Another area Brooks stressed has been the power of strategic partnerships. One effective example is the collaboration among ELC; National Association of Investment Companies, a group of private equity firms that finances minority companies; The Marathon Club, an association of entrepreneurs; and New America Alliance, a group of Latino business leaders. These organizations have come together to provide entrepreneurial options for its members, expand supplier diversity within corporations and close the education gap. Such strategic alliances will be needed to tackle the daunting challenges facing American business as the world economy recovers.
Lastly, the ELC must remain vigilant in feeding the talent pipeline. The organization’s responses has included its annual Mid-Level Managers’ Symposium; The NextGen Network, which identifies young professionals who can be placed on the corporate leadership track and its scholars programs that provides funding for promising students. With continued restructuring of corporations, such programs will prove even more valuable in maintaining and replenishing the flow of capable managers of color.
Brooks views today’s environment as one of great challenges but bountiful opportunities. He’s right. If corporate America fully applies diversity as a strategic thrust—with ELC’s help, of course—then it will gain a phalanx of talented executives that will develop the audacious and innovative products, services and strategies needed to advance global business for decades to come.
Derek T. Dingle is the editor-in-chief of Black Enterprise magazine.