20 Bay Area companies pledge to advance diversity in exec roles

20 Bay Area companies signed the "25x25 Pledge", promising that 25% of leadership will be persons of color or women by 2025. An alternative pledge was that companies must increase the ranks of these individuals by at least 25% in the same time frame.

Video Transcript

- Race and social justice is one of the key pillars of Building a Better Bay Area. Nearly two dozen Bay Area companies signed a pledge today to hire more people of color and women for leadership positions. ABC7 News reporter, David Louie, shows us who's on board and what they'll need to do to make good on their promise.

DAVID LOUIE: It was an ambitious challenge, introduced a month ago. Today, 20 Bay Area companies have signed a 25 by 25 pledge. That means 25% of its leadership will be persons of color or women by 2025 or that the ranks of these individuals will increase by at least 25% during the same time frame.

AHMAD THOMAS: The beauty of Silicon Valley's unique mindset is that once we do identify a static system that's no longer scaling, we start to fundamentally disrupt it.

DAVID LOUIE: The Silicon Valley Leadership Group started the initiative to bring race and social justice from the streets to the corporate suites. Well-known companies, educational institutions, and the 49ers make up the inaugural group, which is expected to expand. The Bay Area Council has joined as a partner.

During a kickoff diversity summit, thought leaders said companies need to look beyond the numbers.

ROBIN ELY: You really can't extract the benefits of diversity unless all employees are full participants in the enterprise. They need to be fully seen. They need to have a voice. They need to be recognized.

DAVID LOUIE: Where will they find diverse candidates? The search will need to go beyond the Bay Area.

ROGER CROCKETT: We have to be willing to go to Atlanta, to Washington, DC, to New York, to et cetera, et cetera to find this talent because it's there.

DAVID LOUIE: The Robert Half search firm says almost a third of Bay Area hiring managers already are recruiting nationwide. The 25 by 25 pledge may also create opportunities for existing employees with potential to move up.

IRENEO MENDOZA: If they only have three years of experience, and you were looking for ideally seven, eight years, and-- you might give that person an opportunity. So you can hire from within.

DAVID LOUIE: Performance will be measured by making progress transparent.

David Louie, ABC7 News.