Despite Diversity Initiatives, Black CEOs Are Nearly Extinct Among Fortune 500 companies

A greater emphasis must be placed on developing a pipeline for blacks to ascend to high-ranking corporate positions.
01/11/2018 11:14 am ET
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Corporate America has a continued diversity problem. It’s a problem that has always existed and one that has become a buzzword as of late across several industries. Industries including tech, advertising, media and entertainment, legal, finance, health care, law enforcement, government and politics, consumer packaged goods, etc. have all come face-to-face with the fact that they lack diversity and need to take steps to do something about it.

This past year many companies within those same industries have appointed chief diversity officers, diversity and inclusion departments and initiatives to help put an end to this issue. But is it enough?

When you take a look at statistics you find that we are actually in the midst of a downward trend when it comes to diversity and inclusion efforts. Looking specifically at Fortune 500 companies, 2018 will bring the number of Black CEOs down to three once Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express Co. steps down from his role on February 1st.  Compared to the time period between 2005 and 2011 when there were a total of eight Black CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, this is disappointing at best. Even worse, Black men and women only hold 6.7 percent of the 16.2 million management positions in America today. 

While it may be hopeful to see pushes toward diversity efforts from major corporations for the future, the fact still remains that Black men who are seeking corporate jobs today have the unique challenge of facing corporate environments where they are the only Black man. In some cases, like in several of my previous roles, they’ll even be the only minority. This has major implications in the success rate of these individuals. After working 10 years in corporate America, including launching my own marketing firm at 24, I’ve realized that there aren’t enough men in the workplace who look like me or who face my same set of challenges. For me, this has meant that many times I did not have many professional peers that I could look to for inspiration, mentorship and the ever-so-important introductions needed to take my career to the next level.

This isn’t an experience that is unique to me and it’s been one that I’ve personally been looking to help solve. Last month, I announced the introduction of a first-ever camping event for young, Black professional men to develop their career skills, enjoy outdoor activities and bond over brotherhood. Black Boys Camp will take place from August 31st – September 2nd, 2018 in New York’s Adirondack State Park.

During the three-day weekend, attendees will learn from a variety of sessions such as “Old Money vs. New Money: Building Generational Wealth” to “Managing to Lead: How to be a boss in Corporate America” and “Grill Master: How to Throw Down at Your Next Family Cookout.” In addition, all attendees will learn survival skills for the wilderness, participate in a fitness boot camp, socialize at nightly parties and adventure throughout the campgrounds. Black Boys Camp will offer dozens of activities including kayaking, ropes course, swimming, jet skiing, basketball, tennis, fishing and many more.

It is my hope that hosting experiences like Black Boys Camp help tackle issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace by allowing young Black professionals to find communities where they can freely be themselves and make valuable connections that can lead to career success. Together, with the new initiatives to come from Corporate America, events and networks such as these can fully prepare Black professionals for exciting careers in America.

 

Tickets for Black Boys Camp go on sale January 15th and can be purchased at http://www.blackboyscamp.com.

About Black Boys Camp / Kyle Rosenbaum

Black Boys Camp is the premier event for black men who want to experience adventure and professional skills development. The event is founded by Kyle Rosenbaum, CEO of marketing and PR firm Kyle Arnett, who has had a successful career working with brands including ConAgra Foods, FedEx, Kellogg’s, Nickelodeon and the country of Colombia. Doing good is at the heart of what motivates him. Kyle has previously served on the boards of directors of Youth Crime Watch of America, Center Against Domestic Violence and Pulse Theatre Company Chicago, in addition to being a member of the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Youth Network within OJJDP and Defy Ventures. To learn more about Black Boys Camp visit http://www.blackboyscamp.com.

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