Leading Toward Diversity
Recent studies from institutions such as the Harvard Business Review, McKinsey, and Gartner agree: diverse-workforce companies overwhelmingly outperform their less diverse competitors—in almost every measurable area. But what does that mean from a practical standpoint, and how do we, as leaders, increase diversity within our own teams? Corie Barry, Best Buy’s CEO and the youngest female CEO in a Fortune 100 company, has ideas.
Raised by self-employed artists, Barry credits her unique upbringing with shaping her desire to lead inclusively. “The interesting thing about artists is it’s not about one beating the other,” she says. “It’s about art being important and all of them succeeding. And that means your success is inextricably tied to someone else’s… Those ideals and those ethical moments really were important in shaping… the leader that I’ve become.” Barry works hard to uphold these beliefs.
Since taking the helm as Best Buy’s CEO in 2019, Barry has committed $44 million to expand college prep opportunities and provide scholarships for HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), has provided hands-on training and mentoring to tens of thousands of highschoolers in lower-income areas through its Teen Tech Training Centers, and has boldly (and publicly) committed to filling one out of every three new non-hourly corporate positions with BIPOC employees, and one out of every three new, non-hourly field roles with women by 2025. “I always get frustrated when I hear… ‘We don’t have enough diverse talent,’ or ‘We need to bring some talent into the community,’” Barry says. “No… we have plenty of diverse talent. We just aren’t creating the pipelines into our organizations.”
What about organizations that can’t invest millions of dollars into future diversity, or leaders who don’t make the hiring decisions? Barry offers three effective strategies:
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