"Affinity groups" help foster a sense of inclusion. Employees have formed groups in support of women, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, those with roots in China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and the Middle East, plus gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender supporters.
Mr. Quevedo says diversity extends to the SCE board, where four of the 10 members come from minority groups. Across the company, he says, staff can see the efforts being made to embrace diversity and inclusion and "know that we're serious about the contribution of all employees."
Nobody does diversity quite like Wal-Mart, or at least not on its scale.
The Bentonville, Arkansas, retail giant employs the equivalent of a decent-sized city -- 1.3 million people in the United States alone -- of whom around 75 focus solely on diversity relationships inside and outside the company.
Donald Fan, director of marketing and communications for diversity relations, says Wal-Mart has a community outreach program and an equally strong diversity ethic running through the company.
Knowing the Neighborhood
Wal-Mart works with Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, and women's organizations to better understand and serve those communities. "We need to understand not just their buying habits or how they spend their money, but also their culture and heritage," Mr. Fan says.
Such relationships bring mutual benefits. "The community recognizes us as a partner, an advocate, and a friend," he says, adding the hope that this trust and positive image will translate into a loyal customer base.
Wal-Mart employs more than 826,000 women, 237,000 African Americans, and 154,000 Hispanics, and has established in-house resource groups supporting those people plus others. That diversity ascends to the corner offices -- the high-profile CEO of Wal-Mart's U.S. stores division, Eduardo Castro-Wright, is Hispanic.
Mr. Fan believes the company's 14-strong board also reflects diversity with three women, two Hispanic, and two African-American members; in addition, he says, Wal-Mart works with more than 3,000 minority-owned suppliers in the United States.
Financial institutions in general have scored well on the Diversity Elite -- four of the top 10 companies this year are in the finance industry.
Bank of America, No. 5 this year and last year's No. 1, is fully committed to diversity and inclusion inside and outside the company, according to media relations manager Kelly Sapp, based at corporate headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.
She says six informal affinity groups within the company play an important role in sharing best practices, mentoring, networking, promoting leadership, and helping with recruitment and staff retention.
Ms. Sapp says of the bank's more than 203,000 staff, close to 70 percent are women and 44 percent minorities. "Women also fill 50 percent of management and officer roles," she adds.
The bank has a 23-member global diversity and inclusion council appointed by chairman and CEO Ken Lewis, a network of diversity business councils plus a philanthropic program established in 2004 with the goal of giving $1.5 billion over 10 years, mostly to local community organizations.
PNM Resources, an electric and gas energy and utility company based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has the smallest number of employees [1,165] of any company on the 2007 Diversity Elite.
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