Over at NBC Universal’s offices in New Jersey, CNBC chairman Pamela Thomas-Graham has discovered the perfect time of day to focus on career development for the company’s diverse workforce: the lunch hour. Two years ago she created the Cable Diversity Network, which organizes luncheons and networking events for employees at NBCU’s cable division. "It’s all about how employees want to shape their careers and us being an information exchange for them," says Janice Kim, CNBC brand development manager and Asian committee representative for the Cable Diversity Network. "We’re not a substitute for management or human resources departments. We’re trying to provide a great forum." CDN’s five committees reach out to specific elements of NBCU’s workforce: African-Americans, Asian Pacific, gays/lesbians, women and Latinos. Representatives from each committee meet each week to coordinate CDN activities. Speakers at quarterly luncheons at CNBC headquarters in Secaucus, N.J., have included Avon CEO Andrea Jung, Young & Rubicam CEO Ann Fudge, Harvard Business School dean Dr. James Pass and Ogilvy & Mather chairman and CEO Shelly Lazarus (who keynotes the CTAM Summit in July). CDN also sets up mentoring relationships that link employees with NBCU senior management as well as career development workshops. "You’re seeing different departments of our company interact," Kim says. "You see employees pumped up about new career directions."

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