Businesses which embrace diversity and inclusion have a stronger bottom line. Studies show, whether it’s more women on boards or more ethnic, religious, gender, generational or the inclusion of the differently abled, diversity brings opportunity.With that on their minds, “The Power of Diversity for a Stronger Business” was the talking point at the Metropolitan Business Network (MBN) October 2oth meeting at the Harvard Club in New York City. HJ Media, with MBN, organized the panel to focus on a mission imperative of adding a diversity-and-inclusion strategy to businesses of all sizes.
The panel discussion was moderated by HJ Media founder Helen Jonsen, a business journalist and former member of the senior management team of Working Mother Media and, its subsidiary, Diversity Best Practices. Jonsen notes that having a diverse workplace empowers a company to be a more balanced place to work and a better corporate citizen overall.
It also impacts the bottom line for the better. She adds that in a city like New York, where the member companies are based and do most of their work, it seems obvious that a diverse workplace would strengthen each of them. “The City of New York has 400,000 more women than men and its population speaks over 200 different languages. Those facts alone should be reason enough to have advisors, executives, sales teams, and workforces which reflect the city we do business in,” says Jonsen.
Three leaders in their respective fields in the media industry joined Jonsen on the panel and brought a depth of knowledge and experience to the discussion which challenged the MBN members–business owners, associates and guests–to learn new strategies on D&I that might take them out of their comfort zones and become more profitable by doing so. On the panel were: Desiree Dancy, Herb Scannell and James “Buff” Parham.
Desiree Dancy is a leader in the field of human resources and diversity and inclusion. Currently, she serves as a senior consultant with Jennifer Brown Consulting, a global diversity-and-inclusion firm with a unique passion for building inclusive workplaces and expertise in human capital and talent management. Previously, Dancy was the Chief Diversity Officer and VP of HR for The New York Times Company, and held a similar role with TIAA-CREF.
Herb Scannell, currently of Scannell Consulting, has been a leader in big media for much of his career including as Vice Chairman of MTV Networks, where he was President of Nickelodeon; in digital media via Startup Next New Networks that was sold to Google/YouTube; and in global media, most recently, as president of BBC Worldwide North America. Scannell is also a champion of diversity and inclusion both in media and in the C-suite.
James “Buff” Parham, of Parham Associates, is a 35-year veteran in various sales and executive management capacities with major television networks including CBS, ABC, FOX and Univision. His firm consults, supports, and partners with companies in telecommunications, TV commercial production, magazine publishing, and mobile app development. Parham has worked with multi-cultural teams throughout his career.
Discussion topics included D&I as a core business strategy and the benefit to the bottom line; getting management to buy in with diversity scorecards and how goals can be tied to executive compensation; diversity in the sales force and vendor pipelines; unconscious bias and how it affects what we do; generational diversity and harnessing the strengths of the millennial and post-millennial generations, and inclusion of employees and leaders who are differently abled.
Another key point made: Once leadership commits to a diversity and inclusion strategy, it must communicate the mission within the organization in a way that will empower decision makers and employees to make it a priority as well.
A video of the event will be posted to the MBN channel shortly.