Smith Hosts Diversity Symposium
Expanding the definition of diversity and fostering a culture of
inclusiveness were two themes echoed throughout seven company presentations at
the Diversity in the Workplace Symposium held Feb. 11, 2013 in the Frank
Auditorium at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Brunswick Group, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Fannie Mae, J.C. Penney, KPMG and
Target made presentations at the event.
Representatives of Brunswick Group said that having a diverse workforce is
what enables the company to provide well-rounded services to its clients and
noted that this means having employees that come from diverse professional
backgrounds in addition to diverse cultural backgrounds. They company tries to
take full advantage of such diversity by promoting an open bullpen culture at
each of its offices worldwide, they added.
Representatives from Deloitte discussed the company’s Business Resource
Groups, which are groups within the company built around common ethnicities and
interests. These groups, which include mentorship programs, are aimed at
fostering a culture of inclusion in addition to promoting workplace diversity,
said Foster Rockwell, a specialist master within the human capital group at
Ernst & Young is also a company that emphasizes inclusiveness and the company
has a director of inclusiveness recruiting, said Marie Accius, a campus
recruiter and supervisory associate with the company. She also emphasized that
diversity improves the company’s performance, noting that diverse teams achieve
more than homogenous teams.
Fannie Mae is another company with internal groups to promote workplace
diversity, called Employee Resource Groups, and about one-third of the company’s
employees are members of these groups. The company has an Office of Diversity
and Inclusion and has partnerships with outside organizations that promote
diversity, company representatives said.
Nicolette Johnson, a human resources manager at J.C. Penney, related
diversity to the company’s recent culture change, saying innovative ideas come
from diverse groups. She also pointed to the company hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a
spokeswoman and standing behind her despite outcries from groups opposed to the
company using a gay spokeswoman.
KPMG has a diversity chairperson, a diversity advisory board and diversity
networks to promote inclusiveness for employees from diverse backgrounds.
Company representatives also pointed out a company program pairing employees
with young children with employees with older children to help prepare parents
with young children for the future.
Target needs to have a diverse workforce because many of its stores are
located in diverse neighborhoods, and the company hires from its store
communities. It is important for the company’s employees to reflect the
company’s customers, said Angela Bisland, assets protection business partner at
The event that was set up by SmithOUT and co-sponsored by a variety of Smith
and University of Maryland organizations, including the Association of Latino
Professional in Finance and Accounting, terpAMA, the Student Government
Association, the Smith Undergraduate Student Association, the Finance Banking
and Investment Society, the Accounting and Business Association, The One Project
and the Office of Career Services.
Peter Haldis, MBA Candidate 2014, Office of Marketing
About the Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader
in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the
University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate,
full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive
education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The
school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning
locations in North America and Asia.