People of color represent 39% of Comcast’s cable operations, but comprise only 14% of senior management, according to data supplied by the MSO. Of Comcast’s 68,000 employees, 37% are women, but 30% of senior managers are women. Charisse Lillie, who joined Comcast in February as SVP of human resources, may not be solely responsible for narrowing those gaps, but she may be the only executive at the company for whom it’s a job requirement. The cable industry is neither worse nor better than other industries at maintaining diversity at the senior management level, according to Lillie. "It’s much easier to get people into the door of a corporation," she says. "The real diversity issue in corporate America is retaining people with opportunities for leadership and development, so they can advance." Lillie anticipates being a catalyst in making Comcast a "diversity role model for cable" and beyond. "I have every reason to believe this company gave me the power to execute," she says. In her quest for diverse senior executive candidates, Lillie will be checking in with diversity organizations and their job banks. For starters, there’s the American Bar Association’s racial/ethnic diversity commission (which she chairs), civil rights and legal defense institutions and minority commerce and social agencies such as Congreso de Latinos Unidos (United Latin Congress) in Philadelphia. She’s also expanding Comcast’s partnerships with the National Black MBA Association and the National Society of Black Engineers. She plans to focus on hiring more women and people of color for engineering and technology positions. She’ll be reaching out to black colleges and universities, as well as to women’s colleges that offer engineering programs. Lillie previously advised Comcast on legal and diversity matters as a partner in the Philadelphia-based law firm of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll. "After 13 years of being a labor and employment lawyer advising companies like Comcast how to train, educate and diversify their workforce, the chance to do what I’d been advising all those years came up," says Lillie, who promises to "look at every level" of Comcast.

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