Finding the right values at an employer
Armed with an MBA from Regis University, Cory Hooks decided to attend the National Black MBA Association Confer
ence in 1999 to find a place to work where he would be comfortable as a young black man. Intel’s presence at the conference “demonstrated to me they were committed to hiring top talent,” so he signed up with the tech company.
These days, as a leader in Intel’s Corporate Strategic Procurement organization responsible for sales and marketing strategic sourcing, he returns to that same Black MBA conference, year after year, looking for talented black employees. “It feels good to hire, integrate and develop new talent. Watching this pipeline of diverse employees play a critical role in Intel’s future is rewarding,” he says.
Diversity was always important to Cory. His dad was a chaplain in the U.S. Army, and the family constantly relocated, both in the U.S. and overseas. “I moved more than 16 times before high school. The
frequent moves gave me exposure to different cultures and languages, and helped me develop a deeper appreciation of people’s differences,” he says.
As parents of two daughters, 22-year-old Jordan and 14-year-old Ashley, Cory and his wife focus on teaching their children to be inclusive of others. “This is important to me because I know what it can be like to be the new kid in school and not know anyone,” he says.
When he was the “new kid” at Intel in 1999, he learned during his employee orientation that “a large part of the organization’s future success hinged on my ability to understand and extend the company culture through Intel’s values [including inclusiveness]. No pressure!” he recalls.
Part of that indoctrination into the organizational values was training on subjects such as constructive confrontation, effective meetings “and everything in between.” And always with a focus on being inclusive.
Cory is now a member of Intel’s Black Leadership Council, comprised of the most senior black leaders. The group is charged with recruiting, retaining, developing and promoting black employees. He feels strongly that the organization’s commitment to creating more leadership opportunities for its diverse employees has made it a better-run, more-competitive company.
He would tell a young person interested in the organization that Intel “cares more about what you know than what you look like. To me, that means be who you are and don’t try to be anyone else.”