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CLEVELAND - Verizon focuses on diversity because it's "the right thing to do" and a key to the company's business strategy and success, Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group President Eduardo Menascé told the KeyBank Diversity Thought Leadership Series today at the City Club of Cleveland.
Menascé, the featured speaker at the event, said he has a unique vantage point for seeing how critical diversity is to business since, as one of the top 20 Fortune companies, Verizon touches more customers, employs more people and invests more capital than all but a handful of United States corporations.
"Verizon's success depends on our ability to transform into a truly multilingual, multicultural company," he said. "That's why we apply a broad, multicultural marketing strategy at Verizon. Our strategy is inclusive and integrated, allowing us to reach out to a number of vital, growing markets, from African-American to Asian-American, that comprise about one-third the country."
In Menascé's speech, entitled "Competitive Advantages of Diversity and the Hispanic Market," he noted that Hispanics, as the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the United States, with $686 billion in buying power, present a unique market for Verizon. "We need to do business with our customers on their terms - and, for many of our Hispanic customers, this means en Español," he said.
As a result, Verizon has 600 Spanish-speaking customer service representatives and two Hispanic business-sales centers; publishes Spanish SuperPages and plans to include up to 30 Spanish-language channels on its new FiOS television programming. Also, Verizon supports 10 employee resource groups, including the Hispanic Support Organization (HSO), which draw more than 12,000 employees to their meetings.
Menascé said his experience has taught him that greater employee diversity can be driven in four fundamental ways with:
- A framework for change
- Strong employee leaders who are accountable for their performance
- Success networks through mentoring, employee groups and organizations
- Leaders who are committed to diversity
"The best chance for success is to align all four areas. The biggest challenge is to keep diversity a priority, and the final challenge is to cast as wide a net as possible when recruiting for job candidates with a focus on diversity," Menascé said.
According to Menascé, while diversity is the right thing to do, it's also the smart thing to do. Several studies show that companies with greater diversity deliver more shareowner value than other companies. Menascé noted that Verizon has been recognized by numerous organizations for its diversity efforts, with minorities making up 19 percent and women 32 percent of Verizon's top management jobs.
"Paying attention to diversity helps Verizon stay in touch with its customers and its communities. And our commitment to diversity ensures that Verizon's work force has the vision and talent to continue reinventing communications now and in the future," he said.
He concluded by asking if the audience members were casting "a wide enough net" as they look at job recruits.
About Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group
Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group is dedicated to serving Verizon's largest business and government customers. Menascé, an Argentine native with more than 30 years of corporate experience, has led the $6 billion-a-year business unit since 2000. Menascé also serves on the Board of Directors of KeyCorp., the parent company of KeyBank.
Verizon Communications Inc.
With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of 212,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 45.5 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.