5 Qs with Kaitz exec dir Debbie Smith
In light of changes at Kaitz, should we expect anything different at Diversity Week? I don’t think so. You’ll continue to see the industry respond to diversity in a very positive way. NAMIC will release its study. For the dinner, you may notice something a little different. We want it to be a little more upbeat and peppy, but also keep it short. We know people want to get in and network and go home. You’re starting your 5th month, have your firmed up the Foundation’s agenda? The agenda was laid out by the strategic review committee, which did a fantastic job. Kaitz will continue fundraising, launch an industry-wide supplier diversity initiative and create a go-to Web site for the industry. We took down the old Kaitz Web site. We have a temporary site up with info on the dinner and we’re working on a permanent site. We hope to have it up in the beginning of ’05. Could industry groups like NAMIC or WICT ever be folded into Kaitz? I doubt they ever will. They each stand on their own and do a magnificent job at what they do. They each have a nice segue into each other. The Emma Bowen Foundation concentrates on getting minority youth into entry-level jobs. NAMIC, its focus is again on ethnic minorities, developing executive leadership skills to advance into management. That transitions very nicely into WICT, which has its own specialty focusing on women. We don’t want to do it; we want to fund it. How would you say cable compares on diversity to financial services, your former stomping ground? The needs are the same across all industries. There’s an education across all industries that diversity doesn’t mean EEO or affirmative action. It’s understanding that the demographic of the US has changed and that you have to hire and recruit and train individuals of color and women. What book would you make mandatory reading? Everyone differs in their diversity journey. There’s no one cure-all. Everyone should take a personal inventory to see where they are. Authors David Thomas, R. Roosevelt Thomas … have incredible work on diversity.