Tag Archives: affirmative action programs

Christine French - Creates a Nonprofit & successful entrepreneurial venture. - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Christine French Of The Nonprofit Diversity Leadership Alliance & Global Diversity Consulting

Christine French Took Her Expertise In Diversity To Create A Nonprofit And A Successful Entrepreneurial Venture.

Even as a young child growing up in Vietnam, Christine French always knew her main purpose in life was to help people from different backgrounds and experiences come together and form a whole.

“When I was eight, the first lesson in social studies was talking about ambassadors. Right then and there I stood up and announced to my teacher and my class, to their surprise and mine, ‘I am going to be one of those,’” French says. “The ambassador, as I learned that day in the lesson, is the person who helps people understand each other so they no longer have a need to fight, to have war. That has followed me since I was eight.”

In 2002, in the wake of Sept. 11, French hosted a roundtable in Phoenix that brought together business leaders and various associations to discuss the importance of diversity to business success.

Since the Diversity Leadership Alliance was officially formed in 2003, it has grown rapidly, and now hosts a wide range of events, including monthly workshops with average attendance rates of more than 100 people, quarterly executive and legal forums, an annual diversity conference, and a youth council.

French says she started the nonprofit Diversity Leadership Alliance and her business, Global Diversity Consulting, to dispel the many myths surrounding diversity efforts.

Diversity’s progress has been slowed, French says, because the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and affirmative action programs have led many employers to view diversity as a numbers game.

This misconception created resistance to embracing diversity, as many people and companies thought hiring minorities meant not hiring the most qualified candidate, she says.

But French, who is founder and co-chair of the Diversity Leadership Alliance, argues that diversity is really about embracing the gifts and talents of every individual, and putting those strengths to work for a company.

“EEOC and affirmative action are counting people; diversity and inclusion (are) making people count,” French says.

The only way to combat misunderstandings about diversity, French says, is to create dialogue, which is the goal of the Diversity Leadership Alliance and the forums it hosts. French says she wants this dialogue to lead to major changes in the way people think about diversity.

While promoting the benefits of diversity, French says she is often asked, “Why do I have to change? I’ve been successful so far.”

Her response?

“We all need to change, myself included,” she says. “We all need to change because what brought us here today, all the skill and talent and good work we’ve done yesterday to bring us here today, will not be enough to take us where we need to be tomorrow.”

French’s commitment to diversity extends to her own livelihood. In 2007, she left her job as senior global diversity leader at American Express to spend more time with her four grandsons. However, she continues to champion diversity through Global Diversity Consulting.

French has written and self-published two books, “The Lotus Path” and “How to Get Along With Other People Without Hiring a Hit Man.”

“The Lotus Path,” which will be available in March, details French’s life, her success and how she learned transformational leadership during her world travels.

French co-wrote “How to Get Along With Other People Without Hiring a Hit Man” with Rico Burton. The book, which was published in October, features 10 stories about workplace challenges, and includes activities to help readers find solutions to each situation.

With her books, her life and her work, French is trying to clear away the fallacies about diversity, and one day hopes, to quote Martin Luther King Jr., that her “grandsons (will) be judged by the content of their character, and not by the color of their skin.”

Until then, French will continue pushing for more and more dialogue about diversity.

“Diversity … is about people. It’s about you. It’s about me,” French says. “Let’s clear it once and for all, because as long as we have a misconception, a misunderstanding, the work will never be done.”

Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Voting Booth

Update: A Proposition Primer For Election Day – Tom’s Picks

Editor’s Note: With less than a week to go before Election Day, AZNow.Biz’s political columnist, Tom Milton, has revealed his recommendations on the 10 propositions on the ballot. As he says, “You’ll notice, I don’t like many of them.”

Election Day is almost here. If you are like me, you are probably already tired of the commercials, the phone calls and the mail.  Along with a sea of candidates on this ballot, we will also be asked to vote on a number of issues. There are 10 propositions on this November’s ballot. Understanding a proposition in itself can sometimes be tricky, but that is only half of the battle. The tougher part can be understanding what a “Yes” vote means as opposed to a “No” vote.  Here is a very short recap of the main points behind the 10 propositions.

I want to give special thanks to Stuart Goodman of Goodman Schwartz Public Affairs, who for the last few election cycles summarized this information so that it is easier to understand. I used his summary as my guide and added just a touch more information as well.

The first seven propositions are all items that the Legislature referred to the ballot.

Prop. 106 – Healthcare Freedom Act

Passing means that the state’s constitution would be amended to prohibit any law from forcing a person or business into having to participate in a specific health care system. It will allow a person to buy their health care from any provider without being fined or penalized.

Proponents (YES VOTE) say it will guarantee that health care consumers can make their own choices without being penalized.

Opponents (NO VOTE) argue it is just an effort to derail federal health care reform and will negatively impact the uninsured.

Tom’s Pick:

NO on Prop. 106
Behind every ballot initiative is usually a special interest or cause. This prop is meant to scuttle Obamacare. It is suppose to prevent people from being forced into a medical system that will penalize them if they don’t participate. It will actually not prevent Obamacare, but rather create conflict between the federal government and Arizona. I don’t feel this is the best way to deal with health care reform.


Prop. 107 – Arizona Civil Rights Initiative

Passing would amend Arizona’s constitution to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to any person or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. This would mostly apply to government and political subdivisions such as school districts.

Proponents (YES VOTE) say this provides equal protection for all citizens by not providing preferential treatment to anyone.

Opponents (NO VOTE) argue this will turn back the clock on the civil rights movement, as these programs have helped level the playing field for disadvantaged groups.

Tom’s Pick:

NO on Prop. 107
I struggle with ballot initiatives that I feel are deceptively named. This ballot prop eliminates any affirmative-action style program. So why not call it that? Most civil rights advocates attribute affirmative action as a useful tool that has significantly helped in the civil rights movement. So this initiative wants to eliminate affirmative action and calls itself a “Civil Rights Initiative.” I know that not everyone likes these programs, but there are numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions that prevent these programs from being run as quotas or set-asides. Any program implemented today has to be preceded by a disparity study showing that a statistical disparity exists. Then a program can be put in place for a limited time to correct that specific disparity. It is a tool. This initiative bans use of this tool and is deceptive in its name.


Prop. 109 – Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment

Passing means the Arizona constitution would be amended to declare that wildlife would be held in trust for Arizonans who have a right to lawfully hunt or fish. It would mean that only the Legislature could pass laws regulating hunting or fishing, and prohibits any law that unreasonably restricts hunting and fishing. It also provides that hunting and fishing are to be the preferred means of managing wildlife populations.

Proponents (YES VOTE) say this will protect hunting and fishing from future excessive regulation.

Opponents (NO VOTE) argue this will negatively impact the ability to use any other established wildlife management practices.

Tom’s Pick:

NO on Prop. 109
One of the things this initiative does is provide for hunting and fishing to be the preferred means of managing wildlife populations. Why would we chose to limit wildlife management to only hunting, when there are other scientific means that can also be useful? Big out-of-state money is being spent on both sides of this initiative. In favor of it is the National Rifle Association and opposed to it is the Humane Society.


Prop. 110 – State Trust Land Exchanges

Passing would amend the Arizona constitution to allow State Trust Land to be sold or leased without an auction if it is to protect a military installation or operation. It will also allow voters to approve land exchanges for military protection or land planning purposes.

Proponents (YES VOTE) say this will protect military facilities and helps better manage Trust Lands.

Opponents (NO VOTE), well, there aren’t any, or at least they haven’t said anything yet. I’ll keep listening.

Tom’s Pick:

YES on Prop. 110
When Arizona became a state, all of the land that the state owned was put into a trust to benefit education. Our forefathers were insightful to take the state’s largest resource and tie it to our greatest future need — education. It is protected in our constitution and has no flexibility. Unfortunately, there was no way that at statehood they could understand the idea of making small future exceptions that might serve a greater good. Protecting Luke Air Force Base is worth making an exception and adjusting the stringent constitutional land laws.


Prop. 111 – Lieutenant Governor

Passage would amend the Arizona constitution to change the title of the secretary of state to lieutenant governor. They would have the same job responsibilities, be elected independent of the governor, and be the first in the line of succession should the governor leave office.

Proponents (YES VOTE) say that given the regularity by which Arizona has had the secretary of state become governor, this would help voters understand the importance of the role when voting for them.

Opponents (NO VOTE) argue that after the primary election, same party candidates for governor and lieutenant governor would be forced to run as a slate. They also point out that this initiative calls for governor and lieutenant governor candidates to be from a major party, thus eliminating the ability of an Independent (which is not itself considered a party) to aspire to them.

Tom’s Pick:vote November 2, 2010

YES on Prop. 111
This initiative changes the title of the secretary of state to lieutenant governor. The person in office would still retain all of the same duties. Because Arizona has had a consistent history of governors not finishing their terms in office and the secretary of state taking over, this would help voters understand the significance of their vote: They are voting for the second-highest ranking official in the state.