Revealing the Hidden Diversity Dividend

Overview At CES 2020, senior leaders from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® and top media companies and associations addressed diversity and bias on a panel as part of the CMO Insights series.

Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient, the Official Equity Partner of CES, opened a conversation about diversity on The Hidden Diversity Dividend panel at CES 2020 by asking panelists Karen Chupka, EVP, CES,CTA; Antonio Lucio, chief marketing officer, Facebook; and Stephanie McMahon, chief brand officer, WWE, about personal biases that angered them the most.

From ageism to cultural stereotypes, the group opened up and then highlighted the changes they’ve made to shed light on the diversity dividend.

McMahon spoke about the #GiveDivasaChance hashtag that fought for more show time in the WWE for women.  The trending hashtag led to “divas” — what women in the WWE were called — being referred to as “superstars,” just like the men, and a re-launch of the program as an official Women’s Division.


The Playbook

Despite major strides and examples of success in diversity and inclusion, all speakers agreed that there is still a long road ahead.

Lucio outlined steps that companies can take:

  • Scorecards.

  • Comprehensive programs that involve holistic and systemic change.

  • Mentoring employees.

  • Working on inclusion and representation.

  • Holding ourselves accountable.

“Is it hard? Yes. Things that matter are supposed to be hard,” Lucio said. “But the moment you want to change something, you have to take the risk.”

Zalis added, “It’s not just about representation, it’s about reflection.”

When people at companies feel as if they belong and can see themselves as part of the company, that’s how companies cultivate the right culture to attract and retain good talent.

At a greater scale, the way progress happens, Zalis and Lucio said, is to collaborate and share the good, bad and ugly. Raw conversations about diversity and the change that needs to happen is the way real change occurs.

“As long as you continually look at what you need to change and adapt and learn, you can make things better moving forward,” Chupka said.


Solutions Underway

Discussing the forecast that by 2024, two-thirds of the computing industry roles will be unfilled, the panelists spoke about the solutions for change that their companies are working on for a diverse talent pipeline.

CTA has partnered with IBM for a roadmap to an apprenticeship program to train workers for the future workforce.

“There no longer has to be a commitment to a certain skillset. We are preparing the workforce for the future,” Chupka said.

Lucio candidly shared that efforts have been more successful in non-engineering roles at Facebook, but highlighted, “When you have bosses that represent the population you need to bring forth, you will get more employees like that.”

“It’s difficult for people who are diverse — women, people of color, people with disabilities —to look up and say they have no role models they can look up to,” he added.

McMahon said that growing up with her mother as a CEO meant that she always thought that women could and should be senior leaders. With the WWE, the team is working on showcasing more highlight reels and Plays of the Week focused on women athletes and players. Less than 4% of highlight reels feature women, currently.

“These women bring it all the time, you’re just not seeing it,” she said.

“Our role as leaders has to be to create those opportunities for growth,” Lucio said. “We need to create the space and demonstrate that it is a feasible business proposal.”


Watch the Hidden Diversity Dividend panel from CES 2020 to learn other diversity and inclusion solutions in the workplace.

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