Letter to President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States

Dear Mr. President:

Congratulations on your re-election and the opportunity to leave a legacy! As a woman-owned and minority-owned small business, I embrace four more years of your advocacy for diversity, inclusion, and small businesses.

Providing opportunities for entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups is the key to economic prosperity, whether it’s implementing policies that will increase our access to capital or ensuring that government-funded organizations follow inclusive procurement practices during the contract-bidding process. Although we have made progress, we are not there yet. As long as pockets of our society remain marginalized, our economy will never see its full potential. Only through financial empowerment for everyone will we be able to build a globally competitive nation filled with innovative thinkers who more closely mirror the world in which we live.

You know first-hand that there’s no shortage of energy or ideas from entrepreneurs of all races, religions, ages, abilities, and genders. We just need access to opportunities and capital in order build our capacity to create more jobs and contribute to our nation’s economic prosperity. According to the U.S. Census:

• The number of Hispanic-owned businesses is expected to grow 41.8 percent in the next six years to 4.3 million, with total revenues surging 39 percent to more than $539 billion.

• The number of African American-owned businesses increased by 60.5 percent (2002 and 2007) to 1.9 million firms, with employment growing 22 percent and exceeding non-minority-owned businesses.

• There are currently more than 8.3 million women-owned businesses, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenue and employing 7.7 million people.

Many of these companies focus on diversity and inclusion. I know because the International Society of Diversity and Inclusion Professionals is one of them. Since launching the first global comprehensive association for the diversity and inclusion field in 2011, we have made a conscious effort to recruit people from all walks of life. That’s the power of diversity and inclusion. That’s what helped usher you through the doors of the White House four years ago. Despite the challenges you will face during your second term, that’s what fills me with optimism that you will lead us all down the path of economic prosperity.

I wish you the best during your second term and will continue to pray for your presidency and our country.

Cassandra D. Caldwell, PhD

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The International Society of Diversity and Inclusion Professionals