Monthly Archives

August 2016

News: Syracuse University Students Protest Drop in Diversity

By | Diverity & Inclusion, News and Events, Racial Inclusion

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University is taking steps to address a 4 percent decrease in the number of students of color who enrolled this year.

The class of 2020, whose approximately 4,000 members started their first day of classes this week, is made up of 24 percent students of color, according to SU. That’s down from 28 percent last year.

The decrease comes after two years of debate on campus about whether diversity is a priority. The campus was rocked two years ago when a video surfaced online of a women’s soccer player using homophobic and racial slurs.

Student advocates and the group THE General Body have held protests and raised concerns about diversity on campus, mostly in the 2014-15 school year. One of the protestors told a reporter that students of color “feel like the campus isn’t built for us.”

Chancellor Kent Syverud came under fire that year after funding cuts were made to programs students said were primarily used by racial minorities.


Trends: Keep an Eye on Diverse Micro-Markets

By | Diverity & Inclusion, News and Events, Racial Inclusion

Black consumers are an underestimated force in the American economy, but not for long.

A new Nielsen report on “the untold story” of black consumers, shows that as the black population grows, so will its economic influence and buying power.

The report highlights 2015 as a “tipping point” for black Americans in their “unprecedented impact” across a number of areas, especially television, music, social media and on social issues. Demographic trends combined with the power of social media have collided to empower an increasingly educated, affluent, and tech-savvy black consumer base. As a result, it’s a key time for companies to “build and sustain deeper, more meaningful connections” with black consumers, according to the findings.


Trends: Emmy Awards Diversity Boom Reflects the Times

By | #bettertogether, Diverity & Inclusion, News and Events, Racial Inclusion

Now we’re talking!

Among the milestones this year are Kenya Barris becoming the first solo African-American series creator to be nominated for comedy series, as well as Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang of Netflix’s “Master of None” becoming the first Indian-American and Asian-American series creators to land a comedy series nomination. John Singleton, a director of FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” became the first black helmer to be nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy.

Emmy Awards’ Diversity Boom Reflects America

Speak Milk. Drink Wine. (Becoming a Global Citizen)

By | Cross-Cultural, News and Events

My new book, “Speak Milk. Drink Wine.” is now available here! Thrilled with the great reviews I’m receiving after having spent so much time and effort on this labor of love. Cross cultural integration is a huge passion of mine and I’m very happy to share my experiences with the world.

As part of the launch, I very much enjoyed being interviewed by James Lott Jr. for Book Circle Online. He’s so engaging and light-hearted, as you’ll see below.

Also explore information on critical global mindset trainingfor your company.

Trends: San Diego Stats on Women & Veterans

By | Diverity & Inclusion, News and Events

The San Diego Business Journal yesterday reported as follows:

The San Diego area workforce has the highest percentage of millennials and veterans but the lowest percentage of women compared to nine competing metro areas.

That’s according to information compiled by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, via its foundation, as part of its Regional Jobs Strategy launched earlier this year.

The data, called the chamber’s Business and Tax Climate Dashboard, compares San Diego to the metropolitan areas of Austin, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, Raleigh, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle.

“Making San Diego a place where business can succeed and grow means we have to identify our strengths as well as our weaknesses,” said Jerry Sanders, chamber president and CEO, in a statement Thursday.

Of San Diego’s workforce, 28.8 percent were born in 1980 through 1998, more than all the other areas to which it was compared. A total of 7.3 percent of the workforce is made up of veterans, handily beating the metro average of 4.4 percent.

However, likely as a result of the high percentage of veterans in the workforce, a group made up mostly by men, San Diego has the lowest percentage of women in its workforce: 44 percent. The metro average of those areas studied is 46.2 percent.

However, 46.2 percent of businesses in San Diego are owned by women, the data show. Eleven percent are owned by veterans, the dashboard revealed.

“With large millennial and veteran populations in our workforce, we see that we have new talent to build on as well as a highly trained contingent of workers, but we also need to do more to raise the number of women and minorities in our workforce,” said Helen Robbins-Meyer, the county of San Diego’s chief administrative officer. “Having this data as a point of reference is important to building an effective job creation strategy for the region.”

According to the chamber’s dashboard, San Diego ranks eighth in education attainment but fourth for STEM and STEM-related majors; fourth in workplace diversity; seventh for highest median wage at $19.12 hourly; and sixth for its 8 percent sales tax on a ranking of the areas with the highest such rate.

Women in executive positions at corporate organizations are still underrepresented. Check out the Lead Inclusively Champions of Change workshop to see how your company can promote and equip women and men to partner for workforce equality.

High Tech: Diverse Ideation is Key to Accelerated Innovation

By | High Tech, Inclusive Innovation

“Tech giants in Silicon Valley are known for pursuing big ideas, changing the world through technology and, unfortunately, a fairly extreme lack of diversity.

But at least one company is taking proactive steps in addressing the problem. In January 2015, Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich made a bold pledge at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, allocating $300 million to increase diversity within the company and the tech industry at large.

Eighteen months later, the company is making progress on many of its initiatives, while others will require more attention in order to reach the company’s goal of having a workforce that is representative of the U.S.’s working population by 2020.

In the company’s mid-year diversity report, published today, female hires are down slightly from December 2015, from 35.1% to 34.1%. However, 25.4% of Intel employees are female, representing a new record for the company. Underrepresented minority hiring also increased this year, from 11.8% in 2015 to 13.1% in 2016.”Fast Company Article.

But the window remains open for more progressive programs relative to inclusive leadership.  The competition for talent, particularly diverse talent, is fierce, but programs focused on inclusion and that are aimed at enabling diverse ideation, thereby leading to accelerated innovation, will ultimately rule the day. Explore our High Tech Inclusive Innovation Lab to learn how to spark inclusive innovation using the principles of the Stanford’s innovation framework, Design Thinking.

Interview with Denise Hummel

By | Cross-Cultural, News and Events

You have two books available.  One is called SPEAK MILK. DRINK WINE. BECOMING A GLOBAL CITIZEN and the other is called DIVERSITY, INCLUSION & CULTURE INTEGRATION: LESSONS OF AN EXPAT.  Are both  centered around your life in Italy?  Can you give us a synopsis of both books?

SPEAK MILK was the first edition of the book and DIVERSITY, INCLUSION & CULTURE INTEGRATION is the second edition.  Both contain the same content, but the second book was re-positioned to be more aligned with the Mergers & Acquisitions clients and Global Mobility clients I was serving at Ernst & Young as a Principal there and helps readers to be connected with the relationship between becoming a global citizen in their personal lives and the importance of inclusive leadership and respect for diversity in our business lives.

Why did you write it and what does it mean to you?

I originally wrote it because what we were experiencing as American Expats in Italy was so powerful that I didn’t want to forget, and I didn’t want my children to forget, what we experienced.  What was happening to us was profound, joyous, sad, confusing and empowering all at the same time.  Later, after I actually developed a cross-cultural business optimization model based, in part, on those lessons, I realized that the book was actually a wonderful metaphorical voice for what I was trying to accomplish professionally.

Why are diversity and inclusion so important?

I think first we have to define the difference between diversity and inclusion.  In a business setting, diversity simply refers to having a proportional mix of diverse talent, whether that be gender, race, sexual identity, cultural differences or a diverse way of looking at life and business challenges.  Inclusion refers to what happens when we have diverse people working together and to what extent our leaders include, enable and empower diverse people to bring their best selves to work.

What happens when we ignore the fundamentals of inclusive leadership in our everyday life, business, etc?

One of the things that happens, is that we increase risk in our organization.  We increase the probability that just one point of view will be represented in decision-making thus leaving our organizations more vulnerable to bad decision making.  We also increase the probability of a lawsuit brought by someone who feels that their personal dignity and their professional achievement is being marginalized.  Just as important, if not more so, we cripple innovation by leaving people with the impression that they have no voice or that their ideas will not be supported and advanced in the organization.  In an age of intense competition, where great ideas and speed to market are imperative, we just can’t afford not to enable and empower diverse ideation.

Are there examples that you can give us as to why you know that inclusion can lead to better business results and if so, why does it seem that so many companies don’t create adequate budget or resources to make sure that diverse talent is, in fact, “included?” 

There are many examples as well as many studies that support this concept.  Let’s start, though, with common sense.  Let’s take the gender talent pool alone for the sake of simplification, and  agree that the talent pool of women in this decade is approximately 50% of the total available talent,.  It then defies common sense not to explore and remedy any trend or evidence that a non-inclusive environment impedes diverse voices that would otherwise speak out to signal risk as well as to share ideas related to new products, services, systems and processes.  An anonymous employee engagement survey that asks the right questions will easily yield whether the organization has challenges with maintaining an inclusive environment.  The remedy can be more complex, and the tendency to throw training, tests and rules at the problem has not lead to any meaningful organizational shifts.  Many of us who started our D&I careers on the legal or regulatory side and then moved in-house or to consulting on the business side are coming to the realization that we need to focus on “Engagement” (mentoring and coaching for example), “Contact”  (cross-functional and diverse teams, projects and activities) and “Social Accountability” (diversity tasks forces, oversight regarding performance reviews and promotion and other means of decision quality control).

Given the methodology you are developing at Lead Inclusively and  the methodology you developed, BMIA (Business Model of Intercultural Analysis) — a cross-cultural business model used by enterprise organizations globally, as well as the Big4 consulting firms — give us a snapshot of how the government would score under a Trump presidency, i.e. one with walls, deportation, religious bans, as opposed to a Clinton presidency that emphasizes the importance of respecting all races, religions, genders and points of view? 

Well, rather than answer that in a politically charged manner, let me focus for now on policies that influence global diplomacy and create a stable global market place and/or accelerated global growth.  Donald Trump has clearly demonstrated that there is a faction of Americans who are fearful enough of the violence and terrorism that has been progressively escalating, globally, to vote for someone who stands for exclusion of any individual who does not fit a narrow criteria.  The majority of the country, however,  still seems to align with the foundational core of democratic principles.  That’s good for global business because we obviously can’t achieve fiscal prosperity with global partners, clients, investors and stakeholders in the supply chain who we reject as inferior and/or who dislike or are fearful of us.

As we are all painfully aware, even within our own country, we are divided by culture and race and show little understanding of one another.  Based on your and your family’s experiences living outside the country, what guidance would you give parents to better teach their children that there are different ways to approach friendship, collegiality, food, traditions, politics, work, religion, gender roles and generational influences?

Great question because I’ve always said that global-minded executives begin as global-minded citizens and there is no greater way to become one than for that mind-set to be cultivated by the family and supported in the formative years at grade school.  By the time we enter the workforce, if we don’t have that general ethos that others are not better or worse than we are, but just different, it’s a very difficult “unlearning” process before we can even begin to move the needle on leadership behaviors that will support an inclusive organizational environment.  Not everyone can pick up and move their children to another country to give their children a first-hand cross-cultural experience, of course.  There is so much we can do, though, right in our own backyards to make sure that we are raising children who demonstrate tolerance, curiosity and understanding of differences.  We can bring up current events at the dinner table to talk about how a particular event demonstrated tolerance or intolerance.  We can share our values with our children to influence their thinking early in life.  We can expose them to people, events, music and traditions that are different from our own heritage, pointing out the benefits, joy and interest they evoke.  Nature abhors a vacuum and absent direct communication about this issue, children will simply absorb what experience in their environment (through peers, the media, etc.).

Tell us about “pazienza” and how living in Italy taught you what that meant.  You have some wonderful anecdotes in your book that illustrate the meaning. How do you balance the demands of running your company, Lead Inclusively, Inc. while at the same time embracing your own pazienza?  Give us some guidance.

Pazienza is the Italian word for patience and it is a word I heard every day of my life while living in Italy, multiple times a day.  I’m guessing that it began as a word the Italians used to respond to many of life’s daily annoyances like excessive bureaucracy for example, but I think it also stands for tolerance, generally, in the sense that there are few things that are worth getting really worked up about.  If your family is healthy and safe, you have a roof over your head and clean food and water, the rest of it is just really extra.  I do have a demanding life, including building my second business and supporting my now college-bound kids at this stage of their lives as well as trying to create a balanced life for myself.  I  find that beyond the boundaries of Italy and back into life in the United States, it’s very easy for me to revert to my more workaholic style, where I measure each day by how “productive” I have been.  I do have to remind myself to focus on how lucky I am to have so much “extra” in my life.  I live in beautiful San Diego, I am surrounded by family and friends who love me, I have a wonderful education and career.  So anytime I lose my “pazienza,” I close my eyes and remember all those blessings, and since I can no longer take a walk around the Italian piazza where I lived, I simply take a bike ride around the bay, watch the sail boats or setting sun, and feel grateful for all the different people who have contributed to making my life so joyful.

News: Saatchi Chairman Has Resigned Following His Controversial Gender Diversity Remarks

By | #bettertogether, #metoo to #wetoo, Gender Inclusion, Uncategorized


Kevin Roberts was recently quoted as stating about women professionals, “Their ambition is not a vertical ambition, it’s this intrinsic, circular ambition to be happy. So they say: ‘We are not judging ourselves by those standards that you idiotic dinosaur-like men judge yourself by.’”

Without judgment about the prudence of his statements (which history will record as resulting in his resignation) or the factual truth (neuroscience has clearly demonstrated the incongruencies of his statements regarding the way women think), we must examine both the maturity model of the organizational, national, gender and generational issues associated with the gender “debate.”

Beyond that — Roberts’ quote is so telling about the lack of preparedness of senior executives to effectively address this issue publicly in a way that  puts the company represented in the best possible light regarding gender parity awareness.  The statistics, from the World Economic Forum to every major global consulting firm in the world support the fact that without a shift towards inclusive leadership, teaming, organizational policies and global community, that we will not reach gender parity for the better part of a century.

Most of us, men and women, if we are mentally and emotionally healthy, have the ambition to be happy.  In terms of vertical ambition, some of us, men and women, may wish to rise to senior leadership for increased money, power, and status.  The rest of us, men and women, want to rise to senior leadership so that we can assist our organizations, our people, and our mission to achieve through our thought-leadership, loyalty, and commitment to what our organizations stand for in the global economy and global community.  The defining factor around this is not a gender issue, but rather an issue of individual ethos and personal mission of what we stand for as people and professionals on this earth. Together we can become champions of change for gender parity in the workplace.

Learn more about developing Champions of Change with our one-day workshop.

I hire people who I know will challenge me …

By | #bettertogether, Inclusive Innovation, Inclusive Leadership

It’s scary to hire people with a voice – particularly when they are pushing up against prevailing thought, but doing so can reduce risk and propel innovation.

The intersection of inclusive behaviors and innovative behaviors is a significant part of the work that we do at Lead Inclusively. Learn more about that intersection: check out our Design Thinking-centered Inclusive Innovation Lab.