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Welcome to the Third Annual California Diversity & Leadership Conference. I am very excited about the opportunity we have in our state not only to celebrate our differences, but also to bring attention to issues related to our workplace. Our theme this year is “Deconstructing the California Glass Ceiling.” Based on the 2011 California Glass Ceiling study, women are significantly underrepresented in both the board rooms and the c-suites of Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in California. This is evidence that the “Good Old Boy Network” is still alive and well in our state.
The “Deconstruction of the California Glass Ceiling” is both a business and moral imperative for our community. First, from a business perspective, when organizations are not inclusive and thus not making full use of their human capital the implications are detrimental: high turnover, low worker engagement and lower productivity among their employees. Furthermore, a work environment with artificial barriers has the potential to lead to a class action law suit. Such a suit would impact both the bottom line and the corporate brand. In addition, all organizations have a responsibility to the community. A responsibility to create a work environment in which all individuals have an equal opportunity to develop and compete based on merit and not on one’s gender. Finally, discrimination is immoral. To exclude individuals from leadership based on their gender is both immoral and ungodly.
To see change in our state, it is going to take a CollectiveVoice™. It’s going to take people coming together and speaking truth to power and thus challenging the current status quo of inequality. In addition, it’s going to take determination, commitment, and organization. I implore you to get involved so that “We the Community of California” can dismantle the artificial barriers in our workplaces that impede the progress of both women and people of color. Our state will not change without individuals who are willing to work together for change.
Founder & CEO,
National Diversity Council