Last Monday, March 25th a group of Hispanic and other minority associations in Michigan, in collaboration with Deloitte LLP, organized a Diversity Night at the iconic Detroit Athletic Club.
AFWA, ALPFA, FEI Detroit and NABA actively participated to make this event possible, an event where diversity issues discussed included not only race and gender equality, but also the interesting phenomenon of a multigenerational society, and its enormous impact on the economy of the modern United States.
Last Monday night’s Diversity Event began with a professional development session entitled “The Business Value of Diversity”, presented by Betty Maple, a Retired Tax Partner and National Director of Diversity for Deloitte. Ms. Maple referred in particular to the key differences in attitude and approach towards work displayed by the different generations, including Baby Boomers (which cover those born between 1943 and 1960, and which account for 38% of today’s workforce); Generation X (born between 1961 and 1981; and Generation Y (also known as Millennials, born between 1982 and 2005, and representing almost one quarter of today’s total workforce in the United States).
A handout prepared by Deloitte contained information that said that “…according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, the number of younger workers has dropped almost 7% since 2000…”.
In the case of Hispanics in the United States, considering statistics published by the US Census Bureau that show that they are approximately seven years younger than the average American worker, it is small wonder that corporations all over the country are today courting and trying to attract Hispanic talent to their ranks.
“At a time when critical skill sets are increasingly difficult to secure and retain, finance leaders should have a clear view of how to attract, develop, and retain people of diverse backgrounds and generations and evolve their talent practices to engage these different generations”, read Deloitte’s CFO Insights handout.
Even though the first Equal Opportunity Employment laws were introduced in Congress in the early 1940s, the term “diversity” later originated in North America and became a must among corporations as an indication that it was the “right thing to do”. Today, diversity is a staple at most meetings, conferences, and conventions.
After the initial presentation, Deloitte’s 80 plus guests attended a cocktail networking session, followed by a sit down dinner at one of the Club’s elegant banquet halls. At the end of dinner, David Segura, Founder & CEO for Vision IT, the night’s keynote speaker, presented his vision for a successful global enterprise.
Segura explained how beginning from scratch almost 20 years ago, he had been able to develop his IT Managed Services and Talent Management Solutions firm into a global enterprise, working with some of the largest corporations, not only in the US, but also in Latin America. His company has 20 US offices and global operations in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Philippines.
Attendees to the Diversity event included several Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan executives, such as Stephanie Thornton, Jody Guastella-Jones, Steven Ventura, and Alejandra Johannes; Ramiro Ramirez, President of NSHMBA (The National Society of Hispanic MBAs); Alfredo Casab, President of the Hispanic Bar Association; Rodolfo Dominguez, Director of Enterprise Portfolio Management/Nexus for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services; Jimmy Walker, President of ALPFA Michigan (the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting); Sally Brandtneris, CFO at Stefanini, Inc., and President of FEI Detroit (Financial Executives International); Luis Maldonado and Rilck G. Noel of KPMG; several members of NABA (the National Association of Black Accountants) and AFWA (the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance), among many other guests from numerous corporations around the Metro Detroit area.
The effort put into organizing this event is worth it. Diversity events such as this create a new, stronger bond, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity, not only among different minority groups, but also among executives and corporations around the United States.