arnold don­ald

CEO, Car­ni­val Cor­po­ra­tion

Forbes - - PROMOTION -

“You have to pur­posely en­gi­neer di­ver­sity, be­cause it doesn’t hap­pen on its own. it’s hu­man na­ture to hang around peo­ple like your­self. it’s not evil, it’s not bad, it’s just nat­u­ral. You need dis­rupters if you want to keep chang­ing and grow­ing.”

Skip Spriggs: Well, arnold, we’ve both sat in the elC’s CeO chair, and now you’ve sat in sev­eral dif­fer­ent ones. Can you tell me a bit about how your life ex­pe­ri­ence helped form your per­spec­tive on di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion?

arnold don­ald: I grew up in seg­re­gated New Or­leans. It had its own par­tic­u­lar fla­vor of seg­re­ga­tion, but it was still seg­re­ga­tion. When I was in the eighth grade, the Louisiana Supreme Court or­dered schools to be in­te­grated, so I went to high school when a lot of new things were hap­pen­ing. And Amer­i­cans landed on the moon. Ev­ery­thing seemed pos­si­ble.

In high school I spent a sum­mer at a prep school in New Eng­land, and I laid out a plan to be­come a gen­eral man­ager at a ma­jor science-based com­pany. I had no idea what any of that meant. No­body in my fam­ily had ever even been in busi­ness. It was just an idea that came to me from get­ting out of my own fam­ily, my own neigh­bor­hood, into an­other world. I learned early in life to en­joy dis­cov­er­ing what peo­ple have in com­mon, so I didn’t fear dif­fer­ences. I cel­e­brated them.

SS: What would you say is the ef­fect of those ex­pe­ri­ences on your com­pany?

ad: In busi­ness it be­came ap­par­ent to me very early on that if you get a di­verse group of tal­ented peo­ple, or­ga­nize them around a com­mon ob­jec­tive and give them a process that al­lows them to ex­plore, we would out-so­lu­tion a ho­mo­ge­neous team ev­ery time. When I first did this, eye­brows were raised, and worse, but then we got re­sults. And when you get re­sults, the talk goes away. I played that cat­alytic role in three dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries, al­ways with highly di­verse teams.

SS: With cur­rent black CeOs such a small group, i won­der if you have a per­spec­tive on how to in­crease the num­ber? ad:

Yes. Start with a crit­i­cal mass of di­verse folks one or two lev­els from the CEO, so there are sev­eral who have the op­por­tu­nity to as­cend. It will hap­pen.

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