Little did we know six years ago when we began work on a sister magazine to Talent Management on diversity management how crucial our timing would be.
The first issue of Diversity Executive, featuring then-American Airlines CEO Gerard Arpey on the cover, landed in reader mailboxes in September 2008 — just a few weeks before Lehman Brothers went bust. The financial meltdown that ensued was the final straw propelling what we now know as the Great Recession. That’s the inauspicious part of our timing.
But, in other ways, our timing couldn’t have been more favorable. Despite the difficult business conditions of the time, several factors told us we were onto something. Globalization was one, marked by China’s debut on the world stage as host of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
When other emerging markets like Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey began to flex their muscles, it underlined the point. In a globalized world, business decisions are no longer made exclusively in London and New York but also in Singapore and Sao Paolo.
What’s more, America’s demographic future was coming into sharper focus, revealing a population becoming more multicultural and racially diverse. By 2042, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the nation will be “majority-minority,” meaning no single racial or ethnic group will comprise more than 50 percent of the population.
And then, two months after we launched the magazine, the country elected President Barack Obama, its first African-American president. The point is clear. In both our personal and professional lives, diversity is no longer something that can be kept at arm’s length. It’s the reality of business.
To many, this is nothing new. A core group of diversity practitioners have been laying the groundwork for the past few decades, moving us beyond simple acknowledgement to sophisticated management of the resulting differences.
Along with that shift came the discovery that a diverse mix of people of varying backgrounds and philosophies is a rich source of opportunity. With thoughtful management and an inclusive approach, diversity can be a font of new ideas, innovations and approaches that can unlock dramatic growth.
That was the core insight we built Diversity Executive around. It didn’t take long for us to realize we hit the mark, earning recognition from American Business Media as one of the top three new magazines that year.
Our editors have since gone on to win several awards for editorial excellence from the American Society of Business Publication Editors, as well as the 2011 Presidential Leadership Trailblazer Award from the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, that group’s top recognition.
But as with everything, progress comes in fits and starts. The work requires vision and action, fiery passion as well as a steady hand. Creating a workplace culture where all have the opportunity to thrive is a continuing process. It’s also the kind of work that deserves a wider audience.
Starting this month, Diversity Executive will become part of Talent Management. Beginning on page 41 of this issue and continuing every other month, you’ll find the award-winning coverage that we’ve delivered in 36 bimonthly issues for nearly six years.
With its focus on high-performance people management, Talent Management is a natural fit. And while we won’t be publishing Diversity Executive as a stand-alone magazine any longer, we’ll continue our focused coverage of diversity and inclusion through these pages as well as our website and newsletter.
We’ll also be growing the Diversity Value Index, the industry’s only peer-developed benchmarking program. Launched in 2013, this evidence-based program identifies diversity and people management practices that lead to results and recognizes those companies that set the standard.
Whether it’s through the Diversity Value Index or our diversity coverage that is now part of Talent Management, our goal remains the same as when we launched Diversity Executive in 2008: to educate, advise and inspire readers to advance the critical work they do.
For that, the timing is always right.