Nike Sprints To Tesla For A New Diversity Chief, Now What?

CBx Vibe:What Now” Rihanna

By Gary J. Nix

  • Nike gets new a Chief of Diversity, Felicia Mayo From Tesla
  • Diversity Officers are in demand but underpaid

News regarding the exit of Nike’s (NKE +1.40%) former chief talent, diversity, and culture officer, Kellie Leonard, and subsequent entrance of her replacement, former Tesla (TSLA -2.48%) executive, Felicia Mayo, has pointed attention back to a long-standing DEI conversation. Chief diversity officers are very much in style right now and often underpaid and under resourced, making it difficult to create change within the organization. Is the appointment of a chief diversity officer the solution we all need?

Why This Matters: With conversations around inequality being extra top of mind nowadays, companies in all industries at the request of their customers have been working on proving how important diversity is to them. Notwithstanding, resolving these issues by hiring a chief diversity officer has been viewed as an ineffective band-aid that causes new problems rather than addressing old ones.

Companies are starting to learn that goals, ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely are critical for all business initiatives

Generally speaking, there are three challenges with the way chief diversity officers are positioned at companies: 1) they are understaffed; 2) they are given little to no power; and 3) they are relegated to hiring and talent and away from brand and product or service. When you review these all-too-common instances from this perspective, you immediately start to wonder how the person with this role can solve their company’s troubles. In addition, questions start to arise about a company’s true intent around this sort of hire.

Situational Awareness: Companies are starting to learn that goals, ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely are critical for all business initiatives. Frequently, companies hire for or create a chief diversity officer role without a fully-fledged plan for success. The sum of what we all have seen during the quarantine has led consumers to justifiably ask for more from the brands that they know. So now these companies need to build strategies around during the right thing with the understanding that brand and revenue success can be a product of justice and equity being part of your DNA rather than plans that hope to result in good publicity.

CBx Vibe:What Now” Rihanna

CONTRIBUTOR

Gary J. Nix

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