Fred Keeton

Fred Keeton
Vice President, Finance and External Affairs & Chief Diversity Office, Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Corporate Headquarters: Las Vegas, Nevada
Primary Business: Casino Entertainment
2010 Revenues: $8.9 Billion
Employees: 70,000

For many years, the challenge of increasing and optimizing diversity in corporate America has been a difficult one. Typically we do not hear diversity and inclusion talked about in terms of solving the company’s hardest problems, or taking advantage of its most complex opportunities. Nor do we hear diversity and inclusion (D&I) talked about in terms of its universal application to driving business outcomes – no matter where in the organization. It is this paradigm shift that must occur.

At Caesar Entertainment Corporation, we have created a formal approach and make a direct, solid-line connection between our stated position that diversity is great for better business outcomes, and great for generating innovation.

D&I has many real business applications that companies and individuals often overlook because they view diversity solely through the traditional diversity lens of representation. In actuality D&I must be viewed as parallel paths including both representative diversity and yield-managed cognitive diversity.

Yield managing cognitive diversity can be defined as, “leveraging cognitive abilities and predispositions based on individual backgrounds, experiences and genetic wiring to generate / obtain specifically desired business outcomes.”

This approach significantly enhances Caesars overall success as a global company and is a central element of the company’s strategic business plans.

“Understanding and executing this approach leads to continuous innovation and real bottom-line results.”

Based on employees’ cognitive preferences and predispositions, along with other relevant dimensions of diversity, Diverse-by-Design (DbyD) teams are formed at Caesars and assigned specific projects. While the fundamental team objective is clear, the team’s instrumental approach to driving enhanced outcomes is produced through the team’s overall diversity.

Diversity and inclusion are most potent when channeled toward a company’s hardest problems, or most complex opportunities. If managed appropriately, they can drive profoundly enhanced outcomes. The DbyD approach is universal and can be applied across all business functions.

Caesars also has five currently chartered Business Resource Groups (BRG) which contribute to innovative business solutions, and help make Caesars the casino entertainment industry leader.

The proverbial key to leading diversity and inclusion efforts within a company is positioning D&I as a legitimate business imperative. The key message is that the real power of workplace diversity and inclusion lies in formally identifying, mining, and structured channeling of diverse, untapped cognitive abilities. It must be explicitly demonstrated, constantly reinforced and recognized throughout your organization. Understanding and executing this approach leads to continuous innovation and real bottom-line results.