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NEW sponsors named ‘Best Companies for Multicultural Women’

Tuesday, May 31, 2011  
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Six Network of Executive Women sponsors were recognized by Working Mother magazine as one of its 23 "Best Companies for Multicultural Women.”

Colgate-Palmolive, Deloitte, General Mills, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Walmart were named to the 2011 Working Mother Best Companies for Mulitcultural Women list based on their
hiring, attrition and promotion rates; recruitment, retention and advancement programs; and company culture. The list is based on company answers to a 300-question survey, which included questions on the availability and usage of programs, plus the accountability of managers who oversee them. Working Mother also considers recently settled, decided or still-pending class-action lawsuits.

At Colgate-Palmolive, a NEW platinum sponsor, nearly 60 percent of employees participated in leadership and management training programs last year, according to Working Mother. Representation of multicultural women in the upper echelons keeps pace with their overall numbers: multicultural women represent 13 percent of all employees versus 12 percent of senior managers and 10 percent of the highest earners. The company has 13 employee network groups, which foster workplace alliances and help women sharpen their skills, the magazine reported. Its sponsorship of organizations such as the National Urban League and National Hispanic Corporate Achievers sends the message to employees of all backgrounds that they matter.

Last year, Deloitte, a NEW title sponsor, gave more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations devoted to promoting or celebrating diversity. After an internal survey of 3,700 employees found that multicultural women desired more formal sponsorship, the firm launched a one-year program that matches female managers and senior managers of color with leaders who help them orchestrate a career plan, gain access to key assignments and enhance their knowledge of what it takes to advance. An 18-month Leadership Acceleration Program allows female partners and principals to shadow their sponsors on the job, receiving intensive mentoring and coaching that brings them to the next level, the magazine reported.

Big money for women suppliers

Platinum sponsor General Mills spent $445 million with minority-owned suppliers and $100 million with women-owned suppliers last year; by 2013, it hopes to spend $700 million on both, Working Mother reported. The cpg giant offers dozens of coaching and mentoring programs to help multicultural women advance. Its Executive Diversity Council has satellites in 10 functions and divisions. Fifty-five percent all recent hires are female, and one-third are women of color. Six affinity groups cater to women of similar racial and ethnic backgrounds.

PepsiCo, a NEW foundation sponsor, is one of the major sponsors of ASCENT, an organization that seeks leadership roles for multicultural women. Its Women of Color Multicultural Alliance advocates for those advancing into middle management and beyond. At annual gatherings, multicultural women work on building authentic relationships with management and learn the best ways to initiate tough-but-important conversations, Working Mother reported. Nearly 75 percent of the company’s full-time associates report that managers practice diversity and inclusion, up from 16 percent in 2004.

At Procter & Gamble, annual diversity results have a direct effect on the amount of stock options its top officers receive each year. The NEW title sponsor pinpoints high-potential women of color during talent reviews and considers their readiness for promotion, discussing how they can be given more support and what they need to do to raise their profile. Women enrolled in the company’s multicultural reverse mentoring program give executives and senior leaders insight into what their office experience is like, the magazine reported. At least 65 percent of multicultural women say they currently have a counselor, mentor or advisor at the office. Managers who supervise diverse employees have access to training on "cultural fluency” and in 2010 the company launched its formal Inclusion & Diversity Council. At least 75 percent of multicultural women employees belong to one of seven employee networks.

With 4,413 locations in 50 states, Walmart, a NEW foundation sponsor, maintains close ties to multicultural communities and recruits from dozens of different diversity events. At headquarters, female associates attend the monthly meetings of the 1,800-plus-member Women’s Resource Council, an affinity group that helps them explore professional development and features speakers on women’s leadership. Walmart’s Women Officers Caucus encourages junior female employees to advance through the ranks, provides mentoring to up-and-coming leaders and serves as a resource for existing female officers, Working Mother reported. The Walmart Diversity and Inclusion Trailblazer Award celebrates store and market managers who actively support employees of color and their communities. At corporate headquarters, employees at the vice-president level and above frequently engage in mentoring circles, while hourly store associates may form smaller groups or partner with managers through the Mentor Me program.

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