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TrailBlazers: How Top Business Leaders are Accelerating Results through Inclusion and Diversity by Lenora Billings-Harris, Redia Anderson

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Chapter 3. Trailblazers

Chief Diversity Officer's Role in Success

Building, Collaborating, Leading, and Leaving a Legacy

It's no mistake that the persons we interviewed for this book fulfill the meaning of the word Trailblazer. Many of them have been involved in this kind of work—again, as opposed to affirmative action—for over 20 years, and they are trailblazers in the truest sense of the word. They lay down paths distinct and apart from the old line of affirmative action–oriented thinking and have broadened the work to bring relevancy to other leaders and people—up, down, and throughout the organization and marketplace. These Trailblazers understand, navigate, and leverage myriad strategies to implement large-scale organizational change through the overall business strategy, financial objectives, talent management and human resources practices, marketing, procurement, community involvement, corporate responsibility, philanthropic giving, and the most important among these—the nature of their own distinct organizational cultures. These key points of intersection are critical to the CDOs' ability to gain momentum and advance inclusion and diversity within the organizations.

The role of the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer is a unique one indeed. They are the architect of the vision, strategy, and source of fuel and inspiration ...

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