Diversity, Inclusion and Black History Month: A Xerox Point of View

By Beverly Stallings-Johnson

From the first employee resource groups to the first African American female to lead a Fortune 500 company, Xerox people have embraced the values of diversity, inclusion and social responsibility for over five decades. That’s why Xerox emphasizes diversity and inclusion not only during Black History Month, but also the entire year.

The top-down, down-top impact from our African American executives, influencers and achievers proactively impacts corporate America. Their accomplishments have been featured in noteworthy Industry publications. Chief information security officer Alissa Johnson is highlighted among the Wall Street Journal’s “Women to Watch.”  Darrell Ford, chief of Human Resources, Pete Peterson, president of Xerox Channels, and Kevin Warren, president of our Commercial Business Group were honored as part of Savoy Magazine’s “Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.” In addition, Alyssa, Darrell and Kevin were named to Black Enterprise’s 2017 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America.

It is people like them who make our company great, which is why Black Enterprise has named Xerox one of the Top 50 Best Companies for Diversity. Where diversity is concerned, policies matter. This article from Black Enterprise points out that a study from Center for Talent Innovation “has found that inclusive leadership produces ‘the diversity dividend’ that results in greater market share and a competitive advantage in gaining access to new markets as well as a ‘speak-up culture’ that values and stimulates new ideas.”

“I grew up in Brooklyn and went to high school in Queens,” Ford recalled. “My dad was a police officer in New York City with over 20 years on the force, and my mom was an administrative assistant who worked her way up to become an executive VP on Wall Street. Each year during Black History Month, I reflect on their journey and their principles. I learned the value of hard work and achievement by watching their example.”

But more than policy, you need a philosophy of inclusion that both starts at the top and bubbles up from the bottom.  More than “hiring diverse employees,” companies like Xerox must create an environment that helps their people develop and use their own creativity.

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Xerox has turned what began as good citizenship, into a competitive advantage. In four simple bullets, here’s how a company embraces diversity:

  • Ruling by hierarchy of imagination when people of all ages, gender, races and backgrounds fill your ranks.
  • Thinking broadly, looking harder and casting a wider net attracts, retains and develops the best and the brightest talent.
  • Fostering a productive work environment by providing the resources and flexibility employees need to learn and succeed.
  • Diversity fuels innovation and an environment that is more creative, more collaborative, more dynamic, and more open to new ideas takes root.

Darrell Ford sums it up best: “Whether we’re collaborating over thousands of miles or meeting in person, it’s important that we feel welcome where we work, that we’re admired for who we really are, and we’re valued for our unique perspectives. At Xerox, this is a core belief.”

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One Comment

  1. George Yeadon February 26, 2018 -

    The diversity story at Xerox is much richer than current leadership participation, and should be shared with current and future employees to ensure understanding and continuation of basic ideals and principles. The legacy is as important today as it was at the beginning.

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