A noteworthy gathering of minority business executives reaffirmed Wednesday in Washington DC the continuing need for more diversity in corporate leadership throughout the nation. Robert L. Johnson, Chairman of the RLJ Cos. and Founder of Black Entertainment Television, was the catalyst in bringing the group of 30 prominent business leaders together to include Tony Jimenez, President & CEO of MicroTech.
Johnson said the group’s recommendation of having companies include qualified minority candidates in every vice president level or higher position fill was not getting the traction it deserves. The plan also calls on businesses to interview minority firms for vendor supply and other contract opportunities. The hiring strategy proposal is based on the National Football League’s edict requiring minority candidates be interviewed for vacant head coaching and general manager positions.
The group discussed the need for the Obama Administration to aggressively promote the plan to help revector the long existing trends involving representation gaps in equitable employment distribution between white workers and minority workers; especially at senior corporate levels. Johnson admitted his frustration with the White House’s lack of progress in this worthwhile endeavor and is no longer relying on government leaders to push the proposal. The group’s new strategy is to directly reach out to corporate America to include engaging with organizations representing large business segments such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“Diversifying corporate leadership and expanding contract opportunities make perfect business sense,” said Jimenez, who is also a National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Governance Fellow, “Diversity provides valuable perspective to companies, especially with today’s surge in expanding markets.”
Along with Johnson and Jimenez other prominent business leaders participating in the session included Charles Garcia, Managing Partner, Garcia Trujillo; Judge Nelson Diaz, Partner, Dilworth Paxson LLP; Joseph Fergus, Founder and CEO, COMTek; Frank Rodriguez, Founder, Chairman, and Chief Legal Officer, Corporate Creations International, Inc; and Albert Zapanta, President and CEO, U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.