To successfully elevate and retain Black talent in its organizations, corporate America must adopt an “equity mindset” that goes beyond the “false narrative” of the pipeline problem – one of many provocative concepts to emerge from BE’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Virtual Summit, which goes online Wednesday, June 23.
Presented in partnership with Toyota, American Express, Boeing, Merck and Wells Fargo, the Summit is the second in BE’s DEI-themed virtual event series, bringing together leading executives and thought-leaders to discuss strategies for driving change and expanding opportunities for African Americans in the corporate space.
John Rice, the founder and CEO of the DEI consultant firm Management Leadership for Tomorrow is a featured panelists in one of the day’s sessions, “What Corporate America Must Do to Elevate Black Talent.” Rice says companies miss one of the root causes behind why professionals of color lag behind white counterparts in upward advancement despite equal qualifications – the pressures of being the only one who looks like you.
“When you’re of one or one of a few, you will have deficits in confidence and it will affect how you navigate the organization,” Rice says. “We spend literally 30% of our brain energy every day asking ourselves] ‘How are people perceiving me?’ ‘If I make a mistake does that reflect on all African Americans?’ Our white colleagues are spending 0% of their brain bandwidth on these questions. We’re competing at a deficit.”
Also joining the panel is William Ampofo II, Supply Chain Vice President at Boeing Global Services, who also spoke to “the challenges of being one or sometimes the only African American in the room.” Ampofo talks about the responsibility of organizations to provide formal mentorship and sponsorship initiatives to foster a culture of support and belonging for African Americans at all levels. “It’s critical as we go forward and look at this next generation of talent. As we know, most organizations have their own cultures and sub-cultures and it’s good to have that support to help navigate the written and more importantly the unwritten rules that govern a particular organization.”
BLACK ENTERPRISE Executive Managing Editor Alisa Gumbs moderates the panel, which goes deep on the evolving challenges of Black executives seeking a sense of belonging within corporations while meeting the pressure to maximize performance.
Tune in to “What Corporate America Must Do to Elevate Black Talent” Wednesday, June 23, from 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.