My name is Denise Meridith and I am the CEO of The World’s Best Connectors (The WBCs), a virtual community for executives. Some people I meet sound put off that I created a group for C-suite executives. One man even demanded how dare I put “Best” in the title. There are and have always been clubs for top managers. What makes The WBCs unique in Arizona?
Of course, being “virtual” is one asset. We were using Zoom long before COVID-19. We are designed for leaders who are too busy to drive around town, sitting in routine meetings. We are results-oriented. We have no interest in being your consultants for life: we attack your problem, resolve it, and move on. What we seek is your favorable recommendations and referrals for life.
But there is another important way we are “different.” The past week, I have felt like a priest in the confessional, as I hear and read all these corporate CEOs talk about how much they value diversity. If that was true the US would not be in the crisis mode we are today. It has been 56 years since the Civil Rights Act! I do not need a written policy or an EEO officer (usually the only person of color on corporate organizational charts) or affirmative action goals to encourage me. If you are sincere about recruiting and hiring the best qualified, you will easily acquire a community, like ours: comprised of talented, assertive, approachable, successful professionals of all races, religions, sexual orientations, even political persuasions.
While we help all businesses, The WBCs are focused on consulting for those in tech and commercial development, which happen to be the fastest growing sectors in Arizona and also the least diverse. In 1990, I had a special assignment with Hewlett-Packard in Palo Alto. Their motto then was “Diversity is Our Competitive Edge.” This was before companies had even heard of “diversity.” I have followed that principle into every leadership position I have had first
It is sad that it has taken so many senseless deaths of people of color and expressions of outrage in the street to wake up America. But it is not too late. This is still the most diverse AND greatest country in the world. “Valuing diversity” and “greatness” are not mutually exclusive, but are symbiotic. You cannot have one without the other. The WBCs (www.thewbcs.com) are proud to be in the forefront of change.