Diversity Commitment Makes Verizon a Standout
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WASHINGTON - Commitment to diversity at all levels has earned Verizon Communications the Executive Leadership Council's Corporate Award. Verizon, the first telecommunications company to earn the award, will be honored Oct. 3 at the council's 14th annual recognition dinner in Washington, D.C.
The Executive Leadership Council, a national organization of African-American senior executives in Fortune 500 companies, presents the award to corporations that increase the number of minority and female employees company-wide and ensure diversity in their daily activities.
In selecting Verizon, the council cited the company's commitment to diversity throughout its business including work force development, supplier diversity, community relations, economic development and philanthropy.
"The Executive Leadership Council is proud to recognize Verizon for making diversity a part of its daily business," said Carl Brooks, Executive Leadership Council president. "We especially commend Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg for his leadership in this area." Seidenberg, will accept the award on behalf of the company.
Verizon's leadership team is committed to ensuring that the company's work force closely mirrors its customer base. The company's senior leaders are held accountable for the company's diversity through incentive compensation.
Multicultural employees now comprise nearly 30 percent of Verizon's work force and hold 16 percent of the company's top management positions. Nearly half of Verizon's employees are women, and 29 percent hold key positions within the company.
Here are highlights of Verizon's diversity programs:
- The Development and Leadership Initiative, a program aimed at developing the leadership potential of diverse employees. The two-year program helps employees understand professional and personal goals, and provides high visibility access to top Verizon executives. The initiative, which focuses on the retention of women and minorities, began with Hispanic employees. It has since expanded to include employees who are representative of Verizon's entire employee base. The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility cited the Development and Leadership Initiative as a "Corporate Best Practice for 2002."
- Twenty-three diversity councils in business units across the company oversee business-unit specific strategies on leadership development, mentoring and diversity training.
- Twelve employee resource groups promote personal and professional growth for employees with common interests.
- A commitment to women and minority-owned businesses. Verizon spent more than $1.5 billion with diverse suppliers in 2001 and is a charter member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, a select group of corporations that spend more than $1 billion annually with women and minority-owned businesses. This year the company also increased the number of minority-owned investment firms managing its pension fund to 19, up from 15 such firms in 2001.
In addition, Verizon Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, supports programs that create innovative technology solutions, help bridge the digital divide, foster basic and computer literacy, help enrich communities and create a skilled work force. Verizon Foundation ranked fourth out of 1000 companies in Fortune magazine's survey of the best corporate giving programs for minorities in 2001.
The Executive Leadership Council is also honoring two individuals this year: Stan O'Neal, Merrill Lynch president and COO, and civil rights leader Vernon Jordan..
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.1 million access line equivalents and 30.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 241,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.