As The Walt Disney Co.’s Chief Diversity Officer, Richardson supports 150,000 employees worldwide. Credit for the company’s improved employee engagement scores and record low employee turnover in the past year goes to Richardson, and that success can be traced back to his belief that everyone matters, at all levels of the organization. “One of my most influential mentors was a former boss who defined leadership simply and profoundly. He said, ‘Leaders serve to make those around them better.’ Implicit in his words, I have come to understand that good leaders are the people you trust. Those who share information and power,” he says. “They inspire and act in the best interest of the team.”
What’s the definition of diversity in 2014, and how can the cable industry do better in the area of inclusiveness?
A diversity and inclusion definition in 2014 embraces the perspective that everyone matters. Everyone’s voice and participation is welcomed and required to drive employee engagement, productivity and marketplace success. It expands beyond the traditional thinking and unleashes the collective and unique power, talents, and abilities of the individual and the team. The cable industry has the opportunity to continue to diversify the entire workforce, at every level, to develop our teams to their full potential and ensure that our content, products and services broadly reflect the diverse audience that we serve.
Who has been your strongest mentor, and why?
One of my most influential mentors was a former boss who defined leadership simply and profoundly. He said, that “leaders serve to make those around them better.” Implicit in his words, I have come to understand that good leaders are the people you trust. Those who share information and power. They inspire and act in the best interest of the team.
What qualities do you look for when making a new hire?
I generally hire for intellect, professional excellence, authenticity, energy and integrity. I look for individuals who will bring a diverse perspective to the team and who are confident enough to speak up and be themselves.