Championing Diversity and Inclusion Beyond the Workplace

Recently, the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications named Time Warner Cable a “Top Company for People of Color.” The Human Rights Campaign similarly nominated TWC as one of the best places to work for LGBT individuals in the U.S., giving a perfect 100 score on its annual Corporate Equality Index.

Such strong recommendations from diversity organizations honor TWC’s powerful commitment to fostering diversity in its workplace, something it achieves partially thanks to robust employee network groups. Moreover, the company supported several conventions regarding diversity in July: the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Council of La Raza and the National Urban League.

Jerrell Moore is TWC’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, overseeing the company’s strategies for promoting diversity. In 2013, he was part of President Obama’s White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. This year, Savoy magazine included him on its “Top 100 Influential Blacks in Corporate America” list.Jerrell Moore

Diversity Executive had the opportunity to speak with Moore about his work at TWC. Below are edited excerpts from the interview.

TWC was named a top company to work for, both for people of color and LGBT. Can you give any advice on what companies can do to become such places?

We’re proud of the work we’ve done and it speaks for itself. TWC is focused on maintaining a place that employees can feel comfortable enough to bring their whole selves to work on a daily basis. Each company is different, and we all have our opportunities, so we lead by example, and that starts with listening to our more than 50,000 employees. They speak to us on a daily basis via various modes of communication and we try to respond nimbly via programming that drives engagement. 

One effective way we do that is through our employee network groups. Currently, TWC has 11 employee network groups with more than 25 chapters across the country that are represented by employees from various departments including customer care, technical operations, finance, communications and marketing. Our employee networks include Asian Pacific Islander Collective, Aspiring Leaders Organization, Black Business Employee Network, Hola TWC!, Hispanic Women’s Network, Out@TWC, The Women’s Collective, Women in Technology, TWC Able (a disability-focused network), Caregiver and VetNet. These groups provide leadership development workshops, lunch-and-learn sessions that educate employees about TWC’s business initiatives and cultural competency sessions that help employees get to know people outside of their circles.

Can you tell us more about Connect a Million Minds?   

Connect a Million Minds, or CAMM, is TWC’s philanthropic initiative to raise awareness among students on the importance of STEM subjects for future education and careers. It was designed to inspire the next generation of problem-solvers by connecting young people to the wonders of STEM. At the White House Science Fair in May this year, it was announced that TWC reached its goal of connecting 1 million young people. Pledges to connect a million minds to STEM were collected through the CAMM website, where parents, educators, and mentors also recorded stories of how they introduced students to STEM activities.

The milestone came less than five years after President Obama and TWC announced this commitment in response to the White House’s Educate to Innovate campaign, which is designed to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade. TWC has partnerships with organizations, including the YMCA of the USA and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, to bring educational programs to middle school students to inspire and spark their interest in STEM subjects.  

What are some of the ongoing and emerging issues affecting Latinos?

In July, TWC announced a $20,000 stipend to League of United Latin American Citizens from TWC’s Research Program on Digital Communications to support research for science, technology, engineering and math education in the Hispanic community. Here’s an excerpt from the white paper, “STEM Education: A Bridge for Latinos to Opportunity and Success,” which addresses the value of youth education, engagement, and the need for more parental and community participation as key drivers for improvement, along with scholar­ships, to make education a reality:

“Twenty-six million jobs in the United States require specialized STEM knowledge, and by 2020 this figure will top 35 million. The need is far outpacing the available workforce. The numbers also demonstrate Latinos are still underrep­resented. Despite being 17 percent of our population — a figure that will double by 2060 — Latinos only constituted 7 percent of the STEM workforce in 2011. For those who’ve entered the field, their median salary was over $10,000 less than non-Hispanic whites.”

TWC has partnered with organizations like National Council of La Raza and LULAC to offer constructive ideas on clos­ing the gap. These strategies, among others, are needed to help the Latino community — and the country — compete for the long term. Our hope is that this report continues a much-needed ongoing conversation on how to make tomorrow’s economy more inclusive. We’ll all benefit when the STEM workforce reflects our nation’s rich diversity. 

What are some other ways TWC champions and promotes diversity and inclusion?

On a quarterly basis, our diversity and inclusion team meets with strategic partners and employee network leaders at TWC’s Executive Inclusion Council. The EIC is composed of TWC’s executive leadership team and led by CEO and Chairman Rob Marcus. We hear feedback about talent, budget, strategy, results, employee engagement and discuss its impact on TWC’s overall business goals and strategies. This has single-handedly raised the visibility and credibility of diversity and inclusion initiatives at TWC because we actively involve our executives. These conversations ensure that we’re on track with our strategy.

We have several initiatives to grow our diverse talent. First, TWC has a robust internal leadership and development function that is committed to growing our leaders. Earlier this year, we launched a mentoring program that targets employees with leadership potential and pairs them with senior leaders for development and exposure. More than 40 percent of these pairings are diverse. Not only do we develop our employees internally, but we partner with industry partners like the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, Cable Executive Management at Harvard Business School, the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications’ Executive Leadership Development Programand Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Congressional Internship Program.

How did you come to be working as someone who fosters these ideas of diversity and inclusion?

For me, working in diversity and inclusion has always been about being a voice and representing ideas among our diverse employees. There are many employees who aren’t represented in leadership meetings, talent reviews and strategic planning sessions. By adding the diversity lens — disabilities, age, gender and ethnicity — we get to provide relevant data points to make business-driven decisions. It’s deeply fulfilling for me to combine the opportunity to represent our diverse workforce while improving our business through deeper customer connections and expanded market share. Putting in the work is equally fulfilling as gaining the recognition.