Commentary: Black Business Leaders Call for Diversity in Their Ranks

The Executive Leadership Council presents to the world a call for action and bridge building.

Posted: 10/19/2012 11:48 PM EDT
Commentary: Black Business Leaders Call for Diversity in Their Ranks

There aren’t many African-Americans in the upper echelons of American business. Oprah is one, and BET founder Robert L. Johnson is another. But they are outliers. For the most part, the top levels of business in the U.S. remain the domains of white men.


That in mind, a group of emerging Black business leaders has banded together to ask their colleagues and contemporaries to consider opening their doors to more African-American employees.


The Executive Leadership Council (ELC), a group of past and present Black CEOs and senior executives at Fortune 500 companies, issued a call to action at its annual Recognition Gala.


The organization’s message is simple: It will be “the business case for diversity and inclusion to corporate leaders, in particular that investing in diverse senior leadership teams, including African-Americans, leads to greater innovation, profitability and success for corporations,” according to a press statement from the ELC.


It continues:


“Diversity of thought is critical to ongoing innovation and success of global business," said Bernard J. Tyson, ELC Board Chair and President and Chief Operating Officer of Kaiser Permanente. "It's no secret that diverse teams increase shareholder value by bringing unique perspectives and diverse solutions to deliver bottom-line value. Our role as ELC members is to realize the important role we have as corporate executives to help CEOs and other leaders understand that African-American and other diverse leaders help build an environment of inclusion, where every perspective is value-add to the organization.”


America is an increasingly diverse place. Huge influxes of Latino immigrants, interracial marriages are on the rise, and more people call themselves “multi-racial” than ever before. It’s only a matter of time — many say 2050 — until whites constitute a minority in the U.S.


In the near future, diversity is going to be less and less about doing the nice liberal thing and more and more about staying healthy, prosperous and significant. You can either join those of us preaching diversification or get left behind.


These opinions do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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(Photo: Clerkenwell / Getty Images)

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