“There are only five Black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and if you compare that to … the percentage of Black consumers, quite frankly, there's a huge discrepancy there,” said Libi Rice, keynote speaker at the fourth Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Summit hosted by Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
Rice holds an MBA degree with a marketing concentration from the school and is vice president and chief communications officer of The Executive Leadership Council, an organization that develops Black executive leaders. Alex Triantis, dean of Carey Business School, interviewed Rice, one of many business leaders who spoke during the summit about the role of higher education and leadership development programs in addressing racial inequity in business and the hallmarks of successful Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives.
The racial reckoning that began in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd shone a spotlight on advancement gaps for Black executives, with corporations moving quickly to change their hiring and promotion practices “more intentionally than they had in the past,” said Rice. Systemic obstacles remain, however, such as how to gain the profit and loss (P&L) experience that companies want for future leaders and board members. Rice cited a study that found “in the Fortune 500, only two percent of Black women had P&L responsibility.”