These are the companies, diversity leaders, and 20-somethings who are conduits for change and leading the way for the next generation.
Champion of Change
David L. Casey
VP of Workforce Strategies, Chief Diversity Officer
As both a black man and a veteran, David’s position as Chief Diversity Officer is extremely relevant to his lived experience. His work with both active-duty and veteran service member has been particularly impactful; he is in charge of CVS Health’s veterans resource group, which seeks to get more former service members into the workforce. Prior to his work with CVS, he was the Chief Diversity Officer at WellPoint. As CDO at CVS Health, he is responsible for ensuring that the company’s D&I values are exemplified in its recruitment, talent development, performance management, and succession planning efforts. At a recent talk at Brown University, he said that “diversity is about more than ethnicity and gender, but it is still about ethnicity and gender”.” He encourages corporate leaders to both be more open-minded in how they regard diversity but also not to forget the fundamentals of what diversity means.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Randa G. Newsome is the Chief Human Resources Officer of Raytheon, a Boston-based technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions around the world.
Randa’s vision is founded on what she calls the talent imperative: the critical objective to attract, retain, develop and motivate the market’s best talent. This imperative has driven her to serve as a talent mentor and sponsor throughout her career. In her tenure as CHRO, Randa has launched a strategic, measurable plan to increase representation of women and people of color across the company. She has also made Raytheon the first company in its industry to offer a paid parental leave benefit.
Randa’s unprecedented impact owes to her belief that a diverse and inclusive environment is not just a business driver, but a competitive advantage. Additionally, she draws on the diverse expertise of her leadership team while galvanizing them around a common vision and strategy. Thanks to Randa, Raytheon is a better place to work for all employees.
At Akamai, diversity is a mission-critical goal, and executives are held accountable for demonstrating progress throughout the year. One such example is Akamai’s Tech Academy, designed for diverse individuals who are interested in a technical career, but who may not have a STEM background or formal technical education. With the demand for tech talent at an all time high, this is a creative approach to meet the business demand while also re-skilling diverse talent to fill these roles. Instead of complaining about the challenge or acting resigned to the available demographics, Akamai chose to invest in the solution and it is already paying off.
Biogen has been the exemplar of diversity and inclusion in the biotech sector. They have shown true leadership in bringing diversity to their company, at all levels, but also to the wider ecosystem. The development of explicit programs such as their ‘Raising the Bar’ program for their senior women to join boards, and other intentional solutions to bring diversity at all levels of their organisation, have set the bar to which others aspire. Our work with them in convening international industry stakeholders to advocate D&I and to advance thinking about practical solutions is changing attitudes and behaviours across the sector. It has kick started multiple initiatives at an industry and individual company level and has seen the roll-out of their ‘Raising the Bar’ program on a nationwide cross-industry basis. They have opened their expertise up to others and been generous in sharing their knowledge for others to advance D&I too. Finding a company with a true commitment to D&I where the efforts are applied in such a comprehensive way across every area of the business, and where the actions match the words, is very difficult. Biogen is such a company.
Dell EMC sees diversity and inclusion as a “business imperative.” Its approach is unique and multi-faceted, going far beyond quotas or statistics. The company leads a behavior-focused training that addresses three areas: implicit bias, micro-inequities and cultural competence. Additionally, Dell EMC offers STEM education programs for underrepresented gender and racial groups, and has established relationships with academic institutions to increase employment of diverse candidates with STEM degrees. Dell EMC has been recognized for embracing of all types of diversity, receiving recognition for its acceptance of employees who are veterans, disabled, or part of sexual minority groups.
In addition to naming their first Chief Diversity Officer just last month, State Street made a bold statement on the eve of International Women’s Day. The company installed a roughly 50-inch-tall bronze statue of a defiant girl in front of Wall Street’s iconic bull making a very powerful statement.
In addition to being a powerful statement, there is also a lot of substance behind it. The Fearless Girl was part of State Street’s campaign to pressure companies to add more women to their boards. They then followed up the installation with a letter to the thousands of companies that can comprise the Russell 3000 index asking them to take action to increase the diversity on their boards as roughly a quarter of the 3,500 companies have no women on their boards.
Just last year, STT launched “SHE”, an ETF which seeks to help address gender inequality in corporate America by offering investors an opportunity to create change with capital and seek a return on gender diversity. The fund empowers investors to encourage more gender diverse leadership and support better long-term social economic outcomes in support of gender diversity.
Mike has found a passion for activism and has used his musical talent as a channel to effectively convey powerful messages. He started Mobile Stü, an on-the-go recording studio, which has allowed Mike to produce music that addresses the especially relevant tension between police and youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods. One track, #BlackwithBlue, “One Beat for Peace,” involved a collaboration between police and youth of the Dorchester neighborhood. Mike has used his musical talent at A&G as well, contributing his vocals to ads and campaigns. He has used Mobile Stü not only for his own pursuits but has also empowered and given opportunities to youth to channel anger and distrust through a creative means, namely hip-hop.
Former Assistant District Attorney
Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office
Former prosecutor Adam Foss is re-thinking how punishment is regarded in the criminal justice system. He has become somewhat of an internet phenomenon as a result of his TED Talk, “A Prosecutor’s Vision For A Better Justice System,” which hones in on the notion that legal representatives should focus more on maintaining community-ties than dishing out jail time. After serving under the District Attorney Daniel F. Conley of Suffolk Country, he left his position as a prosecutor to collaborate with artist John Legend on his new organization, Prosecutor Integrity, which will serve to consult prosecutors in using their power justly and as a tool to better people’s lives.
New England Venture Capital Association
Jody is a first-generation American whose parents both immigrated from Jamaica. She attributes her entrepreneurial spirit to her parents, a quality that led her to success in the start-up industry before joining NEVCA. Much of Jody’s career has been spent in corporate development—in mobile, eCommerce, and digital media. Apart form Jody’s personal appeal as a candidate for Rosoff, NEVCA as a whole has also been a sponsor and advocate for HackDiversity, a Boston-based organization that connects capable prospective employees of minority groups with work opportunities in the innovation industry. NEVCA’s role in this capacity is powerful, as the organization has a strong pull in the technology industry. Jody, as not only a woman but also a woman of color, particularly sees her role as an opportunity to enact change and make a real impact in her sector.
Justin Kang runs City Awake, the civic innovation lab of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce that explores bold and creative ideas to solve the most pressing urban issues. Their goal is to ensure everyone is empowered to shape the civic landscape and contribute – small or big – to the bold ideas necessary to solve the social issues which deem frustratingly inexcusable in modern society. He has been recognized by the City of Boston, Boston Magazine, and The Boston Globe for his efforts to mobilize and empower the next generation into important contributors to the civic process in Greater Boston.