Opening Remarks, Global Diversity Leadership Exchange

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Diversity drives growth. (I knew you'd get it!) Image via Wikipedia

Just finished up our first Global Diversity Leadership Exchange here at NYSE.  It was a great, great conversation about ways to move diversity forward globally and have people embrace its role in creating growth and value.  I learned so much from so many people in the room, both on and off the stage. 

It was both humbling and energizing to hear leaders in the field tell of the complexity and difficulty of some of the issues, as well as the absolute business importance of continuing to move forward, no matter where you are on the path.  

I tweeted some of those learnings -- as did many others – under the hashtag #globaldiversity.   You can also see the accompanying conversation on Facebook.

Resolve to do my best to put these learnings into action, and to keep this new conversation going.  On the latter, here’s an excerpt of my opening remarks at today’s gathering.  This is just the core of it -- minus the formalities.  As always, welcome your thoughts and comments.

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As many companies do, one of the ways we instill diversity as a core value in our culture is to include diversity awareness and management tools in our management training classes.  When I speak with one of those classes, I start by asking the group to look at my face, because my face is the face of diversity and inclusion.

Now, this face – wonderful though my mother insists it is – is not the face anyone thinks of when they think of diversity and inclusion.  They think of women.  People of color.  People of different ethnicities.

Diversity surely is about all of those groups – and others – but it is about me as well, and not because I’m on our Diversity Council.  It’s about me because I’m a manager here.

It’s about me because I’m responsible not just for managing projects and deadlines and budgets.  As a manager, I’m responsible for helping to create a diverse and inclusive work environment.  Our success depends on our ability to do just that.

As managers here, we have to create an environment where everyone feels they can speak up and share their ideas and perspectives, so that together we can develop the most innovative solutions for our customers.

As managers, we have to create an environment where everyone gets an opportunity to realize their career potential, so that we attract and develop the most competitive workforce among global exchange groups.

As managers, we have to create an environment where the diversity of our people gives us a stronger, richer, more meaningful connection with our global community of customers, investors, regulators and the public.

In short, our managers are responsible for creating an environment that enables us to lead in a financial landscape that is global, hyper-competitive, and driven by innovative ideas, services and technologies.

So managing diversity and inclusion is absolutely an essential part of my work, and that of every one of my 3,000 colleagues around the world.  Creating that environment is everyone’s responsibility.  We are all, together, the face of diversity and inclusion.

To me, that’s what we’re here to talk about today.  The business impact of diversity.  The business case for diversity, and how we make that case on a global scale.

That global theme is also underscored by the news of the day.  If you’ve seen the news this morning, you know that the European Commission has just turned down a merger we were proposing with the Germany’s Deutsche Börse.  Our CEO Duncan Niederauer just sent a note to all our staff, saying in part – and I quote: “We will remain focused on empowering the world’s capital markets community to innovate and collaborate.”

So there couldn’t be a more fitting time and place for leaders of our community to come together, right here in this room, to advance the conversation about diversity as a driver of global business.

 

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