Diversity Panel Featuring 3 AWE Leaders!

DIversity Panel Pic.JPG

On July 12th, AWE New York Leader, Judy Jackson, Global Chief Talent Officer at Wunderman, moderated a fantastic panel, called Achieving Liftoff: Leveraging the Power of Diversity and Inclusion to Boost Your Brand at the Ace Hotel New York. Among the four panelists was AWE Emeritus Leader Cathy Gutierrez, Senior Human Resources Executive and AWE Emeritus Leader, Agnes Chapski, Senior GM and Sales Executive.

The goal of the discussion was to dig into tangible ways to leverage inclusion and diversity for positive business development, relationship management, and customer retention. The panelists represented varying client/customer focused brands from Glossier to Audible, and varied industries from PR to publishing companies. The panelists eloquently spoke on the intersection of successful branding and D&I - from the company's origin to bringing the vision to fruition and how the people you hire, the priorities you set, the customers you target, and the stories you weave with the communities in which you serve are integral.

The panel attracted close to 100 guests from senior executives and company leaders to junior folks and people pivoting in their careers. The women on the panel brought a truly complementary mix of insights and communication styles from the genuine, warm, even-keeled, matter-of-fact, and witty, to the anecdotal, tangible and cautionary. They focused on truly actionable items challenging attendees to bring back to their own companies. There were many profound moments (especially as race was a key focus) and a perfect sprinkling of wit and humor.

The evening's takeaways included:

1. Diversity programs have a higher likelihood of succeeding when driven by C-suite leaders, not human resources.

2. Steering committees to lead on diversity may create a lack of ownership and unintentionally diffuse impact.

3. There are tools to assist in "blind" interviewing but training in unconscious bias is a crucial part of the hiring and evaluation process.

4. Companies can follow the great examples of organizations like Starbucks and Salesforce to be more publicly open in acknowledging what they want to achieve around D&I (i.e. admitting when there are setbacks).

5. While sexism and racism are fully in the ether as biases to confront, there still exist more "accepted" biases like ageism, which should also be a focus of the work of organizations.

Judy Jackson provided a strikingly beautiful metaphor for D&I: Diversity is being asked to the dance, Inclusion is being asked to actually dance once there, and True Inclusion is when you know the steps to the dance that everyone is doing and you feel comfortable joining in and like you belong.

Diversity and inclusion is not just about getting under-represented folks in the room, it's about creating a culture where diverse perspectives are sought after. Folks need to be valued enough to be taught the dance.

AWE Teams Gather in New York and Los Angeles to Give Back to the Community

Each year AWE commits a day to giving back to our communities. In past years we’ve all gathered in Los Angeles and volunteered with The Downtown Women's Center, Los Angeles Family Housing, and Enrich LA. This year each team stayed within their respective regions to have an even greater footprint.

The New York cohort spent the day with RDJ Refugee Shelter, which is currently the only shelter in NYC specifically for homeless asylum seekers and refugees. This is important a key fact because shelters tend to be a dangerous place for some groups of people such as those with minimal knowledge of English, those who identify LBTQ+, and those who have no familial safety net. RDJ’s clients have no access to public funds or benefits. The shelter realizes this lack and offers housing, holistic care, support, and advocacy for asylum seekers.

As of January 2018 RDJ has provided assistance to 39 clients from 19 countries who have fled their country due to persecution for the following reasons:

  • 12% religious

  • 12% political

  • 12% other

  • 64% LGBTQ

Of those who they assist:

  • 93% find permanent housing in 6-9 months

  • 89% find legal presentation for their legal cases

  • 74% find employment during their stay

The day of volunteering included preparing the food pantry for service and then helping folks shop for groceries with their vouchers. Yael Utt, AWE’s Managing Director, East Coast said that her favorite part of the day was, “working with volunteers - who were literally people who had been in the system, endured the cycle of homelessness, and gotten out - and who are now giving back to their community with so much empathy and love.”

The Los Angeles team spent the day at Alexandria House -  a transitional home that offers support to women and children during transitional periods. During their 21 years in service they have helped over 200 families find financial security and permanent housing. Beyond their work in homelessness, they are also a neighborhood community center, offering educational and enrichment opportunities to neighbors as well as residents.

Once leaving Alexandria House, former residents are still supported to ensure that they thrive and remain in their homes. More than 78% of families that have lived in the house have remained in permanent housing.

The numbers speak volumes about the impact of Alexandria House in the last year:

  • 10 families in residence (including 23 kids)

  • 11 single women in residence

  • 76 families receiving supportive services (including 140 children)

  • 51 youth participants in the after school and teen program

  • 35 children participating in their vacation camp program (spring/summer/winter)

  • 102 past residents actively involved in Alexandria House programs

  • 1,350+ people served by the neighborhood programs

The AWE team worked with roughly 30 kids at the summer camp ranging in ages from 2-15 years old. We played games to teach communication, eye contact, and spacial awareness; danced until our feet hurt; made ice cream sundaes; shared stories; and learned about lives different and similar to our own. Jameelah Nuriddin, AWE’s Accelerator Program Coordinator, said that her favorite part of the day was, “connecting with the kids, looking into their eyes and realizing that that work we do is helping to create a better world for the next generation.”

All of us at AWE feel truly privileged and grateful to be welcomed by these organizations and to have new insight into the work that they do to create positive change in the community. Thank you, RDJ Refugee Shelter and Alexandria House for giving us the opportunity to spend a day in your shoes and for the continued impact that you have every single day.

Nasdaq Corporate Solutions highlights AWE New York Leader, Melissa Trombetta for performing beyond the traditional role of an IRO

 Melissa Trombetta, Advancing Women Executives Leader on the Jumbotron in New York's Times Square. 

Melissa Trombetta, Advancing Women Executives Leader on the Jumbotron in New York's Times Square. 

AWE New York Leader, Melissa Trombetta, Head of Global Investor Relations at Mylan was featured last month in Nasdaq's IRO campaign. In the interview she discusses her top priorities, challenges, useful resources, and advice that she'd give to the next generation of IRO leaders.

Currently, Melissa is Head of Global Investor Relations at Mylan N.V., a leading global pharmaceutical company whose differentiated business model focuses on access, durability, and diversification. With more than 10 years of investor relations experience, Melissa joined the company in 2017, and brings to her current role investor communication expertise, a deep knowledge of the investor community, and broad-based finance experience.

Mylan is a global pharmaceutical company committed to providing 7 billion people access to high quality medicine. They offer a growing portfolio of more than 7,500 marketed products in more than 165 countries and territories. They are one of the world's largest producers of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Every member of their approximately 35,000-strong workforce is dedicated to creating better health for a better world, one person at a time.