By Lisa Dumas
Xerox has recently announced a new diversity initiative, called “The Wilson Rule;” a rule which states women and minorities must be among the final pool of qualified candidates for every open management position in the U.S., and that women will be among the finalists outside the U.S., global diversity and inclusion leader Damika Arnold stated.
“Diversity and inclusion is very important to Xerox,” she said. “And, making sure that we have representation in our management ranks is very important to us. We’re always challenging ourselves to improve our representation.”
According to the company’s website, The Wilson Rule has been named for Xerox founder Joseph Wilson.
Wilson committed the company’s resources to developing xerography in 1947; then, 20 years later, after witnessing racial tension in his hometown of Rochester, met with the city’s black leaders in an effort to figure out a way to promote racial equality within the company.
And, since then, Arnold said Xerox, led by African-American, female CEO Ursurla Burns, has been a national leader in diversity.
Going forward, she said the company plans to continue to set an example for the rest of the global business community.
“From a global perspective women account for 50 percent of our workforce,” Arnold stated. “From a U.S. perspective, minorities account for 45 percent of our workforce. We want to continue to be a leader in this space. That’s why we chose to implement this rule. And, we also know that, by being a leader in this space, other companies will follow suit.”
Xerox announced the initiative in conjunction with President Barack Obama’s Demo Day, a national White House showcase for diverse innovators in the field of technology, held earlier this month. The Obama administration said it designed the event as part of the president’s Startup America initiative.
According to a White House press release, “Just three percent of America’s venture capital-backed startups are led by women, and only around one percent are led by African-Americans. At present, only about four percent of U.S.-based venture capital investors are women. And, capital for innovative startups is predominantly available in just a few places, making high-growth business creation a challenge outside of a handful of metro hubs.”
An estimated 30 startup teams participated in the event, exhibiting showcases ranging from early-stage technologies to growth-stage consumer products.
In addition, Arnold also attended the exhibit.
“It was a great event, in the fact that there was a lot of enthusiasm,”she stated. “People had great ideas, and products, and services they had come up with.”
According to Arnold, Xerox is looking forward to successfully implementing the new diversity rule by the fourth quarter of this year.
“We’re looking forward to a successful launch and implementation,” she stated. “I think, ideally, we want a workforce that represents the customers, and community, with which we do business. So, that would be our end state vision.”