Gregory T. Swienton
Chairman and CEO, Ryder System, Inc.
Headquarters: Miami, Florida
Primary Business: Transportation and logistics solutions
Revenues: $5.1 billion
Diversity Helps Capture Market Opportunities
We embrace diversity and inclusion at Ryder not only because it enriches our life experience, but also because in a very real sense, it keeps us competitive. As the world becomes more mobile and connected, demographics are changing, and customers and prospects are becoming more diverse. It’s essential to have a workforce made up of individuals who contribute a variety of approaches and perspectives to help capture market opportunities. Specifically, we believe diversity and inclusion supports us in four key areas of our business: strategic alignment, talent management, customer retention and growth, and cost-effectiveness. A diverse and inclusive environment enhances our ability to attract and retain the best talent in the marketplace and helps us develop better solutions for our customers.
This is why today I personally chair Ryder’s Diversity & Inclusion Council, which is made up of 11 cross-functional business leaders from Ryder. Together we work to drive accountability for diversity initiatives throughout the company. One recent Council initiative was our Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF), a three-day gathering of Ryder women vice presidents and directors who discussed ways the company can be more inclusive, supportive, and attractive to women. The transportation industry has made strides in the past couple of decades, but there are still many opportunities to improve the ways we support women in our industry.
On a personal level, I am a strong supporter of diversity and inclusion because I am the grandchild of immigrants and have seen how an inclusive environment made it possible for my grandfather to come from Poland and work to give our family better opportunities. This is also why I am proud to serve on the board of trustees of St. Thomas University, a Miami-based university that has historically attracted first-generation Americans.
Ultimately, diversity is about much more than race or gender—it’s about the experiences we’ve had and the perspectives and skills we bring. Inclusion is also much more than simply working with people of diverse backgrounds—it’s about knowing how to leverage different strengths and points of views for success. When done well, it’s about including opinions, input, and solutions from all functional areas and levels of an organization.
A truly diverse and inclusive company stays ahead of the competition because it benefits from the ideas of the best talent in the global marketplace and develops the strongest, most innovative solutions.
Education: MBA, University of Chicago; BBA, Loyola University Chicago
First Job: Paper route, Harlem-Irving Times, Norridge, Ill.
What I’m Reading: Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
My Philosophy: “The truth shall set you free … but first, it may make you miserable.”
Best Advice: Investing time, effort, and thought into your educational pursuits can make a tremendous difference in your life and the breadth of opportunities available to you.
Family: JoAnn, wife of 38 years; one son, twin daughters, and six grandchildren
Interests: Military history, golf
Favorite Charity: American Red Cross
Ryder is a well managed company. But, with all the inclusion and political correctness, let’s not forget that tolerance and acceptance are not the same. One is an open and free exchange of ideas, while the latter is giving one ideology favor over another. Where do we draw the line? Our corporations need to be good corporate citizens of the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America, not puppets of whatever socio-political theme happens to be popular now. Freedom of speech must never be written out of corporate policy.