CEO Leadership in Action

Profiles in Diversity Journal - March/April 2014

The Stuff Champions Are Made Of

What makes a leader a champion? True champions inspire us with their vision, excite us with their enthusiasm, and encourage us to overcome our biases and reframe the future. They question the status quo, and ask us to do the same.

In this issue, we celebrate the ultimate champion of diversity and inclusion—the CEO.

When business leaders foster an equitable and inclusive workplace—where people are valued, respected, and welcomed—it sends a powerful message. The 33 CEOs you’ll hear from in this issue do not see diversity as a stand-alone initiative, or the responsibility of a single department or person. They see the advancement of diversity as a truly personal, but ultimately, companywide mission. And they embrace diversity and inclusion, not just because they believe doing so is a competitive advantage, but also because they know it is the right thing to do.

Many CEOs cited workforce diversity as their most important strategic advantage. For CEO Robert Sanchez, diversity is a source of innovative ideas that improve his business. CEO Yue Zhuge sees teams at her startup perform better when they include members from around the globe. And CEO Lee Pelton brings new voices to the table to enrich discourse and sharpen historical perspective.

A person’s commitment to diversity and inclusion may grow out of his or her experience as an outsider. For example, CEO Masashi Oka learned as a small child in a new country that respect and kindness translate, even when languages don’t. And Frederica Williams, from Sierra Leone, was inspired to lead a health center that helps address health disparities in her urban community. These men and women are igniting change within their organizations and across the world.

James R. Rector, CEO & Publisher
March 2014


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