institutions at various levels of the foreign affairs community, whether they work at the K-12 level, the college level or the foreign affairs professional level to increase the pipeline, diversity into the full pipeline and it is called GAP, the global access pipeline. There are several organizations that are here that represent part of that. We would love to have more USG agencies and companies that have a global focus to join that.
MR. MAGGIO: We will conclude. I want to thank the panelists and the audience for being here today. I think it was a great panel.
NANCY SMITH-NISSLEY: Can I have your attention, please? In addition to the increased emphasis on public-private partnerships as we have just discussed here in this dialogue, the 21st century has brought changes at home and abroad. Diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism are not only imperative but a value to foreign policy. Under Secretary Hormats leads the State Department in foreign economic policy at a time when alignment between foreign and domestic policy has become indivisible. The Under Secretary is a staunch believer that America benefits from diversity and the importance it plays in innovation and forming a vibrant, competitive society. Economic growth, global energy security and the environment are all interconnected systems. Under Secretary Hormats promotes U.S. interests and Secretary Clinton's agenda around the world. It is my great privilege to invite Under Secretary Bob Hormats to the podium.
ROBERT D. HORMATS: Well, thank you, Nancy and particularly I want to thank Farah who has been an inspiration. She not only has a vision, but she has a level of enthusiasm and commitment to a wide range of issues and diversity is one of them and this conference on diversity, inclusion and foreign policy I think is really a very important element of what we're trying to do here in the State Department and how we want to project ourselves within this country and to the world. And both are critically important. Supporting diversity in the State Department and throughout the wider government, and the private sector is a critical element of U.S. foreign policy and it also strengthens our economic advantage both at home and abroad.
I'm a great believer that diversity is an enormous source of our economic strength and of our foreign policy strength. And if you look at it and I'll go through a number of reasons why I believe this, but I think it's something that we perhaps don't pay as much attention to or give as much weight to as we should and I would like to focus for the few minutes I have on a small subset of this issue, but one that I think is very important in understanding the success of our on industry at home and abroad and that is the role of diversity and innovation. This is central to America's competitiveness. It's central to our opportunities for economic growth because it means we use the talents of all of our people. A society that discriminates, a society that doesn't underscore the importance of diversity, is a society that doesn't use the God-given talents of all of its people to their maximum capability. And it also is very important to our national security and the way the world looks at us.
Even before the founding of the United States, diversity was important and years ago, several years ago, I read a very interesting book by a guy named Russell Shorto called “The Island at the Center of the World.” I don't know how many of you read this book; being a New Yorker it was pretty interesting to me because the island was Manhattan. In the 1640s there were 500 people living in New Amsterdam which ultimately became New York and what was interesting in particular about it was within that group of 500 people, 16 different languages were spoken. So the notion of New York as a place where people came together from all over the world with all different kinds of languages was really vibrant. Today, according to some experts, New York is now home to as many as 800 languages, making it perhaps the most linguistically diverse city in the world. But the same is true in places like Los Angeles where we have an enormously diverse group of people.
Multilingualism and social and cultural, religious and ethnic diversity are particularly important and of course the society which celebrates racial diversity with different people with different backgrounds, different cultures, they all bring something together in our system that makes our system as dynamic as it is, this sort of churning creativity in our country is not done in spite of the fact that we're diverse. It's done because we are a very diverse society and our government has to demonstrate that it understands diversity and it has to reflect that diversity and the private sector does as well. No company is going to succeed today unless it understands that diversity is critical to its success both in attracting the very best talent from all over the country and indeed all over the world and projecting the capabilities of that talent in our country and all over the world.
America is a unique melting pot, but it's not just a melting pot. Melting pot sort of assumes that everything melts together. We preserve the very best characteristics of diverse people, diverse societies, diverse cultures and that really makes us I think who we are. Immigration is a critically important part of this. Immigration for people around the world who've come here since the 1600s has been a critical element and incorporating those people into our society in a meaningful way so that they can be as productive as their talents allow them to be is the way we have succeeded. Knowledge and respect for different races, languages, different ethnicities and cultures and different ways of thinking which is also an important part of diversity, and the able to think outside the box. What's in your box may be different from that which is in mine and vice versa. So enabling us to think this way I think is very important.
And that value added comes from having an opening of minds to people who have these diverse ways of thinking, diverse backgrounds that are different from our own and these characteristics and the way we look at ourselves, the way we look at our society and we contribute our diverse ideas, that kind of churning of ideas, even where there are differences, pulling them together and drawing the best from each is very important. But diversity alone is only one element of it. It drives innovation, it drives growth and it drives economic activity. But the objective of this is to harness the talents and the ideas of people regardless of their origin and to evaluate them based on merit.
Merit and merit alone is what makes our society work. Whatever you look like, wherever you came from, whatever linguistic back ground you have, we have to be a society that is based on meritocracy so that people who have talent are able to utilize that talent. There is a very interesting book that was written years ago about a little boy in a Polish railway station, a refugee, just before World War I and the author who was writing this book and looking at this and said, this is a real tragedy. Here is that little boy, he is the apple of his parent's eyes but he will never get a chance to go to school, get a chance to succeed in life. This kid could have had the talents of a Mozart and will never get the chance, and the key of our society is to give everyone a chance to be a Mozart or an Einstein, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. If we do not do that in our society, based not on your background, your family, but based on your capabilities and your talent, then we're not going to succeed as a society and we as a society must understand that meritocracy is critical to our growth. Thomas Jefferson called this country a natural aristocracy among men and of course I would add among women, based on virtue and talents rather than genealogy and inheritance and I think that's one of the ways we really need to think about our country. And I'll give you an example of diversity in a somewhat different way but I think it illustrates the point and that is that you need to look at people not for what they do or what their backgrounds are, but for what they achieve and the quality of their minds, the quality of thinking and this goes to a story about the invention of television. I don't know how many of you have read the story about the invention of television. Early in the 20th century there were many scientists all over trying to figure out – we knew how to transmit sound -- but we didn't know how to transmit pictures and where did the solution come from? Did it come from people trained in MIT or Harvard or Caltech and their very expensive laboratories?
No. It came from a 14-year-old boy working on his father's farm in Iowa, and he saw the back and forth motion of the plow as a way that could be interpreted in a different way and that is scanning the electronic image as a series of horizontal lines and that's what television, up until recently has been, horizontal lines and he decided if you could take that same technique, a 14-year-old kid on a farm, who could be less likely to come up with one of the great inventions of the last century, he was able to do that. Until then, as I said, RCA and other companies employed engineers and physicists in unsuccessful ways to solve this. This kid from afar came up with this enormous break-through that allowed television to develop. So people said how could a farmer do this?
Of course, this story underlines, pay attention to what people think, not their background. Not the ideas that you think they're going to come up with. Listen to people, pay attention and respect them. And governments and companies that restrict the exchange of diverse ideas will find themselves isolated. Suppose RCA or whoever it was that said, we reject your ideas because you're a farmer, what could you possibly contribute? It's a message. And that is, everyone can contribute something, pay attention to what they have to say. And I think that companies in particular in the United States if they want to do well in the world, recognize that they need to listen to all their people and they need to have as much diversity as they can, diverse points of view. And we need skilled workers from our country and all over the world to contribute their different ideas. Foreign-born entrepreneurs for instance are part of the diversity of this country and for many of us we were -- either we or our grandchildren, or grandparents or great grandparents or parents or somewhere down the road, we were immigrants coming into this country, some voluntarily, some involuntarily, but people came from all over the world and I think if you look at start-ups in this country, they demonstrate the fact that this diversity is part of our system.
There is a quote by a guy named David Ogilvy who was known as the father of advertising which in my mind makes this point in fundamental ways. He said "diversity turns out to be the mother of invention,” not necessity, as a number of people had said before. The old saying was necessity is the mother invention of invention. Now his point was, it's much more diversity, different ideas all coming together to try to produce positive outcomes. So I want to thank you all very much for doing this and for participating in this conference. To Farah for organizing it. For Nancy who I know has played a major role in all of this. But most of all to all of you for the contributions you have made. We at the State Department are one part of a broader governmental system but I see companies every day. I see my colleagues in government every day and one thing I know having come from the private sector to the government sector is: diversity of ideas is the essence of the way this country has run successfully since its founding. It's the way companies are going to be able to be successful now and for decades to come. So I want to thank you all and just tell you how much I appreciate your attendance and ideas and the kind of values that you're all imparting for the collective benefit of all of us here. Thank you very much.