Kevin Smith

Smith’s team handles all Charter’s labor and employee relations, but he also does pro bono legal work on the side—helping non-profit organizations with employment policies. He’s also passionate about developing and advising managers to be effective leaders. “I think that being an approachable leader is the most important thing. People must feel comfortable talking to you about important work-related issues,” he says. “I have a relatively small and structurally flat team, so I ask for and really value the input from each member. While I may have to make the ultimate call on some things, I can only do that with an excellent team and with input from everyone.”

What does your company/organization do to ensure all employees feel included?
I think that being an approachable leader is the most important thing. People must feel comfortable talking to you about important work-related issues. I have a relatively small and structurally flat team, so I ask for and really value the input from each member. My view is that while I may have to make the ultimate call on some things, I can only do that with an excellent team and with input from everyone.

How can diversity be better incorporated into the recruiting process?
While you want to hire the best person for each job, I think it’s important to look at it with an eye towards assembling the best team to handle the group’s responsibilities. I think that means looking for different backgrounds and perspectives to look at issues from every angle. We have to have a diverse team with insights drawn from a variety of backgrounds in order to be effective.

Can you share a successful diversity program at your company or one you’ve observed at another company or organization?
I think that programs that identify and mentor promising talent from diverse backgrounds are the most impactful.

Which current television show/s best embrace diversity?
TV has gotten so much better in every way than it was when I was a kid, including when it comes to diverse and interesting characters. I am a very big baseball fan. I not only love the game, but also the idea that the best athletes from a variety of backgrounds come together as a team.

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