The former chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the chief diversity officer for a U.S. company are the co-leaders of the Standards for Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) task force responsible for creating measurable D&I standards for the HR community.
Cari M. Dominguez, formerly of the EEOC, and Effenus Henderson of Weyerhaeuser Co. in Washington state, will oversee the nearly 200-member task force, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced February 2011.
“SHRM is to be congratulated for taking on this pivotal work,” Dominguez told SHRM Online in an e-mail. “For far too long, the field of diversity has gone without professional standards. By having experts in this field identify the key elements of a multifaceted diversity program, the core competencies required of top diversity professionals, and the central components of a measurement program that evaluates progress, we can now move toward a much higher level of diversity effectiveness and results,” she said.
“This effort will be transformational,” Dominguez added, “not only for the profession but also for the growth and uniform development of diverse human capital.”
Henderson sees the taskforce’s work as “an important step forward in the professional development of this area of human resources.”
“By developing some standards that are ANSI-approved, it really allows for a certain level of quality” to measure against—from the quality of programs to defining the attributes of a top D&I officer to the metrics used to evaluate D&I success, he said.
“It really is about strengthening the connection of diversity and inclusion to organizational outcomes and business objectives.”
It became clear during the 2008 SHRM Leadership Summit on Diversity and Inclusion that the D&I field “was in a dire need of some kind of standardization,” said Eric Peterson, manager of D&I at SHRM. Peterson is SHRM’s only voting representative on the task force and sits on all three workgroups.
The SHRM-commissioned 2007 State of Workplace Diversity Management study found that 71 percent of more than 1,400 individuals surveyed and/or interviewed in the United States in 2006 indicated their organizations had no official definition of ‘diversity,’ he noted.
The task force, made up of volunteers, is one of 13 such groups SHRM is spearheading under the auspices of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI is the authorized agent for the U.S. government for coordinating standards development. In February 2009 ANSI designated SHRM as the exclusive standards developing organization for HR standards.
Persons are welcome to be part of the critique process when the standards are ready for public review and before they are adopted, Peterson said. Once ANSI adopts the standards, they will be available to the public for free.
Dominguez has worked in the private and public sector. In 2001, she began a five-year term as chair of the EEOC. She served as assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor, where she helped launch and lead the U.S. Department of Labor’s Glass Ceiling Initiative, an effort focused on removing workplace barriers hampering the advancement of employees because of race or gender.
She is principal at Dominguez & Associates, a corporate director for Manpower Inc. and a trustee/director at the Calvert SAGE Fund, in addition to serving as a trustee for Loma Linda University and Medical Center in California. Dominguez has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Leadership Foundation of the International Women’s Forum and the Human Resources Planning Society. She held HR positions at Bank of America.
Dominguez is the co-author of Leading with Your Heart: Diversity and Ganas for Inspired Inclusion (Society for Human Resource Management, 2010).
Henderson is the chief diversity officer for Weyerhaeuser Co. He is an internationally recognized expert in the diversity and inclusion field, and has addressed the United Nations General Assembly on intercultural and interreligious diversity.
Henderson is a member of the Institute for Inclusion, a think tank.
In July 2010 the National Urban League recognized him—along with singer Stevie Wonder, poet Maya Angelou, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder—for his work with social, economic and racial issues.
Diversity Best Practices/Working Mother Media named him one of the winners of its Diversity Officer Leadership Award in 2007. Henderson was among 100 diversity experts invited to the 2008 SHRM D&I leadership summit.
The task force includes various workgroups that will focus on standardization in specific areas.
Workgroup leaders and associate leaders, respectively, are Kevin Carter, metrics and measurements of a D&I program; Glenn Winfree and Mary-Frances Winters, defining the standards for a D&I program; and Leslie Traub and Tiane Mitchell Gordon, identifying the profile of a top D&I professional.
Carter serves as director of diversity and inclusion for the Campbell Soup Co., has led D&I initiatives for more than 15 years in various industries and has managed Executive Diversity Councils.
His experience in the corporate world has included serving as general manager, diversity and inclusion-Americas, at BP; vice president of diversity, culture and inclusion, at Safeco Insurance; vice president of workforce diversity at National City Bank; and director of diversity and business development at McDonald Investments.
Henderson has designed D&I curriculum and co-chairs The Conference Board Diversity Leadership Council.
Traub is the president and CEO of Cook Ross Inc., a woman-owned firm in Maryland that focuses on strategic diversity and inclusion consulting. She previously served as manager, executive and management development for the American Red Cross.
She was a fellow in change management from Johns Hopkins University and earned a certificate in instructional design from the University of Maryland.
Tiane Mitchell Gordon
Gordon is the outgoing senior vice president in diversity and inclusion at AOL LLC. She served on a panel at the 2009 SHRM Diversity Conference & Exposition in San Diego, and was among 100 diversity experts invited to the 2008 SHRM D&I leadership summit.
Gordon is a member of the Loudon (Va.) County Government Multicultural Advisory Committee. Earlier in her career she worked in HR at Newfield Publications and Aetna Life & Casualty.
Winfree is director of diversity with Aetna’s Office of Diversity. He has a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Hartford and a certificate in Diversity Management from the University of Houston.
He is the founder of Elegant Communication Solutions LLC, based in Connecticut.
Winters is founder and president of The Winters Group, an organization development and diversity consulting firm located in the Washington, D.C., area. She has served as affirmative action officer and senior market analyst at Eastman Kodak Co. and is the author of several books, including Inclusion Starts With “I” (Renaissance Publishers Inc., 2003) and CEOs Who Get It: Diversity Leadership from the Heart and Soul (Diversity Best Practices, 2006).
Winters holds a master’s degree in business administration from the William E. Simon Executive Development Program. In 1988 the Rochester (New York) Minority Enterprise Development Committee named her the minority business person of the year.
Task Force Members Needed to Develop HR Standards, HR News, September 2010
SHRM to Craft U.S., Global HR Standards, HR News, February 2009
SHRM 2007 State of Workplace Diversity Management Report: A Call to Action, SHRM Online Diversity Discipline, February 2008