Cracking the Code That Stalls People of Color

By Sylvia Ann Hewlett

It’s a topic that corporations once routinely ignored, then dismissed, and are only now beginning to discuss: the dearth of professionals of color in senior positions. Professionals of color hold only 11% of executive posts in corporate America.1 Among Fortune 500 CEOs, only six are black, eight are Asian, and eight are Hispanic.2

Performance and hard work, along with sponsors, get top talent recognized and promoted, but leadership potential isn’t enough to lever men and women into the executive suite. Top jobs are given to those who also look and act the part, who manifest “executive presence” (EP). According to research by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), EP constitutes ...

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