Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. (TIAA), Kenneth C. Frazier (Merck), Marvin R. Ellison (J.C. Penny’s); as of today these are the names of the only black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, the lowest it has been in over 15 years. While diversity and inclusion initiatives have become a higher priority for companies, white males continue to disproportionately occupy the majority of corporate leadership positions.
When I started my career in management consulting I didn’t fully understand how these statistics would impact my career progression. I soon realized hard work, stellar performance metrics, and subject matter expertise weren’t going to be enough to get me to the next level. I started to learn about informal support systems such as the “good old boys club” and “partner trains” - all of which were white male-dominated spaces. There wasn’t a clear path for first-generation Nigerian-American women like myself.
My hope is that Living Corporate brings visibility to the extremely talented pipeline of corporate leaders from underrepresented groups. It’s time we pull up our chairs and start having REAL conversations about the diversity and inclusion issues in Corporate America.
We out here for real, y’all!