The Boeing Company (Chicago, IL)

The Boeing Company (Chicago, IL)

2004 Employer of Choice Award Winner

Midwest Region

Douglas Bain
Douglas Bain
General Counsel

As the world's leading aerospace company, The Boeing Company employs more than 157,500 diverse, talented, and innovative people in more than 70 countries. Its commercial and military aviation legacy includes aircraft such as the B-17, the B-29, the B-47, the C-17, the 707, the 747, the 777, and the new 7E7. What's impressive about this company is that its impact on workforce diversity is just as important.

The Boeing law department, headed by General Counsel Douglas Bain, has established a written, comprehensive diversity program. Twelve percent of department lawyers are minorities and 33 percent are women; among direct reports to the general counsel, 17 percent are minorities and 25 percent are women.

Boeing law department's diversity program addresses five key areas: establishing measures to ensure that real diversity numbers are set; ensuring that all employees feel comfortable they can truly succeed in the Boeing environment; retaining people at Boeing for the long term; offering training that is clear and interdepartmental; and ensuring that Boeing's outside law firms demonstrate diversity commitments and results.

Thomas Sabatino, Jr., Douglas Bain, Veta Richardson
(L to R): Thomas Sabatino, Jr., Baxter International; Douglas Bain, The Boeing Company; and Veta Richardson, MCCA

Another way in which Boeing encourages diversity is through its support of company-wide affinity groups, representing African-Americans, Asian-Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, women, and gays and lesbians. These groups serve as a cultural resource, which in turn furthers Boeing's ability to do business in a global, multicultural environment. In addition, they are invaluable in raising awareness and understanding of the diverse groups represented in the company. The cultural groups operate at local Boeing sites and are supported by each site's diversity representative. Additionally, its executives serve as mentors to the affinity groups, provide links to executive-level management, and help members understand the business.

Outside the company, Boeing has close ties to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In 2002, Boeing awarded subcontracts valued at nearly $2 million to HBCUs. Senior Boeing executives work closely with the deans at HBCUs to promote mutual goals, and the company annually invests significant dollars in HBCU student scholarship funds.

These and other contemporary diversity initiatives merely continue a history of commitment that began decades ago, when Boeing was one of the original signatories to the 1950's alliance for progress, wherein federal government contractors voluntarily committed to make equal opportunity a reality. At Boeing, a steadfast commitment to the principles of inclusion, opportunity, fairness, and growth is not only what is preached, it is what is practiced.

From the November/December 2004 issue of Diversity & The Bar®

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