Forbes

If you’re com­ing out of col­lege and you don’t see any­body who looks like you above you in a firm, you’re not likely to take a job there.”

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Scott Uzzell: Hi, Crys­tal, this is scott.

Crys­tal Ashby: Good morn­ing, Scott. From what I know about you, eq­uity is not just busi­ness; it’s per­sonal. how did this hap­pen for you?

SU: i have to ad­mit that i’ve learned a lot about eq­uity in the last six months. i used to think it was just about giv­ing peo­ple of color like me more op­por­tu­ni­ties, and once we were hired, we had to be per­fect. i still say that’s im­por­tant, but now i also see that the en­vi­ron­ment you’re in has to be will­ing to sup­port your over­all suc­cess. i re­al­ize now that my col­leagues of color and i don’t have to walk on wa­ter. We’re hu­man and we’re al­lowed to make mis­takes, to grow, de­velop, and con­tinue on our jour­neys. it’s made me as a leader on in­clu­sion much more force­ful.

CA: I want peo­ple step­ping to the line with me, just like that. have you changed how you’re lead­ing your team on race is­sues?

SU: i, too, want to be all that i am at work. i have a ton of ex­pe­ri­ences from child­hood to to­day that all need to in­ter­sect, and be­ing a Black Ceo puts me in a unique po­si­tion to drive change. now, i’m en­er­gized every day, and I find my 20+ re­ports are all en­er­gized, too.

CA: you also have to add in a lot of stake­hold­ers: in­vestors, em­ploy­ees, cus­tomers. how are you weav­ing them into your new ob­jec­tives?

SU: it’s be­ing declar­a­tive on how im­por­tant rep­re­sen­ta­tion is to our cul­ture, to our coun­try, to what we be­lieve is the value of our brand. it’s about be­ing trans­par­ent and creat­ing a cul­ture of be­long­ing where all bring their best selves to work. it’s be­ing clear that we need to get more peo­ple of color into our ecosys­tem of cre­ative agen­cies, con­sul­tants, law firms and sup­ply chains. if we’re not con­stantly push­ing back, we’re co-con­spir­a­tors, which is close to en­abling the prob­lem. i’ve come to see there’s no mid­dle ground when it comes to where you stand on eq­uity, di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion. if we put d&i on our web­site as crit­i­cal to our or­ga­ni­za­tion, we have to show it. now when i’m on calls with boards i’m on, and all the Zoom boxes look the same ex­cept for me, white board mem­bers are call­ing it out. not ev­ery­one, but at least half. We’re not yet liv­ing the story we’re telling. i see progress, but there’s still work to be done.

CA: Well, I cer­tainly agree we can’t be in the mid­dle. So, how do you make the progress sus­tain­able? SU: Be­ing Ceo is dif­fer­ent. i used to think you just make pub­lic state­ments, give money to so­cial jus­tice or­ga­ni­za­tions, schol­ar­ships to HBCus, but that’s not enough. it’s hav­ing those con­stant di­a­logues with your lead­er­ship team that drive sus­tain­abil­ity. one, mak­ing sure you have the right lead­ers on your team, from a rep­re­sen­ta­tion stand­point and from the stand­point of liv­ing the com­pany val­ues every day. sec­ond, this has to be a busi­ness topic that’s talked about every day. And third, it’s got to be in the fab­ric of ev­ery­thing we do. it can’t be just about train­ing peo­ple in the pipe­line. it’s also mak­ing sure you have rep­re­sen­ta­tion across the board. if you’re com­ing out of col­lege and you don’t see any­body who looks like you above you in a firm, you’re not likely to take a job there. it’s also about hav­ing clear de­liv­er­ables and as­so­ci­ated timeta­bles and mea­sures. if the Ceo is not push­ing that agenda every day, it won’t be im­por­tant to the next group of peo­ple. And i know i’ll be held ac­count­able. if you don’t see progress in 90 days, six months, a year, then i’m not cred­i­ble.

CA: Scott, I want to thank you for how trans­par­ent and hon­est you’ve been, and for how much of your­self you shared in this dis­cus­sion. you do Con­verse and ElC proud.

SU: i’m honored, Crys­tal.

Pan­els of eLC mem­bers and non­profit lead­ers then pre­sented dif­fer­ent as­pects of the ac­tion plan: safe­guard­ing fu­ture fam­ily in­come through ed­u­ca­tion, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion; the role of the pub­lic sec­tor in build­ing fam­ily wealth and fam­ily sav­ings; and how crim­i­nal in­jus­tice and in­equitable ac­cess to health and health care shape Black com­mu­ni­ties.

For­mer eLC Ceo Ronald Parker, one of the founders of BeF, a re­tired Pep­siCo ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent, and now pres­i­dent and Ceo of the na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of se­cu­ri­ties Pro­fes­sion­als, closed the Fo­rum with the call to ac­tion, first steps in form­ing the Com­mu­nity of Ac­tion: a pledge to hold a se­ries of coura­geous con­ver­sa­tions with other or­ga­ni­za­tions on bet­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion and met­rics; to iden­tify con­crete steps; and to con­sider how a Com­mu­nity of Ac­tion might con­vene and con­tinue the di­a­logue. “this is our Black davos. We’ll pres­sure test our agenda every year,” says Parker. “We need cap­i­tal­ism, but the ben­e­fits have to reach ev­ery­one. We’re ex­er­cis­ing our power for sus­tain­able change.”

2020 An­nual Recog­ni­tion Gala Now Is Our Time: Bold Moves. Courage. Re­silience.

oc­to­ber 15 was an­other night of pur­pose and im­pact, but this year it was vir­tual. Co-host of En­ter­tain­ment Tonight Kevin Fra­zier again set the stage. The Cor­po­rate Awardee was Wal­mart Inc., ac­cepted by Doug McMil­lon, pres­i­dent & Ceo, who also chairs the Busi­ness round­table. the Achieve­ment Awardee was Her­man Bulls, vice chair, Amer­i­cas, JLL, and an eLC mem­ber. the gala ex­plored the ques­tion: What is our re­spon­si­bil­ity, ac­count­abil­ity, and duty to the past, present and fu­ture? The ELC’s Bold Moves with part­ners and al­lies, de­tailed in this spe­cial sec­tion, ex­plored the in­ter­sec­tion of busi­ness, com­mu­nity, and im­pact and honored those who have been ex­em­plary in lead­er­ship, Courage, hope and eq­uity. We honored the Re­silience and col­lec­tive im­pact of com­ing to­gether at this crit­i­cal time. more than $850,000 was pre­sented to 70 eLC schol­ars, with thanks to the com­pa­nies, in­di­vid­u­als and ini­tia­tives that sup­port their fu­tures.

What will you do to en­sure the change that has to hap­pen? It’s time for us to…cre­ate the more per­fect union where Black Ex­cel­lence is free to flour­ish in all its forms.”

 ??  ?? SCOtt UZZEll steps up to eq­uity
SCOtt UZZEll steps up to eq­uity
 ??  ?? The ELC in­ducted more than 50 New Mem­bers in its Class of 2020 at the 2020 Win­ter Meet­ing in Florida; ELC Interim Pres­i­dent and CEO Crys­tal E. Ashby is sec­ond row, cen­ter. Also far right sec­ond row are ELC Board Vice Chair and AT&T Ex­ec­u­tive Thomas R. Har­vey (2nd from right) and ELC Board Di­rec­tor and Na­tion­wide Ex­ec­u­tive Gale V. King (right), co-chair of The ELC Mem­ber­ship Com­mit­tee.
The ELC in­ducted more than 50 New Mem­bers in its Class of 2020 at the 2020 Win­ter Meet­ing in Florida; ELC Interim Pres­i­dent and CEO Crys­tal E. Ashby is sec­ond row, cen­ter. Also far right sec­ond row are ELC Board Vice Chair and AT&T Ex­ec­u­tive Thomas R. Har­vey (2nd from right) and ELC Board Di­rec­tor and Na­tion­wide Ex­ec­u­tive Gale V. King (right), co-chair of The ELC Mem­ber­ship Com­mit­tee.

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