Hearst hired Debi Chirichella to replace Troy Young as head of magazines. Given the media company’s underlying audiences it serves, it made sense to go with the best person for the role which in this case was a Hearst veteran who happened to be a woman. But in light of the recent findings on the environment many complained about, the company needed to bring in someone who would also reassure the employees. Of course, having a woman in senior roles isn’t a guarantee that the culture of an organization is more friendly to women let alone people of color. But it helps, especially early on when a leader needs to win over the would-be critics.
I think companies that end up promoting women tend to be better at training, are more likely to invest in development and will over time demonstrate more empathy, which over time creates a better culture. A mistake many organizations do when hiring women and people of color is not to actually then ensure they succeed.
This is something we touched in this episode of Context is King last year.