Tag Archives: diversity leadership

Arizona School Choice Trust

Avnet Recognized for Diversity Leadership in STEM

Beth_McMullenAvnet, Inc., a leading global technology distributor, announced today that Beth McMullen, vice president of IT for Avnet, Inc., was selected as one of STEMconnector® 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM. McMullen was honored in the STEMconnector® publication featuring top executives who have demonstrated a commitment to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and diversity initiatives and are making a difference with these efforts. In the publication, McMullen shares her opinions on workforce diversity, the importance of STEM education and what it takes to be a leader in these areas.

“Avnet is committed to investing in improving education and helping underserved groups obtain the skills and services they need to be successful in the technology workforce,” said Steve Phillips, senior vice president and CIO of Avnet, Inc. “Beth embodies this commitment and is a role model for anyone considering a STEM-related career. This recognition celebrates Beth’s dedication to providing the leadership and nurturing needed to truly make a positive difference in the lives of the next generation of business leaders.”

McMullen, a 20-year technology industry veteran, was promoted to her current position in July and leads IT strategy for Avnet’s logistics business globally. Throughout her career, McMullen has actively encouraged and fostered diversity in STEM-related careers. For example, she is a member of the Avnet Executive Women’s Forum leadership team. This group provides mentoring, networking opportunities and leadership development for Avnet’s female executives. McMullen is also a board member for Arizona Women’s Education and Employment (AWEE), a workforce development organization. Previously, McMullen was a member of both the Information Technology Advisory Board for the State of Arizona and the Workforce Development Committee at the Arizona Technology Council, a trade association for science and technology companies.

“STEM education has never been more important,” said McMullen. “As technology plays an increasingly critical role for every company, the knowledge and skills acquired through STEM will soon be viewed as foundational – transferrable to any industry and required by all. It has been my privilege to work closely with a wide range of people to help them obtain the education and skills needed to accelerate their professional success and achieve their career dreams.”

The STEMconnector selection process for the 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM included thorough research and outreach to over 100 CEOs for nominations. Information for each nominee was collected in three areas: the executive’s background and career; the company’s STEM position within its industry; and the nominee’s perspective on a variety of issues in the STEM space, including mentoring and diversity.

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

Diversity Leadership Alliance Winners - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Diversity Leadership Alliance Winners

Govt./Nonprofit Category Winner Yuma Regional Medical CenterGovt./Nonprofit Category Winner
Yuma Regional Medical Center

Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is proud of having a diverse work force that represents the community and the patients it serves. That work force diversity includes ethnicity, cultural background, gender, age, economic means, physical and mental ability, family settings, educational levels, and religious beliefs.

By valuing diversity, YRMC seeks to achieve an environment where the total spectrum of differences is valued and integrated into every aspect of the hospital. YRMC classifies its various dimensions of diversity as human, cultural and systemic. Human diversity refers to the physical characteristics or life experience of an individual. Cultural diversity is characterized by fundamental beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, values and personal characteristics. System diversity is characterized by the integration of organizational structures and management operating systems where differences are involved or implicit.

YRMC strives not only for diversity within its walls, but also outside of them. The YRMC Community Outreach Team allows employees to connect with Yuma’s many diverse cultures. The program focuses on meeting the needs of winter visitors, migrant workers, military personnel, as well as the elderly, uninsured and Spanish-speaking population.

Diversity Champion Lee A. Barnett: Director of Technology, American ExpressDiversity Champion
Lee A. Barnett: Director of Technology, American Express

Lee A. Barnett’s dedication to diversity and Valley youth already is bearing fruit.

Barnett, the director of technology at American Express’ Valley operations, has been a member of the Diversity Leadership Alliance’s (DLA) board since 2007. He has been key in developing the DLA Youth Council, which assists high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to transition to higher education and work force readiness. The council also develops leadership skills among youth that are aimed at building an inclusive community.

Under Barnett’s guidance, the three-year-old DLA Youth Council has grown from 24 students to 120 students participating in monthly workshops. At this year’s DLA Youth Council ceremony, 12 students from several Phoenix-area high schools received recognition. They in turn expressed their gratitude for the confidence, support, and diversity awareness and training that DLA provides.

One student stated: “I went into the DLA being someone who preferred their own ideas and thoughts over others. I am extremely proud to say I am leaving the DLA being a person who now respects, accepts and is grateful for different ideas.”

Barnett’s dedication to the Youth Council is opening new horizons for many diverse high school students throughout the Valley.

Small Co. Category Winner Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority Inc.Small Co. Category Winner
Northern Arizona Regional
Behavioral Health Authority Inc.

Serving 10 Native American tribes, the Northern Arizona Regional Behavioral Health Authority (NARBHA) has made a commitment to upholding diversity and cultural sensitivity in order to provide high-quality care to its patients.

NARBHA is the Regional Behavioral Health Authority for Coconino, Navajo, Yavapai, Apache and Mohave counties, serving more than 700,000 people throughout 62,000 square miles of Northern Arizona.

In 2001, NARBHA established a cultural competency plan as required by the Arizona Department of Health. The following year, NARBHA developed the Cultural Awareness and Diversity Committee, which uses community input to annually update the cultural competency plan. In 2003, the co-chair of the committee saw a gap in communications between NARBHA and the 10 tribes NARBHA serves. To improve coordination with the tribes, NARBHA created a new position called the Tribal Liaison.

The development of the cultural diversity committee, the cultural diversity plan, and employees devoted to cultural inclusion has improved NARBHA’s ability to provide services to diverse populations. The initiative has broken down barriers to tribal members’ access to care, created culturally responsive behavioral health programs in treatment clinics, and increased awareness statewide of the unique needs of diverse, rural communities. In addition, NARBHA focuses its hiring efforts on developing a work force that reflects the diversity and language needs of the community.

Large Co. Category Winner Cox CommunicationsLarge Co. Category Winner
Cox Communications

The Spanish word for “leader” is “lider.” It’s no surprise that LIDER is the name of Cox Arizona’s 12-week Leadership Development Program. The program was created to introduce the company’s frontline bilingual (Spanish/English) employees to leadership, and to develop future leaders that will help Cox grow its Hispanic customer base.

LIDER provides education on the leadership roles at Cox and Cox’s core competencies (influencing others, producing results, communication skills). The program is structured to address the uniqueness of Hispanic culture, and the combination of multiple cultures and languages in a business environment.

The four-year-old LIDER program is facilitated by the Cox Internacional leadership team and was developed through a collaborative effort of the company’s Arizona care, field training and human resources. Candidates are provided extensive development plans, participate in presentations by the local executive leadership team, review core leadership competencies, book reviews, and are given a final project that is presented in front of the Cox Arizona executive team. The program is cross-departmental and has seen a 33 percent promotion rate.

Development programs such as LIDER help to grow Cox’s diverse employee base. The company’s leadership team, from executives, VPs, directors and managers, participates and actively promotes self-development and growth.

Large Co. Category Winner Veolia TransportationLarge Co. Category Winner
Veolia Transportation

Veolia Transportation is committed to creating an environment of diversity and inclusion. Through its Diversity and Inclusion Program, Veolia’s overall human resource strategy includes recruiting, hiring, promoting, engaging and retaining the company’s diverse talent.

Veolia’s Diversity and Inclusion Program began with revamping the entire recruiting process to ensure Veolia became an Equal Opportunity Employer. Once on board, Veolia provides an employee orientation program that includes diversity training. In addition, all existing employees completed a diversity training class in 2008. Awareness and education regarding diversity have continued with the production of a monthly diversity newsletter. Also, an internal Mentoring Program was created to provide opportunities for new hires to be partnered with seasoned employees.

The need for a culture change was imminent at Veolia Transportation of Tempe. Due to a poorly run operation, new leadership was sought. A new, diverse team was brought together in 2007 to help transform the performance of the operation and improve the overall morale of employees. The diversity training initiative helped “create an environment of respect for our differences and inclusion.” Soon, Veolia’s slogan of “Together We CARE” became real. CARE stands for commitment, accountability, respect and empowerment. These are four values that are consistent with Veolia’s everyday operations in Tempe.

Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010