2017 Top 10 Influential Women in Global Diversity Build Strong Networks

As globalization grows deeper roots in the business environment, it presents the ideal opportunity to accelerate progress in Diversity & Inclusion across cultures. The Top 10 Influential Women in Global Diversity are leading the way to success.

Globalization of the business environment is now so entrenched that even small businesses compete on a global basis. It is a complex proposition because different cultural norms and perspectives on diversity drive the level of acceptance of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) as a core business value and determine the type of programs likely to be successful. The Top 10 Influential Women in Global Diversity have proven leadership in this complex business setting, utilizing a variety of strategies to build support at home followed by rolling out D&I initiatives that best fit the organization's global workforce, supply chain, and communities of operation.

DiversityGlobal is pleased to introduce the 2017 Top 10 Influential Women in Global Diversity because these are the people bringing D&I to life through the development and implementation of successful, customized programs. They are women with extensive business experience who are using their knowledge and expertise to forge new ground in the diversity space. The women are passionate about giving diverse people and businesses opportunities, delivering economic benefits to communities, and creating a world in which equality is a principal embraced by all.

The 10 women who are recognized this year demonstrate that successful D&I programs require innovative thinking and creative approaches. They work for a diverse set of companies which proves that D&I is applicable to every type of business. Their unique approaches to embedding diversity as a core value which requires strong action have led to organizations that serve as models of success. The women bring a vision of equality and opportunities for everyone to their jobs at MetLife, Pitney Bowes, SAP Japan, Hershey Co., Thomson Reuters, Praxair, Eli Lilly, Merck, Pandora, and L3 Technologies. It is exciting to see such recognizable corporate names taking the lead. It was just as exciting to see new industries, like internet music, join the effort. It is proof that Diversity and Inclusion as a critical global business success strategy is increasingly recognized.

The Top 10 Influential Women in Global Diversity have introduced a number of new approaches in the past year, but they have a common theme: Relationship building. The women leaders understand the importance of networking to leveraging the power of diverse people and suppliers in order to develop and expand D&I. Young programs implemented within the last couple of years begin with building support internally at the executive level to drive the building of a D&I, eliminate systemic barriers, and encourage accountability at lower management levels. Well-established programs focused on taking D&I as a core organizational value to cross-functional global operations.

Networking strategies are designed to fit the organization and meet the needs of stakeholders. They include addressing cultural nuances and responding to specific customer needs, launching a series of Minority and Women's Business Networks creating executive level diversity counsels around the world, focusing programming on the particular needs within a country, establishing Employee and/or Business Resource Groups, utilizing data analytics to relate measures of D&I to financial performance, forging relationships with key educational institutions and diversity-based organizations, developing multi-year strategic plans, and hosting internal and community forums.

The award winners are, above all, courageous straight talkers who do not shy away from difficult conversations. They each encourage honest input about the internal and external barriers to Diversity and Inclusion because that is the only way they can develop successful approaches to overcoming those barriers. They are change agents who thoughtfully develop D&I programs and continually adapt to meet challenges. Taking D&I global requires a deep understanding of the importance of forming strategic networks of diversity champions who can work within specific cultures while also establishing cross-cultural relationships.

DiversityGlobal Magazine invites readers to review the profiles of the 2017 Top 10 Influential Women in Global Diversity with thoughtfulness as to how the strategies are applicable to their companies. The fact is that embedding Diversity and Inclusion as a global core value requires the assistance of every company and every business leader. There is plenty of room for everyone who cares about creating a world of equal opportunities.

  • Alicia PetrossAlicia Petross
    Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement

    Alicia Petross Provides Strategic D&I Leadership at Hershey Co.

  • LaTonia PounceyLaTonia Pouncey
    Corporate Manager and Head of Diversity and Inclusion

    LaTonia Pouncey Rolls Out Diversity Eco-system Plan at L3 Technologies

  • Miriam Janice ChaversMiriam Janice Chavers
    Director of Diversity and Human Resources Communications

    Lilly's Janice Chavers Helping Communities Embed D&I Policies

  • Celeste WarrenCeleste Warren
    Vice President, Human Resources and Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence

    Merck's Celeste Warren Develops Impactful D&I Strateg

  • Elizabeth NietoElizabeth Nieto
    Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

    MetLife's Elizabeth Nieto Develops Diversity Ecosystem

  • Sarah WagenerSarah Wagener
    Vice President of Talent

    Sarah Wagener Ensures Diversity Touches Lifecycle of Pandora's Employees

  • Sheryl BattlesSheryl Battles
    Vice President, Communications and Diversity Strategy

    Sheryl Battles Makes Exceptional Contributions to Pitney Bowes

  • Vanessa Abrahams-JohnVanessa Abrahams-John
    Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion

    Praxair's Vanessa Abrahams-John Develops Best-in-Class D&I Program

  • Michiko AchillesMichiko Achilles
    Vice President and Head of Human Resources

    SAP Japan's Michiko Achilles Helping Women Build Skills and Experience

  • Livia Konkel Livia Konkel
    VP, Diversity & Inclusion

    Livia Konkel Partners with Wells Fargo Clients to Advance D&I