retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has an interview with Mellody Hobson, the new chairwoman of Starbucks - and  the only Black chairwoman of an S&P 500 company - in which she talks about how pledges to increase workplace diversity are being realized.

Some excerpts:

•  "Business diversity includes all areas of corporate spending. About 2% of Fortune 500 spending right now is with minority business enterprises. Starbucks has been focusing on this for some time. Last year, we spent more than $600 million with diverse suppliers, about 8% of our spending."

•  "The broader society is keeping score. There are consequences that exist for not living up to those commitments. It’s going to be super hard to be a Fortune 500 company without a diverse person on your board."

Asked what grade she would give the U.S. in terms of board diversity, Hobson says, "B-minus. White men make up 30% of the U.S. population and 70% of the board seats. The reason it’s not in the 'C' category is because in the last year or so, there has been a sea change. I know how many calls I’ve gotten and how many people I’ve recommended."

KC's View:

My favorite line in the interview is when Hobson is asked about post-pandemic, and she says, "I want to slingshot out of this period. I don’t want to limp out of it."

I think that's a great way to look at it.  This is a time for businesses to gain momentum in all things, not coast along waiting to see what happens next.