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The Growing Impact of Diversity and Inclusion in Professional Sports – Part 1

Diversity and inclusion are increasingly being recognized as drivers of innovation. For businesses, diversity and inclusion provide the means to develop unique core competencies that award success. However,  have these insights made their way into the major sports organizations as well? Does diversity in professional sports foster better team performance and success among sports organizations? For many major sports leagues, there is now a recognition of the importance of diversity in professional sports. Those that embrace diversity and inclusion as key concepts will likely be well positioned as the sports leaders of tomorrow. And, there are many reasons why diversity is important including the health and relevance of the business of major league sports.

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair. Sport speaks to people in a language they can understand.” – Nelson Mandela

Bold Business spoke with diversity leaders in the sporting world during the 12th Diversity MBA Annual National Conference. USTA Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer D.A. Abrams and Major League Baseball Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Renee Tirado talked about leveling the playing field for all athletes – regardless of gender, sexuality or race.

The Impact of Diversity in Professional Sports

The reasons for the importance of diversity in sports can be examined from different perspectives. At an individual level, inclusion in sports has many benefits. Participation not only builds self-esteem, but it also creates a sense of connection with others. For communities and organizations that promote inclusion in sports, cultures of respect and teamwork naturally evolve.  Collectively, so much more can be achieved. Diversity in professional sports offers the same advantages.

Nelson Mandela discusses reasons why diversity is important to sports
Nelson Mandela knew very well reasons why diversity is important to sports

In businesses and communities alike, diversity and inclusion allow the realization of goals and accomplishments.  Diversity is so important in these situations +because it promotes creativity, unique perspectives, and new opportunities. Diversity in professional sports allows sports teams to thrive in a similar way. In fact, studies involving European soccer teams have shown that increasing levels of diversity yield better performance on the field. Through creativity, cooperation, and avoidance of groupthink, a number of sports teams can compete at a higher level.

Bold Leaders of Diversity in Professional Sports

If you haven’t noticed, many sports organizations appreciate the reasons why diversity is important. These bold leaders have “awakened” to the fact that diversity in professional sports provides many advantages. These advantages go well beyond the sporting arena. Bold Business interviewed several of the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officers for the USTA, MLB, NASCAR and PGA at the Diversity MBA 12th Annual National Conference to get a better understanding of the impact diversity is having on professional sports.

United States Tennis Association (USTA)

The USTA has been a leader in diversity in professional sports for some time now. From the Williams sisters to rising star Sloane Stevens, the USTA has invested in inclusion cultures throughout its ranks. David Anthony (D.A.) Abrams, USTA’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, acknowledges the many reasons why diversity is important.

As Abrams puts it, “Our ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach to diversifying the sport [is] for the good of the sport.” This not only recruits new members to the sport, but it raises the level of play across the board.

Serena and Venus Williams are ambassadors in diversity in professional sports as shown with them celebrating
The Williams Sisters are Ambassadors in Promoting Diversity in Professional Sports

Major League Baseball (MLB)

You may not realize it, but MLB was the first professional sports league to have a diversity and inclusion office. Today, MLB has a global outreach not only for viewership but for talent recruitment. But MLB’s diversity and inclusion efforts do not stop there, according to Renee Tirado, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

Tirado notes, “We’re going to have a training and development opportunity and networking event to [encourage] women who want to be coaches and trainers, etc.” Not only can these efforts produce positive results on the field, but they can also produce advantages for the league as well.


For decades, NASCAR has struggled with diversity in professional sports personnel. So, in 2004, NASCAR launched its Drive for Diversity Program to promote driver diversity. But in 2009, the program was expanded to achieve diversity among crew members as well. The results? Every NASCAR fan certainly appreciates that Danica Patrick and Darrell Wallace, Jr., have made tremendous impacts in fan viewership. But nearly half of all Drive for Diversity Crew Member Program recent graduates work for NASCAR today.

According to Dawn Harris, Senior Director of Diversity Affairs for NASCAR, “Driver diversity is…just the tip of the iceberg.”

PGA of America

A major part of the PGA’s mission is to encourage participation in the sport. Because of this, diversity and inclusion are key strategies employed to realize these goals. Sandy Cross, PGA’s Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion, is committed to attracting all types of players to the sport. This is occurring through a variety of local and national programs.

As she notes, “To grow participation…you have to do that through the changing landscape of America. It is increasingly multicultural.” Notably, the PGA is targeting not only women and minority golfers but also the inclusion of the LGBT community and those with a disability.

D.A. Abrams USTA Quote on the Importance of diversity in professional sports
Everyone at USTA is Hands-On-Deck in promoting Diversity and Inclusion

The Secret to Diversity’s Success and Reasons Why Diversity is Important

While the reasons why diversity is important in sports is supported by evidence, some studies have found contrary results. This is likely due to the fact that creating diversity in professional sports is not enough by itself. True leadership is essential, and sports organizations with effective leadership in diversity and inclusion often make the difference. Through effective communication, support of participation, and expression of shared goals, better performance can be realized. These important leadership ingredients create a culture of respect and inclusion where diversity thrives. As evidenced by today’s diversity in professional sports leaders, these reflect the secrets for success both today and in the future.

In part 2 of the impact of diversity in professional sports, Bold Business will recognize the bold men and women who broke the diversity barrier in sports.

Dell Technologies: Reinventing the Technology Behemoth

Digital transformation has become the new mandate for almost every company nowadays. And it’s about more than just automation and mechanization. While technology is the driver and enabler for change, the executive decisions that strategically leverage advancements are what allow businesses to survive and thrive in a digital world. Michael Dell, founder, and CEO of Dell Technologies Inc. knows this all too well, having pushed his company to evolve into a forward-thinking enterprise. The bold moves made by Dell Technologies Inc. have involved a $25 billion privatization, a $67 billion mega-merger, and most recently, a bid to return to the public sector in a $22 billion buyout. Thanks to fearless yet meticulous tactics, the company that once struggled with declining sales has managed to remain as one of the strongest forces in technology today.

infographic about the dell technology merger with emc corp and its impact on the company’s legacy.

infographic about the dell technology merger with emc corp and its impact on the company’s legacy.

Michael Dell speaks at length about the impact of the fourth industrial revolution and Dell Technologies role in its future. Now the company is shifting paths again to focus on leading the industrial revolution by focusing on what is at its core – data.

“The Challenge is, how do you use the data in real-time to make a better product, a better service, a better outcome. Firms are really just beginning this, but it’s setting up the foundation for a kind of fourth industrial revolution,” according to Michael Dell.

Becoming a PC Industry Giant

The journey of Dell Technologies Inc. started with an idea to provide affordable personal computers to college students. Michael, who was just 19 at the time, launched his business in his dorm room at the University of Texas with only $1,000. The Dell computer company revolutionized the personal computer buying process by selling directly to the customer to avoid middleman markups. His company became one of the first online retailers that enabled customers to personalize and custom-order. In addition, Michael developed a system for mass production of individually made-to-order units. These innovations in manufacturing and distribution changed the IT industry forever.

The Dell computer company went public in 1988 and got listed in many of the most renowned trading indexes. For a long time, the company was the biggest online computer retailer, earning an average of $30 million in revenue a day. Michael also became the youngest CEO ever to earn a ranking on the Fortune 500 back in 1992. The Dell computer company became a household name in the tech space.

During the period of 2008 through 2011 Dell underwent a series of strategic acquisitions, led by David Johnson, to change the company into one that provided Best Value Solutions (Software and Services) while re-inventing its supply chain ecosystem. The company also placed more focus on the medium-sized business market as it also expanded its offerings in the public and enterprise spaces. Dell mergers and acquisitions during this time period included Perot Systems, SecureWorks, KACE Networks, Ocarina Networks, Scalent Systems, EqualLogic, Boomi, MessageOne, Exanet, Compellent Technologies, RNA Networks, and Force10 Networks.

Dell Technologies Inc CEO Michael Dell continues to push the boundaries of the industry.
Dell Technologies Inc. has helped the computing industry evolve while evolving itself.

Recognizing the Need to Evolve

In 2012, Dell Technologies Inc. found itself facing challenges that began to undercut the company’s business. Other innovators were reshaping the technology industry. Android smartphones and iPads were becoming the best-selling devices. The opportunity to sell servers amidst the increased demand for data centers was hindered. Why? Because customers like Google and Facebook had the ability to build their own equipment.

The Dell computer company's revenue has historically been in almost constant growth, though there were a few tough years.
Sustained growth is a tough nut to crack for any company, and Dell Technologies Inc. had a few rough years.

These and many other factors resulted in slumping sales, impacting its share price. In an already shrinking market for PCs, the company’s shares dropped to 10.7% that year. There was clearly a need for Dell to reinvent itself in an industry where PCs were no longer the biggest moneymakers and the enterprise business was shifting to more data, machine learning, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. Michael knew that big changes had to be made if his eponymous business was going to survive.

Bold Moves for Transformation

Despite opposition from some shareholders, Michael took the Dell computer company private in 2013 with the help of technology-focused private equity firm Silver Lake Partners. The $25 billion deal was the biggest management buyout at the time since the Great Recession. It gave Dell the space it needed to rethink and reposition itself for a future beyond computers. Prior to privatization, the company accumulated businesses and combined acquisitions that boosted profits and paid down billions in debt. Dell was on the road to investment grade status.

Then came one of the biggest steps in Dell’s turnaround plan. Dubbed as the largest deal in tech history, the company purchased virtualization software giant EMC in a $67 billion cash and stock merger. The acquisition added EMC, along with its VMWare business, to Dell’s own suite of offerings, including network servers. It cemented Dell Technologies Inc. as a major one-stop shop for hardware and software needed for business operations.

Dell Technologies Inc. survives and thrives on the basis of its data solutions fueled by dell mergers and acquisitions
Designing data solutions with agility and flexibility is the Dell computer company’s bread and butter.

On December 11, 2018, Dell Technologies Inc. won a shareholder vote to return to the public market. This is another transformative transaction for the Dell computer company after a nearly five-year absence in stock markets. “With this vote, we are simplifying Dell Technologies’ capital structure and aligning the interests of our investors,” Michael said in a statement. The company has a tangled corporate structure that holds together a tech empire ranging from servers to security software. The move will allow for greater flexibility to raise capital, boost value and pursue stock-based acquisitions.

Michael Dell is Driving Innovative Integration Fueled by Data

The Dell computer company has been making significant investments in boosting its capabilities in cutting-edge software and cloud assimilation. The company now has a lineup of servers, storage hardware, networking gear and a growing suite of software tools. Dell Technologies Inc. has been working towards closer integration between hardware and software. Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are also on the agenda. At the core of all of it is data.

Dell Technologies Inc. is a giant in the PC industry, and will remain so as long as it focuses on the data.
The Dell computer company has a handle on the future – and that future is data.

According to Michael, there is an explosion in the number of connected nodes and the massive amounts of data that are being created. Dell Technologies Inc. is building a lot of the engines and working with the companies that are creating the tools to be able to do that as society enters the fourth industrial revolution.

Dell Technologies: Stronger and Better Positioned in the Multi-Cloud and Customer-Centric World

As Dell Technologies relisted on the public market, it did so as a more diverse industry leader. Now that the company is financially stronger, it can focus on growing in a multi-cloud and data-intensive world.

“And as the amount of data continues to explode, it’s driving an acceleration in IT spending as IT departments face the dual priorities of investing in cloud-native applications for the future while also optimizing the traditional applications and infrastructure,” Michael stated. “Dell Technologies is well positioned to capture an out-sized portion of this spend given the breadth of our innovations across our entire family of businesses.”

Dell Technologies Inc. is a testament of how businesses can stand the test of time despite the odds. The enterprise was able to reinvent itself and was even able to leverage services that were once thought to spell its end. In the fast-paced, ever-changing world of technology, the future is uncertain. But we can expect that the Dell computer company will keep finding ways to adapt.

Karen Quintos Chief Customer Officer Dell Technologies Quote
Former CMO Karen Quintos knows well the impact of customer analytics and insights

The company is also poised to exploit a huge database of customer data that spans consumers, government clients, and businesses across the globe.  This data will be key as the company uses it to drive future revenue growth.

To read more about Dell Technologies and their leadership, check out this Bold Leader Spotlight on their General Counsel, Richard “Rich” Rothberg.

Bold Leader Spotlight: Rich Rothberg, General Counsel for Dell

Dell Technologies, Inc., has endured over three and a half decades of success. In today’s dynamic climate, especially in the consumer and enterprise technology sector, such success does not come easy. But for Dell, leadership throughout the company has accounted for this persistent level of excellence. Dell is known for producing high-quality leaders and Richard “Rich” Rothberg is absolutely one of the best General Counsel’s in business today. I was fortunate to work alongside him during my tenure with Dell and respected his ability to navigate the complex, fast-paced and evolving global environment of Dell.

As general counsel to Dell Technologies, Rothberg has served as a perfect role model for bold leadership. His embracing of diversity and inclusion, as well as his leading by example, have contributed to the company’s continued dominance in an intensely competitive industry. He has earned this week’s Bold Leader Spotlight.

a cartoon of Richard Rothberg, Dell general counsel, has helped guide the company through bold leadership.
For Dell Technologies Inc., Richard Rothberg has helped the company thrive. How did his bold leadership lead them to success?

Proven Leadership at Every Level

Rothberg joined the Dell leadership team in 1999 as Vice President of Legal for European, Middle Eastern, and African regions. But by that time, he was already proven to be a bold leader. He had previously served in leadership positions within private law firms and at IBM Credit Corporation. And he was the senior legal adviser for Caterpillar, Inc., prior to coming to Dell.

Since joining the Dell leadership team, Rothberg has advanced to the highest legal position within the company. In 2008, he took over as Vice President of Legal for the Asian-Pacific regions for Dell. And in 2010, Rothberg assumed the same position for North American and Latin American territories. Ultimately, this led him to his current Dell leadership position with responsibilities of complete legal department oversight.

In an era where diversity and inclusion are valued more and more, bold leader Richard Rothberg has kept Dell at the forefront.
Former Dell SVP Strategy David Johnson believes general counsel Richard Rothberg contributed greatly to the company’s success.

Bold Leadership with a Focus for Ethical Values

One quality that Rothberg brings to the Dell leadership team is strong ethical values. Throughout his career, Rothberg has aligned his actions, words and behaviors with ethical values he and the company support. In addition, Rothberg seeks to promote these same values in others, both within Dell and without.

In fact, Rothberg participates in Ethisphere Institute’s Global Ethics Summit to advance ethical business practices. As such, he routinely lectures about corporate integrity within today’s global business environments. In doing so, he seeks to progressively improve business cultures and leadership capacities throughout the world.

A Voice for Dell Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion Practices

In addition to bold ethical leadership, Rothberg is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. He has awarded members of Dell’s legal department diversity awards annually for excellence in this area. The criteria for the award require attention to diverse staffing, diverse leadership opportunities, use of diverse vendors, and inclusive attitudes. Through these efforts, Rothberg serves as a role model to others showing what bold leadership looks like.

This is not the only example of Rothberg’s bold leadership in this area. He has also provided the opening remarks at Dell’s women entrepreneur empowerment programs. In these programs, business leaders and policymakers are given data to encourage viable solutions to the barriers women entrepreneurs face. As part of the Dell leadership team, Rothberg hopes to improve conditions for women in business.

As part of Dell leadership, Richard Rothberg has steered the company on an ethical path.
For Richard Rothberg, bold leadership means service – and leading by example.

Richard Rothberg – A Bold Leader with a Broad Vision of Service

Bold leadership today recognizes the importance of service beyond activities related to business-related functions. Enhancing people’s lives by providing valued products and services and through community service are both important in this regard. As part of the Dell leadership initiatives, Rothberg is involved in promoting such activities. Since 2010, Rothberg personally awarded the annual Pro Bono and Community Involvement Awards to legal partners for Dell.

Throughout his tenure, Rothberg has promoted charitable services and “giving back” to communities. Areas that have been cited for award recipients have included legal services related to poverty law, asylum cases, and constitutional issues. In addition, awards have recognized the establishment of pro bono rural legal services. Through Rothberg’s bold leadership, Dell has been able to influence others to make a positive social impact as well.

a photo quote of Krish Gupta on the bold impact of Richard Rothberg
Senior Vice President Krish Gupta notes on the strong, balanced and calm leadership of Richard Rothberg

A Role Model for the Dell Leadership Team

Bold leadership demonstrates knowledge, vision, and insight, and at the same time, handles challenges and conflicts efficiently and effectively. Rothberg has certainly achieved these measurements of bold leadership. But he has done so with humility and a constant focus on a broad social mission and ethical values.

“Rich is steadfast in keeping teams moving forward, responds with unquestioned integrity, continues to make strategic decisions with clarity while encouraging, motivating and caring for the teams and thereby enabling them to focus on the task at hand,” according to Krish Gupta, Dell SVP of Litigation and Intellectual Property.

For Dell Technologies, Richard Rothberg is the type of bold leader who has helped the company thrive. In addition to his powerful guiding presence, he has served as a tremendous role model for future leaders. With Richard Rothberg as part of the Dell leadership team, the company’s future is certainly a bright one.

To read more about Dell Technologies Inc., check out this profile on the industry giant.

Building Green – Minimizing the Environmental Impact of Construction

Infrastructure is vital for the development of nations and it is because of this that the construction industry is ever-growing. Experts even estimate that by 2030, the global volume of construction output will grow by 85%. The rate translates to $15.5 trillion.  This news is great for construction companies. After all, more growth often means more business. The increase, however, comes at a price. The environmental impact of construction contributes to global warming. Construction projects emit large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane. Infrastructure developments cause pollution and produce waste. As the output of the construction industry multiplies, so can its damaging effects. How can businesses in the sector reduce the negative environmental impact of construction?

How Construction Harms the Environment

There are many societal impacts of construction. Methods, materials, and operations all contribute to the environmental impact of construction.  Construction projects worsen climate change. The sector accounts for 25 to 40 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions. Estimates suggest that emissions from commercial buildings can grow up to 1.8 percent in 2030. Mining projects extract minerals needed for construction materials. Companies then transport these materials to different parts of the world. Both processes burn up fossil fuels, and the combustion of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases.

One of the biggest environmental problems related to infrastructure development is energy use. The global buildings sector consumes around 36 percent of the world’s energy. According to the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Dr. Fatih Birol, we need to act as the industry is depleting much needed natural resources.

environmental impact of construction - Dr. Fatih Birol quoted
Construction companies should consider the impact they will make on the environment.

In addition, the environmental impact of construction can also affect wildlife. Roads in rainforests can cut off migration routes. Dams can divert water from freshwater habitats. Spills from oil platforms can kill marine organisms and leave the shoreline polluted.

Shifting Attitudes and Societal Change moving towards Sustainability through Green Construction Projects

Without a doubt, the environmental impact of construction is one of the biggest global societal issues today. Fortunately, the number of environmentally – conscious companies are growing.

More firms are requiring builders to design sustainable construction projects. Increased efficiency in energy systems has become one of the top priorities. There have been policy improvements when it comes to sourcing materials.

These strategies and practices aim to make the global construction sector greener.  Recent efforts have enabled emissions to stabilize over the past few years. Moreover, more construction companies have set emission reduction targets in place. There is indeed the great potential to further minimize the environmental impact of construction.

Despite the encouraging signs, Joyce Msuya, the Deputy Executive Director of UN Environment, says there’s more to be done.

environmental impact of construction - Joyce Msuya quoted
Doubling the effort with better and green construction practices to save the environment.

Addressing the Environmental Impact of Construction and its Impact on Society

Architects, engineers, and builders worldwide are adopting green practices in construction. Many firms even align their sustainability objectives with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. They take innovative measures to lower the environmental impact of construction projects. They come up with sustainable solutions with the help of technology. Such firms include some of the world’s biggest construction companies.

environmental impact of construction, logos of global construction companies doing construction projects
Global construction companies Bechtel, Vinci, and Skanska acknowledge how green practices can benefit them in the long run.

Bechtel, known for global construction projects, employs sustainability in its business strategy. The company has opened the Bechtel Mining & Metals Innovation Center in Chile. It’s one of Bechtel’s most recent efforts to lessen the environmental impact of construction. Through the center, the firm aims to promote environmental sustainability in mining projects. The initiative will also develop technological innovations that can decrease water and power consumption. Since 1898, the company has completed more than 25,000 projects across 160 countries.

Sweden-based firm Skanska has been aggressive in addressing the environmental impact of construction. The multinational construction and development company commits to being carbon-neutral by 2050. In addition, all of Skanska’s commercial buildings aim for a minimum LEED Gold certification. Notable projects include the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, MetLife Stadium and the Mater Dei Hospital, among others.

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Vinci, a 115-year-old construction giant from France, also prioritizes sustainability. It is clear that the company is committed to reducing the environmental impact of construction. The UN Global Compact guides the group’s sustainable development policy. The company also conducts greenhouse gas audits. It defines action plans to reduce emissions. In 2017, Vinci’s electronic toll lanes lowered carbon emissions by 71,390  metric tons. That same year, Vinci confirmed its leadership position in France regarding climate strategy. The firm operates in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Stronger Commitment to Green Construction

The idea that sustainability costs more is an outdated notion. Many business owners are fully aware that going green will benefit them in the long run. Firms who don’t consider the environmental impact of construction will face the consequences sooner or later.

Because of the abundance of technological advancements, the construction sector has a vast potential for improving efficiency. Businesses in the industry must continue to explore how to maximize such advancements. Doing so will not only lessen the environmental impact of construction projects, but it can also boost profits. It can also strengthen a company’s image as a champion of sustainability.

Innovations are essential in solving environmental problems related to infrastructure development. Michael Buehler, Head of Infrastructure and Urban Development at the World Economic Forum, sums it up Boldly in a statement, “By redefining the ultimate frontier, leapfrogging innovations in construction will finally help to address major societal challenges, from mass urbanization to climate change.”

environmental impact of construction, Michael Buehler quoted
The time is now to make changes in the field of construction.