SAN JOSÉ, CA (November 19, 2021) — Leading diverse chief executives Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments, and Enrique Lores, President and CEO of HP Inc., today urged their peers in Silicon Valley to establish clear, measurable and accountable business goals to drive the overdue progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Their comments were offered earlier today during the Innovating Equity Summit, hosted by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and sponsored by Genentech, the San Francisco 49ers and Blue Shield of California.
Hobson and Lores offered a frank assessment about the Valley’s slow pace of progress in DEI. They also spoke to the power of representation and how their lived experiences and unique career journeys can inspire and attract young and diverse talent.
Hobson discussed the vital importance of inviting diverse voices to the conversation and how institutionalizing processes around diversity and inclusion will remain central to sustaining Silicon Valley’s leadership as a hub for innovation and disruption. She noted that despite current representation in corporate America, “genius and talent are equally distributed in our society across gender and across ethnicity. That’s a fact.”
Lores discussed how HP is applying their standard business goal methodology to DEI work to ensure that the company is tracking progress against their bold DEI goals and prioritizingthis work as a business strategy. “By having a more diverse company, a more diverse executive team, a more diverse engineering team, our company will perform better. We will understand our customers better, and this is really an incentive that we need to drive in everything we do.”
During the SVLG summit, the Honorable Marcia L. Fudge, U.S. Secretary of Housing Urban Development, also spoke about the Biden-Harris Administration’s intentional efforts to explore solutions for advancing racial justice, such as providing vital relief for families that fell behind during the COVID pandemic and leveling the playing field in the housing market through the Build Back Better proposal, which the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve earlier today. “Together, we can provide every American with a fair chance to thrive, regardless of the color of their skin or the zip code where they are born,” said Secretary Fudge.
In a closing keynote conversation, John Rice, Founder and CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), discussed his organization’s work to generate greater economic mobility for emerging talent from communities color and to drive institutional change by partnering with more than 200 businesses to implement authentic DEI solutions, including MLT’s Black Equity at Work Certification. Rice spoke about how to move companies from “random acts of diversity” to a rigorous business approach grounded in strategy and metrics.
The Innovating Equity Summit also included a panel discussion prioritizing increased representation on corporate boards, organized in partnership with The Board Challenge, as well as a series of ‘Inclusive Conversations’ around public and private sector DEI priorities. Clips of the summit can be viewed online here, and a full rebroadcast of the 2021 Innovating Equity Summit is available SVLG’s YouTube channel and will be posted on Monday, November 22, at SVLG.org/Watch.
Silicon Valley Leadership group is California’s most dynamic business association. Building on four decades of success in championing the solutions that make Silicon Valley the best place to work and live, we promote solutions focused on fostering business competitiveness and the region’s innovation ecosystem. Collectively, SVLG members provide nearly one of every three private sector jobs in Silicon Valley and contribute more than $3 trillion to the worldwide economy each year. For more information, please visit svlg.org.