Our First Innovation Fest! 10 Companies Use Diversity to Drive Change

February 24, 2012 2:29 pm

DiversityInc’s first Innovation Fest! generated a huge buzz for its unique format—10 rapid-fire presentations from corporate leaders demonstrating how diversity fuels creative business solutions. The 82 attendees from 40 organizations represented 15 different industries, including aerospace, consumer products, financial services, healthcare, hospitality, media, professional services, retail and technology, as well as nonprofits and educational institutions.

Click on the links below to view and download the presentations:

Colgate-Palmolive: Global Innovation Fund
Colgate-Palmolive is No. 10 in the 2011 DiversityInc Top 50. Presented by Eugene Kelly, Worldwide Director, Global Diversity & Inclusion
Each year, the company funded more than 400 products, including new products and line extensions, consumer insights and new research methodologies, packaging, manufacturing and process improvements, communication tools and training, and safety/quality improvements. One product even measures through eye scans how consumers react to products and product placement. 

Watch the video and presentation.


Kaiser Permanente: Diversity & Health Film Series and Foreign-Language Interpreters
Kaiser Permanente is No. 1 in the 2011 DiversityInc Top 50. Presented by Tina Martelon, Senior Diversity Consultant, and Marcella Kutek, Diversity & Inclusion Manager
The Qualified Bilingual Status Staff Interpreter Program is a language-services improvement program developed in Sacramento, Calif. The community there is very diverse: 38.1 percent white, 21.8 percent Latino, 21.7 percent Asian, 14.5 percent Black and 3.9 percent other. By training existing staff members who had similar demographics, a need for culturally competent interpreters, which reduces healthcare disparities, was met. 

The series of 30-minute films with facilitated dialogues, and personal, unrehearsed stories from Kaiser Permanente physicians, staff and members, allowed the audience to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and included a call to action. The content:

  • Dispelled myths and stereotypes
  • Educated on different cultures, including food, lifestyles, folk beliefs
  • Analyzed cultural barriers, including language and healthcare barriers
  • Discussed health-risk factors associated with specific cultures
  • Provided tips for healthcare professionals

Kraft FoodsKraft Foods: JumpStart, Developmental Training for New Employees
Kraft Foods is No. 9 in the 2011 DiversityInc Top 50. Presented by Jim Norman, Vice President, Talent Acquisition, Diversity & Inclusion, and Wayne Canty (retired)
Kraft Foods aims this on-boarding program for new hires at Blacks, Latinos, Asians and women, teaching them about the corporate culture and the unwritten rules that often cause people— especially those from underrepresented groups—to leave. The program started nine years ago but has been strongly emphasized in the last two years, and a noticeable improvement in retention of new hires from these groups has occurred. 

Watch the video and presentation.


Toyota: “iCARE” Associate Volunteer Program & Putting Workers With Disabilities on the Line
Toyota Motor North America is No. 46 in the 2011 DiversityInc Top 50. Presented by Elena Sacca Smith, Community Relations Manager, and Jae Requiro, Internal Diversity and Inclusion Process Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Toyota Financial Services; Dave Orrender, Assembly Manager, and Tim Turner, Assembly Safety Team Leader, Toyota Motor North America
The goal of Toyota Financial Services’ iCare was to increase employee participation in a volunteer program, especially for community work aimed at youth and education. The target was 15 percent associate participation within three years and 35 percent participation from associates who are Black, Latino, Asian or American Indian. The impact has been estimated so far at more than $1 million:

  • $150,000 in grants
  • 360 nonprofits have directly benefited
  • 20,000 hours of service have been logged (value of volunteer hour estimated by company at $21.36)

Toyota Motor North America’s Lexington, Ky., plant’s partnership with Lex-Pro, a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities reach their highest vocational potential, enhanced its manufacturing efficiency. The relationship solved a manufacturing problem for the company, shaving two second off its production process and bringing a process in-house. It created jobs for people with disabilities, keeping the nonprofit afloat and educating employees about the benefits of working with people with disabilities. 

Watch the video and presentation.


Sodexo: Diversity Business & Leadership Summit
Sodexo is No. 2 in the 2011 DiversityInc Top 50. Presented by Texanna Reeves, Vice President of Corporate Diversity, and Betsy Silva Hernandez, Senior Director of Diversity Learning, Consulting & Networking Groups
Sodexo’s annual conference, which had 650 attendees and a waiting list of 300 people, provides employees leadership training and exposure to senior executives. It offers a forum for clients to learn from Sodexo’s diversity-management best practices and, therefore, build customer relationships. 

Watch the video and presentation.


Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation: Ethnic ERGs and Marketing
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is No. 21 in the 2011 DiversityInc Top 50. Presented by Steve Millerman, Director, Cross Cultural Marketing
The seven ethnically focused employee-resource groups at the company have allowed it to take its customer research in house and have better, more focused and culturally competent product development. The company reported that a “significant reduction in market research led to millions in savings” and that marketing campaign quality was sustained or improved. 

Watch the video and presentation.


AT&T: Power Up! Training for Suppliers
AT&T is No. 4 in the 2011 DiversityInc Top 50. Presented by Alithia Bruinton, Director, Supplier Diversity
AT&T helps its minority- and women-owned suppliers improve their financial positions and compete for RFPs through a series of information sessions and training support in advancing technology, including virtual workshops. 


McGraw-Hill: Digital Employee-Resource Group
Presented by Terri Austin, Chief Diversity Officer, Olga Kozak, Digital Innovation Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, and Edward Ford, Enterprise Community Manager
McGraw-Hill improves employee productivity and engagement through its unique digital employee-resource group, Learning, Empowering and Accelerating Digital (LEAD), and a new, social-media-based company intranet. Business benefits cited include a flatter organization, product development, more efficiency and heightened engagement. 

Watch the video and presentation.


WellPoint, Empire BlueCross BlueShield: Community Ambassador Program
WellPoint is No. 36 in the 2011 DiversityInc Top 50. Presented by Linda Jimenez, Chief Diversity Officer, Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion; Ray Garcia, Human Resources Manager; and Stacy Guevara, Hispanic Community Ambassador
The Community Ambassador Program enhances the company’s connection to its ethnic customers, enabling them to better address cultural gaps in the healthcare system and improve business. 

Watch the video and presentation.


Capital One: Barriers to Greatness 
Capital One is one of DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies. Presented by Rob Keeling, Vice President, Diversity & HR Communications, and Donna Schaar, Project Manager, Diversity Lead
Capital One is working hard to create a culture of openness by surveying and analyzing the barriers to greatness in every way—operational, cultural, organizational—that prohibit employees from achieving maximum potential. 

Watch the video and presentation.


Click here to watch the video of the entire Innovation Fest! event. 

For more information on upcoming events, visit www.DiversityInc.com/events.