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“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” —Steven Spielberg

As non-Black Americans and businesses are asked to reexamine themselves and the roles they play in the marginalization of Black people, I have been asked many questions by my well-meaning friends, colleagues, and professional network about how I succeeded and what makes me “different.” In other words: How did you reach the summit of the corporate world, where there are so few people who look like you?

While I am happy to answer them, my experience as a Black woman—and specifically in corporate America—does not make me a spokesperson for every Black person. My path does not guarantee that there is a one-size-fits-all recipe to success that one can point to and replicate. But hopefully I can highlight for others some of the key contributing factors.

As a female CEO of a luxury lifestyle and wellness brand (one founded by an iconic Caucasian woman, Donna Karan), my position would not be as notable if I were not Black. I am not sure who is more aware of my color—me, my employees, or …

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Good morning. David Meyer here in Berlin, filling in for Alan.

As we head into a much-deserved weekend, I’d like to draw your attention to a couple of worthwhile reads.

The first is this LinkedIn post from HP CEO Enrique Lores, following an appearance before the California Senate yesterday by HP’s strategy chief, Kim Rivera. Rivera was there to express the company’s support for a state bill that would force firms to diversify their boards.

Here’s what Lores had to say on the matter:

“It’s an important piece of legislation. I urge the legislature to adopt it and Governor Newsom to sign it into law. But we shouldn’t have to rely on the Governor’s pen to make our boards more diverse. Business leaders should be doing that on our own.

“This isn’t just the right thing to do. Study after study has shown how gender and ethnic diversity can help power innovation and strengthen a company’s performance. For example, McKinsey has found that companies with more women and more ethnic diversity at the executive level are more profitable, and they’ve also

Startup accelerators work great for most startups. But not for female founders. 

This is something I’ve intuited for years. So many experiences have driven that lesson home: The time I found myself unable to even consider most accelerators because I couldn’t afford to leave my family for three months. The time I attended a demo night and out of a dozen or so companies there was only one woman on a team slide—and her title was “Executive Assistant.” The times—and there have been many—when members of our community who are going through top accelerators themselves share their experiences with me: their struggle to fit in; their struggle to keep up with the hustle-and-play-hard environment; their struggle to fundraise despite the programs’ genuine best intentions to help them. 

A study published earlier this year by the International Finance Corporation, a subsidiary of the World Bank, confirms what I’ve long suspected. The pollsters found that all-male teams went on to raise 2.6 times more money after completing an accelerator compared to startups who do not attend a program, while female-founded teams that completed accelerators saw no uplift at all.

Accelerators have the power to be a great democratizing force in venture capital, but this promise …

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Good morning. David Meyer here in Berlin, filling in for Alan.

The British government is arguing with ice cream.

Surreal, yes, but the subject of the argument is deadly serious: it’s about migrants who crowd into small boats to cross the English Channel from France. After Home Secretary Priti Patel on Monday pledged to make these dangerous crossings “unviable,” Ben & Jerry’s U.K. took to Twitter to take her to task.

“Hey @PritiPatel we think the real crisis is our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture,” a thread from the ice cream brand began. Ben & Jerry’s went on to note that “the U.K. hasn’t resettled any refugees since March, but wars and violence continue.”

It seems Ben & Jerry’s tweets rattled the government, because someone in Patel’s department, the Home Office, briefed the BBC that the firm’s ice cream was “overpriced junk food.” James Cleverly, a lawmaker from Patel’s Conservative Party, tweeted: “Can I have …

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Good morning.

What do you do when your business disappears overnight? That’s what happened to Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian in April, when the pandemic cut the hotel company’s global business by 94%. “A shocking loss of demand,” he said.  “We had never been in anything quite like it.”

Hoplamazian was my guest this week on the podcast Leadership Next (Apple/Spotify). I was eager to talk with him because he’s always struck me as a leader with a strong focus on Hyatt’s corporate purpose, which is rooted in empathy—caring for employees so in turn they care for hotel guests. How do you care for employees when you no longer have the means to do so?

“There is no question that this has been the most difficult and most challenging period of time I’ve ever experienced, as a person,” he said. “The business was unrecognizable. The steps we had to take to manage through it were very painful. There was a very human impact that was devastating.”

Yet Hoplamazian said he has “been so incredibly humbled by the outpouring of appreciation and …