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Diversity & The Bar™

CEOs Speak Out on the Business Case for the 21st Century
Diversity in Dollars and $ense

Articles and profiles by Dr. Arin Reeves

As U.S. companies seek to create competitive advantages in a rapidly changing global marketplace, workforce diversity has emerged as one of the primary sources through which a company can gain and sustain a competitive advantage. Today's discussion has evolved from one of moral imperative and being "the right thing to do" to the business imperative of being "the necessary thing to do."

Profiled

F. Duane Ackerman
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
BellSouth

Alan Lacy
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Kenneth D. Lewis
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President
Bank of America

J. W. Marriott, Jr.
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
Marriott Corporation

Philip J. Purcell
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
Morgan Stanley

Michael I. Roth
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
The MONY Group

William C. Weldon
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
Johnson & Johnson

Companies that integrate diversity into their business fabric as a core value are positioning themselves to maximize their organization's potential in the global arena, where diversity of perspectives at every level of an organization is criticalto success.

Even as diversity differs in substance and form from organization to organization, integrating diversity into the business values of any organization starts in the same place—at the very top with the chief executive officer.

In the pages that follow, you'll read diversity profiles of CEOs representing seven of the most successful and admired corporations in the world. These CEOs are sharing their personal and business philosophies about diversity as a core business value guiding their organizations to national and global success.

Individually, each CEO highlights the importance of diversity for his own organization and leadership style. Together these leaders carve out a business case for diversity that cannot be ignored.

As each of the CEOs profiled have articulated so passionately, achieving sustainable diversity in organizations begins with committed leadership from the very top. In addition to personal and professional commitment from the CEO, the business case for diversity must be clearly defined, thoroughly developed, and effectively communicated to each and every employee within the organization.

As these business leaders have emphasized individually and collectively, diversity is no longer a choice for businesses that seek to compete in the global marketplace; it is a business imperative and a business necessity.

Dr. Arin N. Reeves is a principal consultant with The Athens Group, where she specializes in diversity strategies and solutions for legal and corporate workplaces.

From the November 2002 issue of Diversity & The Bar®

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