The Key To Solving Corporate America’s Diversity Problem: Preparation

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According to a 2015 McKinsey report, racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to have higher financial returns than their national industry medians. Yet many corporations still struggle with diversifying their workforce. Some say the greatest challenge in diversifying their teams is finding qualified, trained talent. At SEO (Sponsors for Educational Opportunity), we believe the long-term solution to this problem is not finding talent, but developing it.

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To quote the late Alice Ilchman, economist and former president of Sarah Lawrence College, “Talent is broadly distributed but selectively developed.”  Often the ultimate determining factor in who succeeds is how much preparation has gone into developing an individual’s abilities. We believe that the key to solving Corporate America’s diversity problem is preparation.

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Historically, people of color have been left out of the higher echelons of Corporate America.  SEO’s mission is to move talented professionals into these roles, and the way to do so is by ensuring that they are the most prepared to do the job. Finding qualified diverse talent remains a challenge because as a society we have not adequately invested in developing this pool of candidates.  Typically, minority populations have not had as much exposure to the business environment as their white counterparts. This can be a function of generational economic and educational disadvantages combined with limited access to these opportunities.