momlogic: Tell us why these companies are so important right now, given our political climate and immigration issues.
Jennifer Owens: Simply put, these companies are important because of the commitment they've made to creating and supporting a truly diverse workforce. It's in times like these, when budgets are tight and stresses are many, that we discover which companies have made diversity and inclusion an essential part of their company culture -- and not just a program or policy that can be cut to save money. From recruitment to retention to advancement, these companies are working hard to create a pipeline of diverse talent that fuels their bottom line.
ml: Any words of encouragement for working mothers who are looking to make their mark on the world and raise a healthy family?
JO: Here's my encouragement: We working mothers rule the world, don't we? We are the ultimate multitaskers, and we get the job done. We take care of our businesses; we take care of our families. I'm a working mom, too, and lately I've been thinking about how [we working moms can] take care of ourselves. Isn't that the piece we often leave behind?
I think that for us to make our mark and raise a healthy family, we have to dedicate some energy to taking better care of ourselves. I know it's hard, and I haven't quite figured it out myself. But we're all in it together, right? And it's that network, that sisterhood, of working mothers that's going to help us all figure it out!
Best Companies for Multicultural Women
"Success breeds success at this financial services and insurance giant, which has just introduced Momentum, its new mentoring program that specifically targets multicultural professionals."
American Electric Power
"Fortunes may have fluctuated at U.S. companies recently, but this utility powerhouse has held steady through the turmoil, losing not one person and cutting not one benefit due to the recession."
"Cultural awareness is a business imperative for this financial services company, which operates offices in every state and 44 countries around the world."
"This fast-food giant strives to discover the perfect match for its corporate multicultural women. Candidates are interviewed at length about their personal and professional goals by volunteers from the Women's Leadership Forum before mentors are assigned to them."
"Talented women do well at this information technology and networking company, which just introduced its Inclusive Advocacy program for high-potential employees."
"Supporting multicultural women is a top priority for this global financial services company, which boasts a whopping seven women's councils in North America alone."
"Efforts to increase the status of female employees have led to impressive figures at this professional services firm, which now has ten times the number of female partners, principals and directors than it had in the mid-1990s."
"While multicultural women make up just 7% of all U.S. employees, they are on the move, representing 18% of last year's salaried hires, 16% of management hires and 23% of rehires."
"Opportunities abound for women at this investment bank, thanks to a wide array of new programs."
Health Care Service Corp.
"The company pays for high-potential women to attend a four-month program called Leading Women Executives, offered through the University of Chicago; its sessions teach the staffers to knock down its sessions teach the staffers to knock down barriers and learn the skills that will help them to be more effective employees."
"Women make up 31% of employees at this technology juggernaut, and they got a big boost last year with the introduction of its North American Women's Council."
"Working smarter, not harder, is the idea behind the Career Advancement program for employees at this financial services corporation."
"Women and minorities comprise 60% of the workforce at this audit, tax and advisory services firm, which employs a full-time team of diversity recruiters to seek out the best in the field."
"Special training sessions at the company help multicultural employees focus on how smart planning and good networking can help advance their careers."
"USA Asian, African-American and Hispanic employees also have programs dedicated to their specific advancement, with a focus on cultural issues."
"Nothing speaks as loudly as results, which is why female agents flock to the Women's Sales Forum offered by this insurance, employee benefits and financial services provider: It shows them how to promote their business and increase sales, allowing them to stand out from the crowd."
"Sponsoring the first leadership program specifically devoted to the needs of multicultural women was a watershed moment for this consumer goods company, which signed on in 2007 as a corporate partner of Ascent, an organization that seeks leadership roles for multicultural women."
"Keeping diversity top of mind during the economic downturn was important to this accounting firm, which offers audit and assurance, tax and advisory services."
Procter & Gamble
"Multicultural women who work for this consumer products giant now occupy 50% more jobs at the vice president or general manager level than they did in 2006, thanks in part to the work of the company's Corporate Women's Leadership Team."
"Impact, a yearlong mentoring program offered by this food and facilities-management services company, recently matched 90% of its 125 mentor/mentee pairs across divisions and functions."
State Farm Insurance
"Earning a degree is a snap when you work for this leading insurance company, which sponsors employees as they pursue their CPAs and PMPs and covers up to $5,250 in college tuition per year for anyone working just 18 hours per week."
"Creating a new generation of diverse leaders preoccupies this massive broadband and communications company, which offers a variety of programs to educate and develop its multicultural women."
"Women dominate at this big-box retailer, where they represent 59% of all associates and 30% of all corporate officers."