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Sandra Quince has prepared her entire career for this moment. Still, it carried extra weight than Paradigm for Parity did on May 17th, exactly eight days before the anniversary of the assassination of George Floyd and about a month before the 15th of June.
"Sometimes you don't see the path you're going or the path you're paving and the extent of it," Quince said in a telephone interview the same afternoon as the Senate passed a landmark bill on Juniteenth, an official federal holiday. "I couldn't believe this was happening because I wasn't expecting it on January 1st, 2021."
Quince is humble. She worked for Bank of America for more than 25 years, including managing the Global Diversity & Inclusion Council. Paradigm for Parity is made up of "CEOs, officers, founders, board members and economists who are committed to building a new norm in the corporate world: one where women and men have equal power and status." , and opportunity. "Unlike Quince, the goal is not modest and aims to" achieve full gender parity by 2030 with a short-term goal of women holding at least 30% of leadership positions. "
Quince's availability to Paradigm for Parity is possible through Bank of America's Lender-on-Loan Initiative, which aims to connect its leaders with advocacy efforts in line with BofA's values. Quince's ultimate mandate is to formulate and implement Paradigm's key five-point action plan, which, among other things, aims to eradicate unconscious biases from corporate leaders and create mentoring pipelines for women.
The veteran DE&I advocate spoke to us about the overlapping work in pursuing equality for women and colored communities, creating accountability, and realizing how Juneteenth underscores the long journey of black men and women towards social and corporate inclusion.
Related: U.S. Black Chambers is celebrating June 150 with the launch of byblack
Much of your diversity, equality, and inclusion work has been around race and gender. Paradigm for Parity has an explicit mandate on gender parity. But are these efforts really mutually exclusive?
It all overlaps. This is not just about gender parity in the workplace, but also about race parity. While the main focus [by Paradigm] is on closing the gender leadership gap, let's also take a closer look at how this relates to women of color. But then also take a step back and have a holistic view of how that looks for progress towards racial justice. I think when you think of the "E" and the "I" in terms of diversity, equality and inclusion, they are not mutually exclusive. I think it's inclusive, and I think when you are making progress in an area, whatever systems, programs, and processes you put in place really help to make progress in all areas.
In essence, the activism of a marginalized group can become a model for the collective.
Absolutely. Whether gender, military, people with disabilities or colored people, although each segment has its unique opportunities, there is a kind of intersectionality in terms of progress that can be made. So when you think of things like your hiring, promotion, and development practices, and when you think of allies or advocacy or sponsorship, all of these things are interrelated. If you progress in any of these areas and create a truly diverse and inclusive environment, you will surely see progress in all of these specific communities.
Is there an initiative you launched regarding racial justice at Bank of America that you think is applicable to Paradigm's goals in gender?
One of the areas that I am really proud of and would like to bring to Paradigm for Parity is this thought of thinking about diversity, inclusion and equity at all important moments in the employee life cycle. When you look at the employee's life cycle from the moment you hire someone, what prejudices creep in and how can you tone down those prejudices? When you think about developing talent once they're in the company, think about developing and nurturing that talent, and then thinking about how to reward, recognize, and retain that talent. These are the critical moments in the employee life cycle when prejudice can really creep in and affect your progress. By looking at prejudice at the critical moments and minimizing that prejudice, we can take that elimination to the next level. The checkpoints must be very clear.
If anything, Juneteenth underlines how severely black people have been disadvantaged in American work and social life since supposed emancipation. Even if a coalition like yours sets specific standards for corporate capital, can culture generally catch up by then?
We are human, and of course there are so many wonderful things about being human, but there are also so many imperfections. Yes, in a utopian and perfect society, I would hope that organizations like Paradigm for Parity and corporations don't have to say, "I don't have to focus on diversity and inclusion anymore because now we do it automatically, and all of our people do it think in the same direction. "
The unfortunate part is that prejudice is incurable. Unconscious bias is something we all have. Every day we are inundated with information that inspires our thoughts and actions. Because of this, we need to constantly and consistently think about how we process information and how we treat others by processing information. When you think about what we've seen over the past year – whether it's Covid or racial injustices – and the impact it has had, you get an idea of how this work needs to continue. [Equity] could become part of our DNA, but unfortunately this is not the world we live in.
Similarly: will the future of the economy be as diverse as we think?
Can you say a little more about how meaningful the occasion and timing of your being appointed CEO of Paradigm resonated with you personally?
Kenny, I've received so many phone calls, emails, LinkedIn notifications from women – and women of color especially – who called me tearfully and basically said, "Oh my god, one of us got into one of these Position and got the opportunity to really be recognized as a great talent. " Certainly [there is] the weight and impact it has, but also my understanding of the gravity of the situation and the connection to Juneteenth in the advances we have made. There is just so much more to do. Now I have to go out there and perform and really move the organization forward and understand that there are a lot of people out there looking. My goal here is to take Paradigm for Parity to the next level and at the same time follow this path.