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Black Women Leading Corporate Diversity Programs

talton

Angela Talton

Diversity has become a buzz word in corporate America. Bringing new color and new perspectives to the workplace from the factory floor to the boardroom has never before been so urgent. Many corporations in the tech sector and the non-tech sector understand the need for inclusion has far reaching implications for industry and the nation.  Talented black women are being selected to drive this effort.

Nielsen Holdings, a leading audience measurement company, named Angela Talton  as its new Chief Diversity Officer. Talton is moving up from her former position of Senior Vice President of Global Diversity Inclusion.

According to a company press release Talton will continue to drive Nielsen’s diversity and inclusion programs including supplier diversity, training and employee engagement. Talton started at Nielsen in 2007 as senior vice president for global call center operations. Talton was formerly employed by Sears and ALLTEL Communications which was purchased by AT&T in 2013 . Talton attended University of North Carolina Chapel Hill where she earned a degree in business administration. She also secured an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Nielsen’s CEO Mitch Burns said of Talton, “Diversity and inclusion are crucial to our growth, strength, and ability to innovate.  Angela’s vision, leadership and execution have helped us re-imagine diversity at a global scale. As Nielsen’s Chief Diversity Officer, she will be a vital part of my leadership team and a champion for our company wide investments to ensure our business is representative of the communities where we live and work.

Candice Morgan

Candice Morgan

Pinterest has named Candice Morgan as their diversity chief.  Morgan worked at Catalyst Incorporated for 10 years where she focused on building diverse and inclusive work environments. Catalyst is a nonprofit research group tracking women in business. Morgan will report to Pinterest’s head of recruiting.

Pinterest is one of the few tech companies to publicly set out goals to employ more women and minorities.

Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp said Morgan will “help build the programs and teams” Pinterest needs to reach its “creative potential as a company.” 

Pinterest’s business team is made up of two-thirds women. However that dominance is not reflected in other areas of the company. For example only 21 percent of the tech jobs, 19 percent of the engineering jobs and 16 percent of the company’s leadership positions are female.  Minority representation inside Pinterest reveals that only  8 percent of its employees weren’t white or Asian. Black or Hispanic employees accounted for 5 percent of business roles and less than 2 percent of engineering roles. Blacks and minorities are completely absent from leadership positions.

Pinterest is close to the half way point of meeting the self imposed hiring goals. Morgan is joining the company at a crucial time in this process. Her responsibilities will be to make sure Pinterest reaches those goals. She will also work with outside partners such as the diversity strategy firm Paradigm and internal employee groups. The company is seeking to increase the hiring rate for full-time engineering roles to 30 percent women and 8 percent minority. In July of 2015 those hiring rates were 21 percent and 2 percent respectively.

“Pinterest is willing to experiment and really sees that no one is getting it 100 percent right and there is no one solution,”  said Morgan in a statement to USA Today. “Pinterest knows to find solutions that work for Pinterest, it has to be innovative.”

Reaching diversity goals is an elusive target, ask any CEO. Most recently even Apple, the giant of the tech sector, had to admit it barely improved its diversity admitting the company remains mostly made up of white men.  

Apple efforts face an uphill battle since the even the board of directors seem to resisting diversity efforts.  Apple’s board voted down a proposal to increase the diversity of its board and senior management. The board described the proposal as “unduly burdensome and not necessary.” Apple’s board held up its ongoing scholarship programs for black students that provides 114 under-served U.S. schools with Apple products, and its sponsorship of the Grace Hopper conference for women in technology as evidence of its diversity efforts.