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Combler l’écart de richesse entre les groupes raciaux grâce à des actions mesurables

Sustainability Leaders 27 août 2021
Sustainability Leaders 27 août 2021

 

Au cours de la dernière année et demie, le milieu des affaires n’a jamais autant réagi et parlé ouvertement de diversité et d’équité. Toutefois, atteindre l’équité économique ne requiert pas uniquement un dialogue constructif, il faut réellement passer à l’action.

BMO's Anthony Hudson, avons récemment convoqué un panel de chefs d’entreprise réputés qui ont partagé leurs points de vue uniques et leurs idées concrètes sur la façon dont les entreprises peuvent aider à combler l’écart de richesse entre les groupes raciaux et favoriser des changements durables. 


Écoutez la discussion complète.

Ce balado est en anglais seulement. 

Le balado Sustainability Leaders est diffusé en direct sur toutes les grandes plateformes, dont AppleGoogle and Spotify.


Participants : 

  • Dre Valerie Daniels-Carter, présidente et chef de la direction, V&J Foods Holding Companies, plus grande organisation de franchises détenue par une femme aux États-Unis et plus important franchisé Pizza Hut issu d’une minorité ethnique. Mme Daniels-Carter est aussi propriétaire minoritaire des Bucks de Milwaukee.

  • Jennifer Garcia, chef de la direction intérimaire, Latino Business Action Network, organisme sans but lucratif qui aide les entrepreneurs d’origine latine à faire croître leur entreprise grâce à des recherches, du réseautage et de la formation.

  • Damon Jones, chef des communications, Procter & Gamble, plus importante société de biens de consommation emballés au monde.

  • Timothy Sheehy, président, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, qui représente plus de 1 800 entreprises de la grande région de Milwaukee.


Voici un résumé de la discussion, en anglais seulement.

Measurement, Transparency and Accountability  

If you want to drive outcomes, it is important  to be able to measure them. That’s what the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, or MMAC, is doing. In 2018, MMAC engaged a group of 114 local business leaders to create the Region of Choice Initiative. The leaders signed a pledge that commits them to grow their Black and Latino management talent by 25% and their overall employment by 15% over the next five years.  

"It's not just a paper pledge,” Sheehy said. “The companies are going to transparently share the data. There is a commitment to sharing best practices across the companies, and we're benchmarking against other regions. We do that on an annual basis, and it's a powerful way to deliver on the goal of making sure that we have equity in our Black and brown communities, [because] it's important to the economic prosperity of a community to do that.”

One of those benchmarks is similar to a net promoter score. That is, MMAC surveys a diverse group of employees and asks, on a scale of one to 10, whether they would recommend their company as a place to work, and if they would recommend Milwaukee as a place to live. “This is just like you would do in a business: create a goal benchmark where we are share the results, and then focus on what's making a difference,” Sheehy said. “And we think that's critical to bring to this issue of equity.”

Among MMAC’s early findings is that companies are in different stages of the journey to economic equity. But Sheehy said it’s already clear that a lot of work remains.  

"One thing we recognize is we can't have a couple of companies stand out and be successful in recruiting and retaining highly sought after Black and brown talent,” he said. “We need all these companies moving forward.  

For Garcia, data sharing and transparency create opportunities for companies to collaborate and learn best practices from each other. It also fosters accountability.

"We see in the headlines organizations, corporations, venture capitalists pledging a commitment to elevate Black and brown businesses,” she said. “That is fantastic; we want to see more of that. But we also want to see the results on the other end of that.”

So, what does accountability look like? Both Sheehy and Jones noted that economic equity isn’t something tacked onto a business plan—it should be tightly integrated to the business plan itself.  

"Every business that's successful puts out a metric,” Sheehy said. “They measure their progress against that metric. When we look at the Region of Choice, we were very thoughtful about what metrics we were going to put in place and how we're going to be transparent about sharing the data.”

In November, MMAC will share the results from its culture survey from both the business and community points of view. The 114 CEOs also meet annually to make sure they're all moving toward the goal of making Milwaukee an attractive business environment for all communities. Noting that only 5% of employers in Milwaukee are Black or Latino, Sheehy acknowledged that MMAC has a long way to go toward achieving its goals. That’s why measurement and accountability are so crucial to creating economic opportunities for all.

"We're not doing it differently than you would with other business goals,” Sheehy said. “Hopefully this is embedded in how every business approaches this and how the community approaches it. Because we've talked about this for so long that people really want to see results, and companies need to see results if we're going to make progress.”

Tracking Supplier Diversity

P&G has earned a strong reputation for supplier diversity dating back to the 1970s.1 The company spends more than $2 billion annually with diverse suppliers worldwide.2 As Jones explained, the company applied the principles of measurement, transparency, accountability and collaboration to achieve it.  

“Years ago, we established people within our purchases organization that had specific responsibilities tied to financial performance metrics,” Jones said. “From there we made the case for our business that this wasn't just the job of those five people—it was the job of everyone who was making an economic decision within P&G that supplier diversity had to be an important driver of what they were doing. We connected the dots in parts of our businesses where things were working. When someone says, I don't know any Black or brown entrepreneurs, we say, Great, let's go find them and let's talk to them. Because the talent is out there.”

Jones pointed out that honesty is another key ingredient to accountability. “Only when you could have open, honest discussions about what the problems are can you begin to solve them,” he said. “Being honest about what's working and what's not working, and partnering with businesses that are getting it right. We don't purport to say that we've got a magical formula. When the automotive companies were making progress, we sat down with them and said, ‘Tell us how you're doing it.’ We applied those lessons to our business. It has been intentional, it has been tracked, it has been built into how we measure the success of our managers, and we hold people accountable for results.”

Creating Intergenerational Wealth

Economic equity isn’t just about narrowing wage gaps or encouraging supplier diversity. As Garcia noted, true equity would create intergenerational wealth for minority business owners. According to a 2016 study by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Corporation for Economic Development, the average African American family would need 228 years to accumulate as much wealth as their white counterparts. It would take the average Latino family 84 years to amass the same amount of wealth as the average white family.3

The Latino Business Action Network, or LBAN, works with what Garcia calls “scaled” Latino businesses across the country—that is, businesses that bring in at least $1 million in annual revenue. The goal is to see more Latino business owners grow their companies even further.  

"We see it as a multifaceted win when Latino business owners are successful,” she said. “First, it creates generational wealth. But as their businesses scale, they're also creating jobs, and they are investing back into the community where they live and where they work. With all of that together, we’re strengthening our country and we're strengthening our economy. Because we are the fastest-growing business segment, it is crucial that we empower these business owners to scale.”

Education is part of the process. Daniels-Carter has achieved a level of success most entrepreneurs can only dream of, and at this point in her career, she sees her responsibility to ensure a greater intergenerational transfer of knowledge. “Understanding at the corporate level, at the board level, the senior management level of what equity actually means,” she said.

For Daniels-Carter, one part of creating equity in minority communities involves making sure assets are balanced throughout organizations—not just for entrepreneurs, but for employees as well. “Many times, we fail to recognize we have to have phenomenal individuals working within our organizations to deliver a level of excellence in order for there to continue to be growth,” she said.

Progress, Not Perfection

Achieving economic equity involves confronting long-running systemic issues, and these are problems that won’t be solved overnight. That’s why, as Jones said, it’s important to “strive for progress, not perfection.” While the challenge may be daunting, Daniels-Carter stressed the importance of persistence.

"For those of you that may have experienced failure in the past in trying to create equity, don't allow that to stop you from moving forward, because many times failure is the bridge that takes us to success,” she said. “Continue to challenge yourself to be the best that you can be.”

1 P&G Supplier Citizenship 

2 P&G Blog 

3 Institute for Policy Studies 

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Disponible en anglais seulement

Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter:

And if we have financial equity, if we have assets that are balanced throughout our organizations, not just for entrepreneurs, but for our employees as well, because many times we fail to recognize, we have to have phenomenal individuals working within our organizations to deliver a level of excellence in order for there to continue to be growth.

Michael Torrence:

Welcome to sustainability leaders. I'm Michael Torrence, chief sustainability officer with BMO Financial Group. On this show, we will talk with leading sustainability practitioners from the corporate, investor, academic and NGO communities to explore how this rapidly evolving field of sustainability is impacting global investment, business practices and our world.

Disclosure:

The views expressed here are those of the participants and not those of Bank of Montreal, its affiliates or subsidiaries.

Michael Torrence:

BMO recently held a roundtable discussion entitled, The Roadmap to Economic Prosperity. The event was moderated by Anthony Hudson, head of BMO's economic equity advisory group, which is part of our BMO Empower initiative. BMO Empower is a five billion dollar commitment over five years to address key barriers faced by minority businesses, communities and families in the United States. The panelists provided perspectives and ideas on how businesses can close the racial wealth gap, and drive lasting change through job creation, business development and economic revitalization.

Anthony Hudson:

We are excited to be here today and engage in a robust dialogue that really focuses on access. At BMO, we believe access matters. And when we talk about access, that means access to a network and a community that understands you and understands your business, and understands the importance of our communities and businesses working together to promote economic equity. It means access, frankly to diversity, access to education, and expertise. And certainly access to capital. Which you will hear from our panelists today as we move through this conversation, what's taking place in their respective worlds, how they're creating access, and how they're driving action around that access to drive real outcomes. So, without further ado, I want to introduce you all to our panelists today. We have Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter, who is president and CEO of V&J Foods Holding companies. We have Jennifer Garcia, chief operating officer of Latino Business Action Network. Damon Jones, chief communications officer at Procter and Gamble, and Tim Sheehy, president of the Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

Anthony Hudson:

I actually want to stay maybe with you as we kick off our questions. We are well aware of the economic disparities and alarming gaps in wealth across the US. And specifically right here in the Midwest and in Wisconsin more specific. And over the last 18 months, we've seen where multiple organizations have made multimillion dollar commitments all in the name of helping black and brown people, black and brown communities. So, I'm wondering maybe if you could talk to us a bit more about your region of choice initiative, and how that ties into in terms of equity, particularly for communities of color?

Tim Sheehy:

Yeah, thank you, Anthony. It's a really good question. And one that is just critical to again, our mission of being globally competitive. So, what we did in 2018, was engage a group of our business leaders. And we put together a commitment, we call it our region of choice commitment. We want to be a region of choice for all. And so, we've got 114 companies with 120,000 employees in the region, including BMO, to sign a very specific pledge that commits them over the next five years to grow their black and brown management talent by 25%, and their overall employment by 15%. But it's not just a paper pledge, the actions are that the companies are going to transparently share the data that there is a commitment to best practice sharing across the companies, that we're benchmarking against other regions, and again, that we transparently share the outcomes. And so we do that on an annual basis. And I think it's a powerful way to deliver on the goal of making sure again, that we have equity in our black and brown communities. It's really important to the economic prosperity of a community to do that.

Anthony Hudson:

Tim, how long has this work been underway? And may I follow that up with what are the early findings of bringing this group of leaders together all focused on these common things?

Tim Sheehy:

Well, the early findings are that companies are in a range in terms of where they are on this journey. But one thing we recognize is we can't have a couple companies stand out and be successful in recruiting and retaining highly sought after black and brown talent. We need all these companies moving forward. And one of the things that we're going to do on an annual basis, if you think about a net promoter score, is we're asking these diverse employees, would they recommend their company as a place to work on a scale of one to 10. And would they recommend Milwaukee is a place to live on a scale of one to 10. So this is just like you would do on a business, create a goal, benchmark where we are, share the results, and then focus on what's making a difference. And we think that that's critical to bring to this issue of equity.

Anthony Hudson:

That's terrific, right? If you want to drive outcomes, you have to be able to measure them. Jennifer, I believe that there are a lot of common things in what I just heard from Tim, and what's taken place at the Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce. Might go to you next, and just have you weigh in on the similarities and those things that are ringing out to you?

Jennifer Garcia:

Yes, absolutely. And I do want to just commend him, I think it's really, really notable what you're doing. And there's a couple things that I've heard you say that I want to underscore. It is that sharing of data transparently and openly, I think when you do that, it creates opportunity for collaboration, for companies and organizations to learn best practices from one another. But also there's the element of accountability. Because I agree there is great momentum right now we see in the headlines all the time, organizations, corporations, venture capitalists, pledging a commitment or a goal to elevate black and brown... In my case, what I'm really referring to is black and brown businesses. And that is fantastic. We want to see that, and we want to see more of that. But we also want to see the results on the other end of that.

Jennifer Garcia:

So, I love the idea of sharing the data and sharing that transparently. When I think about what we see at Latino business Action Network, as it relates to this, we work with scaled Latino businesses across the country. And we defined scaled by businesses that have achieved a million dollars in annual revenue or greater. So these are already substantial business owners. And one of the things that we know and recognize, is that for businesses to become diverse suppliers, for them to become a partner with large corporations, it is a process, right? There's the certification process. And then there's also how do they show up and present their business and their value proposition to corporations? And so, one of the things that I really see aligned here is that corporations are also making goals, right? They're stating goals that they want to increase their diverse spend with black and brown businesses.

Jennifer Garcia:

And so, one of the things that we're really working on is saying, "How do we make sure our Latino business owners show up and show up strong?" And again, that is ensuring the full value proposition is complete, is added, is strong, and it is competitive. And from the corporation side, I think you really have to think differently about how you engage with minority owned businesses, very similar to how you would recruit talent, you have to be intentional about it and you have to think outside the box in that. So it's the other side of the coin when we think about corporations being intentional in their diverse outreaches.

Anthony Hudson:

Jennifer, that's terrific. I hear you use the word scale. I think we would all agree that there is great importance on putting support around our small minority business owners. I think the other sides of the story that is equally as important is, how do we support those that have now survived the early years? And you talked about they now have revenues over a million dollars. Right? What's critically important is seeing more Latino business owners really exceed that million dollars in annual revenue and then really reaching much, much higher.

Jennifer Garcia:

Anthony, we see it as such a multi faceted win when Latino business owners are successful. First it creates wealth. It creates generational wealth. But as their businesses scale, they're also creating jobs. They're investing back into the community where they live and where they work. And so, all of that together, we are strengthening our country, we're strengthening our economy. So, because we are the fastest growing business segment, it is crucial that we empower these business owners to also scale. Right? I mentioned the opportunity gap earlier. Once we have this segment of our country successful on par as the national average, it becomes a win-win for everyone.

Anthony Hudson:

Thank you. I appreciate your comments there and I will certainly come back a little later in our conversation as I have a few more follow up questions for you. But I want to go to Dr. Daniels-Carter next. And Tim said it earlier, he said go Bucs. And I know that that has tremendous meaning to you, it was recently publicized that you are a minority owner of the Bucs. And I will just tell you for me personally, to see a black woman as a minority owner of a professional sports team, oh, by the way that just won a championship. It is incredibly powerful. And so congratulations to you, congratulations to the Bucs. I would love for you maybe just to start by talking about what does this moment mean to you?

Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter:

Well, you got to know I'm astatic right now. And I have been ever since we won the championship, but I knew that they could do it. There was not a question in my mind that they had the power to win. And so for me right now, Anthony, it is an exciting time in life, as we celebrate the Milwaukee Bucks, the world champions of the National Basketball Association. And not only do I celebrate them, but I celebrate the nucleus of everyone that it took in order to allow them to achieve this goal.

Anthony Hudson:

What does this mean for minorities from Milwaukee? And what impact is this having on our city?

Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter:

Well, I'm glad you asked the question because it allows me just to take a moment to really talk about economic equity as we know it today. And my sole responsibility is to ensure at this point in my life, that there is a certain heightened level of intergenerational transfer of knowledge understanding at the corporate level, at the board level, senior management level. What it actually means or parity actually means. So, I am blessed to be able to take what I call the power of purpose into the boardroom, and share the consciousness of what's needed in order for America continue to grow. And if we have financial equity, if we have assets that are balanced throughout our organizations, not just for entrepreneurs, but for our employees as well. Because many times we fail to recognize, we have to have phenomenal individuals working within our organizations to deliver a level of excellence in order for there to continue to be growth.

Anthony Hudson:

Thank you. Thank you, thank you for that response. Thank you for continuing to recognize all those people that supported this team and worked around his team, particularly through a COVID era to now be able to reap the benefits. I used the word image imagery, Damon, when I talked to Dr. Daniels Carter, and just how powerful that image was. And I saw that article call around about her as a black woman that's a minority owner of a team. And you talked about in your opening, P&G is the largest advertiser in the world. And I know that imagery is something that you all hold in very high regard. Just share your thoughts with me hearing Dr. Daniels Carter response and maybe even tie this into some of the work taking place within your Take on Race initiative.

Damon Jones:

Sure. Well, it starts with I guess a point that many people have made in talking about the mutual reinforcing work that is happening in the space, that is equity. If you want a truly successful economy, it means people needs to be participate into it. So when all companies and all organizations are driving towards equity, it is good for business and it's good business. Sometimes we think about the work driving positive portrayal of people in advertising and media and film or we think about these things in the economic space as charity work. It's actually good business and I think that's the standpoint that we approach it. As one of the world's largest advertisers, we know that the images that we put into the world matter. And for too long, there's been too few people who have been responsible for those images. And as a result, that facilitates bias. We've done studies that show when you see black people, you're often times looking at the extremes, you will see struggle, or you will see excellence.

Damon Jones:

And you don't also always see the full richness and the joy of the everyday black experience that is there. And so we want to make sure that all of those stories get told. And one of the ways in which we do that is making sure that there is economic equity behind the camera, that we have the diversity of men and women, people of every race, ethnicity and creed, creating the stories that we see in music and film and television and advertising because those images shape how we see ourselves and again, how they shape images of each other. And so that is one way by which we are doing our everyday work, that we're able to drive the economic equity behind the camera, that equity is therefore connected to the stories that tell, and it really starts a virtuous cycle. And that's...

Damon Jones:

The way we're approaching the film and television industry, it's the way we're approaching our supply base for an 80 some odd billion dollar company, really trying to ensure that equity is built into everything that we do, that the people with the line management and the day-to-day P&L responsibility, have supplier diversity, have organizational diversity on their scorecards linked to their financial measures, because those are the things that really drive that flywheel of success that we know are as important to driving equity. So our message's really connect the dots in your organization and really build it in, don't bolt it on as something on the side. So, that's the way we're approaching economic equity.

Anthony Hudson:

I absolutely love that, Damon. And I've been close to the work that was kicked off from P&G, around the Take on Race initiative. And I know that there are six pillars, I believe that make up that work, one of which being how we ensure that there are positive images of people of color. Maybe if you can just give us a bit of an overview of the other five pillars, and what are you really driving towards here with this Take on Race initiative, and how can people get involved?

Damon Jones:

The fundamental premise behind Take on Race is that we can do more together than we can do independently. And it's certainly the awakening that many companies and many people have had over the past couple of years. And the need to step up and to do more in this space, people put their heads down, and they kind of get busy with the work, not having a full appreciation to "Well, hey, I've got a company over there. I've got an organization over there that shares that mission." So, Take on Race is fundamentally about what is the shared mission, their shared objectives when it comes to equality?

Damon Jones:

So, we're looking at a wide range of topics, if it's education, if it's health, if it's wealth creation, all of these different areas that we know where there are real true barriers, how do we bring companies together, talk openly about the barriers that we're facing, understand how we can share the successes that we've had and share the bumps along the road that we've made in these, but really to leverage our collective brainpower to leverage our collective funding, to collect up all of our collective energies to make sure that we can tackle these challenges together. And what we've seen Anthony, and being at this work for a couple of years now, is that when we can really put down the competitive juices and really focus on cooperation, we're all going to get to the finish line a lot faster.

Damon Jones:

We've had some amazing success in some of the work we've done working together on education, recognizing that over the past year, there are many kids, particularly black and brown kids across the country who couldn't get access to education, because they didn't have computers, and they didn't have the internet access. That's an issue of economic equity. So, really partnering companies, like the tech companies, companies like Dell, companies like P&G that have reached to really say, "Hey, what can we contribute to this?" Because none of us alone can solve for the digital divide that is a huge, huge issue. But if we're all contributing towards some of these things, that's where we can really make progress.

Damon Jones:

So again, the fundamental premise is cooperation, not competition, learning from the mistakes of others and being willing to share our bumps along the road so that you're not making the same mistakes that I made two years ago, and that we really can push forward faster together.

Anthony Hudson:

Thank you Damon. Stronger together. Certainly the theme of what I hear you describing with that initiative. And certainly the theme of today's conversation. Tim, I'm going to come back to you. And I want to talk just a bit about accountability. And accountability in the sense that there's been, I would say, an awakening that has taken place across this country over the last year and a half. And we've seen a lot of good. And I reference the commitments made by our corporate stores across all communities. I had an entrepreneur say to me in a recent [inaudible 00:20:19], he said, "Anthony, this is great. I just want to make sure that there is accountability to everything that we're saying we're going to do to actually ensuring that it happens." So when you talk about your region of choice initiative, and working with what I believe is 100 plus CEOs, what does accountability look like to you and those CEOs in this work that you're embarking upon?

Tim Sheehy:

Yeah. Anthony, a really good question. I want to pick up on Damon's comment, that equity isn't a bolt on to a business plan it's part of the business plan. And every business that's successful, puts out a metric, they measure their progress against that metric. So when we look at the region of choice in the 114 CEOs that have signed this pledge on behalf of their companies, we thought we were very thoughtful about what metrics we were going to put in place, how are we going to be transparent about sharing the data. So, this will be the first benchmark year from our data collection the first year. So, in November, we'll share the data very transparently, we are going to share the results from the culture survey both from the company and the community standpoint. And the CEOs get together on an annual basis, if you want to call it peer pressure, to make sure that they're all moving towards this goal of making the Milwaukee a region of choice for all.

Tim Sheehy:

And so we're not doing it differently than you would with other business goals, hopefully, this is embedded in how every business approaches this and how the community approaches it. Because we've talked about this for so long, that people really want to see results. And companies need to see results if we're going to make progress. And so that's what's incorporated in this region of choice.

Anthony Hudson:

That's terrific, Tim. I'm excited to see you hit that one year anniversary and begin to talk about some of those metrics, publicly share them, and then the conversation, the action that takes place around those metrics. What would you say just early on before you even have that data? Some of the highlights or some of the examples where you go, "Hey, we're on to something, this is working." Any success stories that you would share early on?

Tim Sheehy:

Well, I think the success stories initially are the reaction from the diverse talent in the companies that this is now public, that they can see progress. And I think the most important thing is we really built this region of choice effort, around over 1000 responses from black and brown management talent, and over 200 people that participated in focus groups. So we asked them, what's it like in your company? What's it like in the community? And what do we need to do to make this a region of choice for all? So, the accountability is really responding back to those individuals to that constituency about what we're doing to make progress.

Anthony Hudson:

More of a bottom up instead of a top down approach, which I love Tim. And the fundamental theory that if we have a more engaged diverse workforce, that's based here, in your case in Milwaukee, we begin to have real change across the community as well, like a real trickle down effect. Is that Is that a fair statement?

Tim Sheehy:

Yeah, it's a fair statement and the business case here for BMO and other companies that are located here, are competing globally for talent, and we want to make sure that Milwaukee is a place for black and brown talent, they want to come here, they want to stay here, they want to grow here. And to Jennifer's point, we want them starting businesses here. In Milwaukee, only 5% of our employers are black or brown. We've got a long way to go. So, it's not just about recruiting employees, and to Dr. Carter's point, it's about growing wealth. It's about growing the economic opportunity for people not just to work here, but to grow businesses, and to create that generational wealth that's going to be important if we are going to lift the equity of all of our citizens.

Anthony Hudson:

That's terrific. Thank you, Tim. You just mentioned Dr. Daniels Carter, and I am going to come to you next. Frankly, is no surprise here. What you have built with V&J Foods, is really unique. You've built a multi brand, multi state operation, and you are I believe, you can correct me if I'm wrong, the largest female franchise owner in the country, right? And so that's not just a big deal in the state of Wisconsin, or Milwaukee, that's a big deal anywhere you go. Talk to us a little bit about your journey. And if the focus is on how we get more large mid market businesses owned by people of color, how do we get more people like you? Share your journey and how we get to additional action to producing more, Valerie Daniels Carter's as we move into the coming years?

Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter:

Well, Anthony, it'd take me this entire show plus a lifetime to tell you my story. I go back to Tim's comment in terms of accountability and responsibility. As both employees and employers, we have to have a level of accountability, not just for allowing opportunity for others, but those that are receiving the opportunity to see upon the opportunity in a way of excellence that allows the expansion of growth for all. And so for me, we started with one restaurant in 1982, we grew it to 131 restaurants ultimately, before we shifted and changed some things, we started our own real estate and construction division, in order to build out our restaurants. I've served in many capacities in my company, all the way from being the person that will greet you when you walk in and say, "Hello, welcome to Captain D's. What type of seafood can I provide for you today?" To being the person that goes to the Capitol in Washington, DC, representing entrepreneurs and leaders all across this country.

Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter:

So can I give you the dynamics of what it takes in order to navigate to your place of destiny? I believe I have a little formula that maybe work for both the companies and for the employees. And so, I try my best to share and encourage others to do what I have been able, or I'm blessed to do. And so, I am so proud of the things that our employees have done within our organization to help us grow and position our company to where we are today. So, can it be done? It absolutely can be done. I'm a graduate of the historical black college. So I go back to the historical black universities, and I share with them the journey of my life. And then I go to the corporate boardroom and share with them why it's important to hire these individuals as they're graduating from these historical black universities. So as you can see, I have a lot of passion, I have a lot of energy and maybe game Damon one day I'm going to do a Procter and Gamble commercial for you guys, and just tell people you have the power to win.

Anthony Hudson:

I love it [crosstalk 00:27:52]-

Damon Jones:

... for that. We can go ahead and make that happen now. Ain't no sense in waiting too long into the future to get that done. But I tell you, Daniels Carter, what I love from your story, is just your intentionality, right? At every point along your journey, you're not letting systems get in your way, you're breaking down, you're saying, "Hey, why do I need someone else to build my restaurants when I can build them myself?" And I think, there's a lesson in there for corporations, right? The systems aren't broken, right? And nothing's broken in a way that is preventing black and brown businesses folks from succeeding. They're actually built that way. So, if we're really going to drive economic empowerment, we need to change the systems and be deliberate on things like supply chain financing, business mentoring, and holding people accountable to your point for really delivering the results. But the intentionality when you understand the story that Dr. Daniels Carter is talking about is just there. And I think that's a an inspirational lesson that we can all take, what are we doing, where we're at with what we have to make progress?

Anthony Hudson:

That is fantastic. And I actually want to stay with you on that topic. Procter and Gamble has a fabulous reputation dating back to the 1970s as it pertains to supplier diversity. And it's reported today that P&G spent upwards of two billion annually across the globe with diverse suppliers. I can't talk to corporations today without this conversation coming up. And you all really seem to be if you will, a front runner, or certainly top tier as it relates to supplier diversity. Please share with us how you got to this point. And if there are any nuggets for those listening in that are in charge of supplier diversity programs, or in leadership roles that want to make a change or take action within their corporation, what would you leave them with?

Damon Jones:

I go back to a couple of things that Tim mentioned earlier. Number one, like any goal, you make it a fundamental business goal. That means you track it, you measure it and you set aggressive goals and you are laser focused on what's getting in the way. And only when you could have open, honest discussions about what the problems are, can you begin to solve them. And then the second piece, again comes down to accountability. Years ago, we established people within our purchases organization that had specific responsibility tied to financial performance metrics, that said, "Hey, this is what we want to do." From there, we made the case throughout our business, that this wasn't just the job of those five people, or those 10 people, it was the job of everyone who was making an economic decision within P&G, that supplier diversity had to be an important driver of what they were doing. And we connected the dots and parts of our businesses where things were working.

Damon Jones:

We then looked across all of our systems and said, when someone says, "Well, I don't know any black or brown entrepreneurs that are in X." Okay, well, great, let's go find them. And let's talk to them, because the talent is out there that businesses that are out there, to the point that Jennifer made of what are the barriers that allow people and not allowing people to scale? Because when you're starting off, you have different barriers than when you are trying to scale. And we tackled each of those problems individually. Oftentimes, in supplier diversity, we're looking for the quick and easy wins, we're looking in the construction business and transportation and hauling, some of those things that are more transactional, versus the businesses that are truly wealth creating, right?

Damon Jones:

So you have to look at different elements along that chain. And third, again, being honest about what's working and what's not working and partnering with businesses who are getting it right. So, we don't purport to say that we've got a magical formula, but when the automotive companies were really making progress, we went down, we set with them, we did the benchmarking to say, "Tell me how you're making progress?" And we apply those lessons to our business. But it has been intentional, it has been tracked, it has been built into how we measure the success of our managers, and we hold people accountable for results. Those are some of the things that really have driven that success. To get to two billion is great, but we've got our eyes now set on getting the four, because two is not enough. We know that we can and we will do better.

Anthony Hudson:

Ah, What a great place to round out this conversation Damon, on such an important topic. I cannot believe that our time is already up. But before we wrap up today's session, I would love to just come to each of you and give you an opportunity to deliver a call of action to our audience that's in attendance, to one another and to myself, would love for each of you just to take a few moments and share where you believe we can really gain some traction across this country in a call to action. Dr. Daniels Carter, I'll start with you. We'll go to Jennifer, and then we'll round it out with Damon and Tim.

Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter:

Thank you, Anthony. And thank you for bringing us together today. And to your audience, I would just like to say for those of you that may have experienced failure in the past in trying to create equity, as relates to inclusion, don't allow that to stop you from moving forward. Because many times, failure is the bridge that takes us to success. And we recognize that it just makes good business success to do business with good people. So, I challenge you not to allow that to stop you from joining organizations like Tim's organization to make serious commitments to moving forward. And for those of you in the audience that may be working and engaged in these organizations, continue to challenge yourself to be the best that you can be, even if you have to use alternative operating strategies in order to execute to your next horizon or your place of where you are destined to go. Do everything that you need to do.

Anthony Hudson:

So good. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Jennifer.

Jennifer Garcia:

Yes. Thank you, Anthony and Dr. Daniels Carter, I definitely want to sit at your feet and just absorb all of this wisdom that you're portraying through the screen right now. Anthony, you started this segment using the word access and you said it several times access to education, to knowledge, to resources, and certainly to capital. And I believe that is so powerful. And again, my lens comes from Latino entrepreneurship, and there is such a need for access. If I point back to 2020, there was systematic challenges that we saw in access to capital. And our hope is that our research that we conduct through Stanford, really prompts lending institutions and capital providers to reevaluate their practices for minority entrepreneurship and specifically, their findings on Latino entrepreneurship. Because there is some startling statistics, this past report found that Latino owned businesses are 60% less likely to be funded by national banks. We talk about the VC community, our percentages of funding in VC is extremely small.

Jennifer Garcia:

And so, my call to action for lending institutions and for investors would be to reevaluate how you are lending, what are the practices, what are the procedures that you have in place for minority owned businesses. The other thing that I would say to any entrepreneur out there that is listening, the power of a professional network cannot be understated. It is extremely important to be involved with a professional network that allows you to receive education, resources, networking opportunities, and if I can just highlight one of the success stories that we saw in 2020, when every business owner was trying to navigate the process of PPP, we found that 18% of Latino businesses secured round one of PPP funding. 18%. The businesses, the entrepreneurs within the LBAN Network, reported 82% received PPP funding, that is absolutely phenomenal difference. And it highlights and underscores how important and essential it is for you to be part of a professional network. And so, seek that out, there are networks all across the country in your region nationally, we really cannot highlight the value that is obtained by being associated with a network.

Anthony Hudson:

Access, education and a network, critically important to minority business owners. Thank you, Jennifer. Damon, I will come to you next.

Damon Jones:

I'll close with two thoughts, Anthony. And it's been a pleasure to be here with all of the panelists. But the first is that transparency drives trust. And in all of these areas, the more we can sit down and really take an honest assessment of where we are at and where we want to be demonstrates to your employees, if you're a company, it demonstrates to your stakeholders that you know that you're willing to understand and learn more about the current set of issues in how you can really contribute meaningfully. But you can't be afraid to talk about what you're getting right and what you're not getting right. And I think when you do that, in the spirit of trust, people will lean forward and help you tackle the challenges that are before you individually, and that frankly are before us all collectively.

Damon Jones:

The second point that I would encourage people to just think about, as you approach this work of equating is that strive for progress and not perfection. Many of these issues, these are big, long running systemic issues, all of the ones that we're tackling via Take on Race, and you can learn more about that takeonrace.org, none of these are things we're going to tackle on our own. We're going to tackle them together, but we got to drive towards progress setting some defined measurable goals and even when you can't knock them all out of the park, then we'll need to talk about that. So transparency can lead the trust that is really critical to bring people along the journey with this. And secondly, getting progress, progress, not perfection, to make sure that we're going to make progress year by year, is how we're going to get there. We're not going to get there tomorrow. These problems weren't created overnight, they're not going to be solved overnight, but they can be solved when we work together. So those are my two thoughts. And again, a pleasure being with you all here today.

Anthony Hudson:

Thank you, Damon. Tim, I'll come to you to wrap us up.

Tim Sheehy:

Yeah, thank you, Anthony. And thank you, BMO for hosting this. I'm going to finish with what I started with, which is the world champion Milwaukee Bucks. If you think about the team that you work on, you think about the company you work for, and you think about the community that you live in, you cannot be successful if you're not engaging the entire breadth of the talent that you have. So, look closely at all three of those. Your team, your company and your community and commit to engaging all the talent that you have to be successful.

Anthony Hudson:

That is terrific. Again, I want to thank the four of you just for pouring in to our audience, pouring into me today. We look forward to beyond this conversation, being able to team up and find ways to collaborate because this is our community to take higher. From all of my colleagues at BMO, thank you all for tuning in today. We look forward to continuing the discussion very soon.

 

Raquel:

That was such a wonderful panel discussion. Thank you, Anthony Hudson. I'm now very excited to speak with Dana Guthrie, managing director of Gateway Capital. Dana, thank you for being with us today. I wanted to start off with congratulating you on your $12 million plus close on Gateway Capital Fund. For our audience. Can you tell us about Gateway Capital and how it creates pathways to capital for small businesses, especially Black and brown businesses?

 

Dana Guthrie:

Sure, sure. So Gateway Capital is a Milwaukee-based venture capital firm that invests primarily in pre-revenue startups in emerging yet historically under-invested geographies. Our belief is pretty simple. We believe that while the number of great ideas are equally distributed, capital and resources to power and be the fuel behind those ideas aren't currently. So with that in mind, we have a strategy and a preference towards investing in low to moderate income areas that can be entrepreneurs from those areas, startups operating out of those areas, or startups with great ideas that have a positive impact on those areas. Why this strategy is kind of significant to Black and brown founders specifically is because typically those are the founders that struggled to raise early capital, not having the ability to for example raise a significant friends and family round, that sort of thing. So we want to be there as one of many opportunities to have access to that capital.

 

Dana Guthrie:

One of the main drivers to economic upward mobility, generational wealth creation is ownership, be it ownership of homes or businesses. So starting a business requires funding and Gateway Capital is here to be their earliest institutional investor in really young startups. Black and brown founders have historically struggled to get this level of investment in the past with I believe less than 3% of venture capital going to Black founders in 2020. So I think it's really significant. In addition to the financials, in addition to the capital provided, human capital is extremely important for these companies. It's critical to the success of any new company.

 

Raquel:

That's great. And you know Dana, today's event's main theme is taking action, is a theme of Roadmap to Economic Prosperity event today. And you have such an inspiring professional background and really exemplify everything that we're trying to launch as far as be more empowered. But tell us what sparked in you to take action and leave the stability of your corporate career and start Gateway Capital.

 

Dana Guthrie:

Great question, [Raquel 00:02:53]. And honestly I didn't make the decision lightly or without consideration of the impact on myself as well as my family. There were a couple of things that helped with my decision, the first one being transferability of skillset. I reached a level of comfort because I felt like some of the skillsets that I had developed in the past would be applicable to the venture capital industry. So I worked a 13 year career in engineering and product management for a large corporation. I had worked as a technical advisor to many of my friends who happened to be startup founders themselves. And so I felt like I would with that background be able to bring some value add and a different perspective to this industry.

 

Dana Guthrie:

Secondly, I understood just the unique set of opportunities that presented themselves specifically in Wisconsin. So I had founded and managed an angel investment network called Alchemy Angel Investors. And during that time I learned a couple of things. First and foremost, there was no lack of great ideas coming out of the state of Wisconsin, coming out of the city of Milwaukee. And it just went from founded by people of all different backgrounds. Yet Wisconsin and Milwaukee tend to lag even our peers in terms of the amount of capital that goes into our communities. And so that in and of itself looked like an opportunity to me.

 

Dana Guthrie:

Secondly, through my work with the angel network that I had founded, I found that there was this excitement or momentum amongst high net worth people of color who were looking to better understand and get more involved in this asset class, venture capital as an asset class. And I thought that those two things combined created a really unique opportunity for me as a first-time fund manager and for Gateway as a whole. And I think that through our raise we actually proved that with about a third of our investors being African-American and about a fourth of our investors being women. There was this belief that those folks also wanted to begin to be more involved in the venture capital asset class. So those are kind of the things that initially invoked the impetus for Gateway.

 

Raquel:

So proud of the diverse makeup of your investors. That's wonderful. But I want to dig a little deeper in your journey, Dana. How has your journey been impacted being, a Black woman? And what advice would you give to others looking to break those glass ceilings?

 

Dana Guthrie:

That's a great question as well, Raquel. I'll speak not only in terms of the venture capital aspect, but just being a Black woman and going to engineering school. For example, the first thing that I realized is just the lack of exposure that I had early on. So for example, I'm not originally from Milwaukee. When I first arrived to Milwaukee and attended college, I noticed that although I was in engineering school before stepping on campus, I had never met an engineer personally in my life. Nor had I gone to a programming camp or had a programming class in my background. And so immediately I noticed that my counterparts did. And so for me, I knew that I had to work that much harder, stay up that much later, put in that much more time just to play catch up. And I think that this is a situation that's fairly familiar with many other minorities, and it's specifically Black people who go into certain industries. So that was the first thing.

 

Dana Guthrie:

And then there's the lack of representation. So before venture capital, I was in the engine engineering industry. That was a very male dominated industry. So I started off my career very timid, kind of quiet. My mom would call it, "Making yourself small," in meetings. I was fortunate enough to have a mentor early on in my career that would point that out to me, like, "You have all these great ideas and you'll mention it behind the scenes to me, but you won't mention it to the broader audience." So he challenged me really early on to be better about that. And I think that that helped moving over to venture capital same way. I'm a little more accustomed to oftentimes being the only person in the room and that sort of thing, but it's constantly ensuring that I'm bringing my authentic self to any space that I'm in, and communicating my ideas. Because the uniqueness about me and my background and where I come is I bring a totally different perspective and that's value add to any space that I'm in.

 

Raquel:

That's great. And as we close our time together Dana, what would you like our audience to take action as far as this very important moment in our country's history?

 

Dana Guthrie:

Yeah, I think I'll speak to organizations and then I'll speak to individuals. As organizations, I think that there's a certain level of intentionality that is required in order to create real sustainable change. And I do think that we're seeing some of that happening. It'll be very interesting to track and monitor and see how this continues moving forward. And then as individuals, and I think this was mentioned in the last segment as well, but one of my favorite quotes is, "Perfection is the enemy of good and killer of confidence."

 

Dana Guthrie:

So as an individual, I think that just people of color and women tend to think that you have to have everything figured out before you can act. So I'm not going to apply for that job because I don't think that I meet every single check box on the job description. Or I'm not going to mention that idea because I haven't gotten it fully vetted out. I think that that can be limiting and sometimes we just have to act. Obviously get your ducks in a row. Obviously be prepared, as prepared as you can be. But then move. Actually act. And if I'm leaving you guys with anything I would do that, being able to take some calculated risks is a really good thing.

 

Raquel:

Always a pleasure, Dana. Thank you so much for your time.

 

Dana Guthrie:

Thank you, Raquel. Great to see you.

Anthony Hudson:

I have a series of thank yous that I want to extend at this time. Thank you to Raquel and Dana for filming that session. Big congratulations to the Gateway Capital team on your successful capital raise. This is a moment in history that we have not seen before. I have no doubt that your focus on empowering minority owned businesses will help to create positive outcomes across this state. Economic equity is defined as the concept or idea of fairness in economics. The word prosperity is synonymous with economic wellbeing. Our goal was to host an event that was both thought and action provoking. Our desire is to continue to provide access to education and expertise, to support the economic wellbeing of minority families, communities, and minority owned businesses. I believe we achieved that today. I would like to thank Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter, Jennifer Garcia, Tim Sheehy, and Damon Jones for being change agents and inspiring us all to reach higher. A big thank you to the audience that tuned in today. There's no progress without your support. I'm energized by this discussion, and as Damon put it so eloquently, "Progress over perfection. Transparency drives trust."

Michael Torrence:

Thanks for listening to Sustainability Leaders. This podcast is presented by BMO Financial Group. To access all the resources we discussed in today's episode and to see our other podcasts, visit us at bmo.com/sustainabilityleaders. You can listen and subscribe free to our show on Apple podcasts, or your favorite podcast provider. And we'll greatly appreciate a rating and review and any feedback that you might have. Our show and resources are produced with support from BMO's marketing team and Paddle Creative. Until next time, I'm Michael Torrence, have a great week.

Disclosure:

The views expressed here are those of the participants and not those of Bank of Montreal, its affiliates or subsidiaries. This is not intended to serve as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any company, industry, strategy, or security. This presentation may contain forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such statements as actual results could vary. This presentation is for general information purposes only and does not constitute investment, legal, or tax advice. And is not intended as endorsement at any specific investment product or service. Individual investors should consult with an investment, tax, and/or legal professional about their personal situation. Past performance is not indicative of future results

Michael Torrance Premier directeur de la durabilité

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