Photo: Brian Cable
by Cynthia Marshall, Former Chief Diversity Officer, Senior Vice President, HR, AT&T
Originally featured on Media Planet
Are you a woman looking to enter or re-enter the workforce? I have some advice: Choose a company that excels in diversity and inclusion.
That’s what I did 35 years ago, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve since enjoyed a rewarding career that’s encouraged me to bring my full self to work each day, and never put limits on me because I’m an African-American woman.
Doing your homework
Amazingly, that’s not yet the case everywhere. All companies are not equally committed to diversity and inclusion. But you can increase your odds of finding the company that’s right for you by taking advantage of countless resources that are just a few clicks away.
One example: DiversityInc’s annual Top 50 list of best companies for diversity. Every company on the list is profiled—and studying a few will give you important insights. A few others worth exploring:
- Catalyst is the global expert on inclusive solutions that help accelerate women in the workplace. This leading research-based nonprofit is the “go to” organization for facts and knowledge about women in business, supporting more than 800 organizations all over the world.
- The National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) recently released its annual Top Companies for Executive Women list. It “identifies companies that are ensuring that women move into positions with operating responsibility, which are the path to the c-suite.”
- LATINA Style magazine annually publishes its LATINA Style 50 Report, identifying “corporations that are providing the best career opportunities for Latinas” in the U.S.
These are just a few. There are many others, and every woman can benefit from these organizations’ research.
Another thing to consider: If you’re thinking about working at a specific company, look up its board of directors. Any women there? Are women in top positions? These are important indicators.
And one more piece of advice: When you join a company that you love—where you’re appreciated and respected—stay there. Plan your climb. Take advantage of everything it has to offer, and welcome lateral moves to make yourself more valuable. By doing so, you might very well enjoy many mini-careers at one company.
Wherever you go, I hope you’ll make a real difference—for yourself, your company, your family and your community.