ExxonMobil CEO Talks Energy, Diversity - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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exxonlogo1Last night, the Executive Leadership Council awarded ExxonMobil with the corporate award in recognition for the company’s activities promoting and pursuing diversity leadership pipeline goals and objectives on behalf of African Americans. Before accepting his award, Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO at ExxonMobil, sat down with BlackEnterprise.com to talk about diversity, oil prices, and taxes.

BlackEnterprise.com: With the technology advances what does the pipeline look like for African Americans? What has ExxonMobil invested to make sure that the pipeline is diverse?

Rex Tillerson: We’ve never been very successful at tapping into the African American community for scientists and engineers. We see it as very fertile ground. We continue to develop programs and try to innovate new ways to attract more young African Americans and in particular, women to science and engineering.

Through our women in science and engineering program, we provided $1 million to a joint venture project put in place in 2006 with Spelman College and Georgia Tech. Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) provides scholarships directed at African American women to attract them into science. Another significant effort is the creation of the National Math and Science Initiative, a $125 million program that takes prudent programs and puts them into school districts that will attract more competent science and math teachers.

What programs has the company initiated to develop ExxonMobil franchisees and suppliers?

Through our global procurement organization, we have a number of programs directed at minority venders and contractors, first, to ensure that they understand how to become qualified for our business. Special efforts are made to evaluate their business and their competencies, what we can do, and what can they do to become qualified to compete.

ExxonMobil funds scholarships for minority and women suppliers to attend the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management Executive Program and the University of Texas’ Executive Education Seminar. Our Fuels Marketing Co. has developed a minority economic development to help create awareness and interest in retailing opportunities at ExxonMobil among minority candidates.

What type of commitment has ExxonMobil demonstrated toward helping African Americans and women infiltrate the executive level in house?

ExxonMobil supports diverse employee networks including BEST — Black Employee Success Team– which provides mentoring, coaching, and strategies to enhance professional growth and development.

The importance of this group is the mentoring that goes on. Our senior executives are able to share with younger, newer employees their experiences and how they dealt with it. It helps everyone assimilate into the workforce more easily, but it also helps with the discouragement. It is daunting for everyone, but for a young African American working at a company that has 81,000 employees, it can be particularly daunting.

What types of information about energy systems are you putting forth, and how are you reassuring consumers and environmentalists?

We want to teach people about the power of technology and what technology has done to transform our industry over the last 30-40 years.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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