Chief Diversity Officer The Walt Disney Company SVP Human Resources, ESPN
The Walt Disney Company
Headquarters: Burbank, CA
CEO: Robert, A. Iger
INTEGRATED D&I INITIATIVES AT CORE OF DISNEY’S SUCCESS
With a diversity strategy centered on thinking and acting with a global mindset, The Walt Disney Company understands the benefits of leveraging a diverse, highly engaged workforce in driving business results.
“As a company, we work intentionally to attract and retain employees who reflect the diverse world we live in and serve,” said Disney’s Chief Diversity Officer Paul Richardson.
Under Richardson’s leadership, Disney has launched multiple D&I initiatives including an executive Diversity Council, numerous resource groups, the annual Women’s Leadership Conference and Disney’s successful Heroes Work Here veteran’s hiring program.
“We understand that developing the most creative, innovative, and engaging entertainment experiences for an increasingly diverse marketplace does not happen by chance,” Richardson said. He emphasized it requires an ongoing, sustained commitment of senior executive leadership, a corporate culture and work environment of trust and employee engagement, and the highest standards of personal accountability to drive and sustain business results.
The company’s approach focuses on the diversity of its workforce, inclusion and opportunity within the workplace, and leveraging global diversity to grow the company and engage diverse communities. “To understand and meet the needs of diverse consumers, fans, guests, and viewers, our opinions, products, and perspectives must include a multitude of ideas, sensibilities, and experiences,” Richardson said.
To reinforce accountability throughout the company, CEO Robert Iger serves as the single most significant driver of D&I. “He drives his personal commitment to diversity as a core strategy in achieving business objectives through his active support and participation driving home the importance of diverse employee contributions, insights and perspectives in achieving strong business results,” Richardson said.
The company has 32 full time D&I staff members and several thousand others indirectly involved through various roles and functions such as human resources business partners, talent acquisition and marketing teams, as well as content producers, writers, and directors in the Walt Disney Studios and Media segments. Its 10-member corporate board of directors consists of 50 percent diverse representation with three women and two men from diverse backgrounds.
“Our team of talented and motivated employees enables us to respond more quickly and instinctively to marketplace trends and consumer demands shaped by demographic shifts,” Richardson said. “It also allows us to be first to market with creative assets and entertainment products that appeal to every family – regardless of background,” he added.
HEROES WORK HERE
While developing a talent base reflecting the marketplace it serves, Disney has a longstanding commitment to the Military and a model program for transitioning veterans into the civilian workforce. Its Heroes Work Here program is a company-wide commitment to recruiting and supporting veterans and their families. The company has hired more than 6,000 veterans in the past four years and through its Veterans Institute is serving as a model to other companies around the country for building their own veteran and military hiring programs.
We are making significant inroads in harnessing the leadership talents and strong work ethics that veterans bring,” Richardson said. Specific initiatives under the umbrella of Heroes Work Here include resources for women veterans, support for families of veterans, scholarships for veteran students, onboarding support, as well as Heroes Supply, Disney’s supplier diversity program for veteran businesses.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY’S RECENT D&I RECOGNITION INCLUDE:
- Profiles in Diversity Journal – Diversity Leader Award
- Fortune – Most Admired Companies
- HRC – Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality
- Families and Work Institute – Veterans Employment Transition (VET) Award
- Taproot Foundation – Golden Root Award
- Women Business Enterprise Council – Corporation of the Year
- Out & Equal Workplace Advocates – LGBT Workplace Excellence “Outie” Award
- Profiles in Diversity Journal – Innovations In Diversity Award
- Secretary of Defense Freedom Award
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund – Corporate Partner of the Year
- Trevor Project 20/20 Visionary Award