Execs must address Charlottesville, race: United Airlines diversity chief – Transportation News

on Aug18

17 August 2017 | 7:11 pm

If you’re a CEO, expect to have to have conversations about Charlottesville, even if you’re not on a presidential advisory council.

“I would encourage any organization that fully embraces diversity and inclusion to prepare yourself to have conversations with your employees because the emotional impact of this runs very, very deep. An leader should be ready to have these conversations,” Greg Jones, chief diversity officer at United Airlines told an Executives’ Club of Chicago lunch today. “There are no solutions that we have so make yourself available for these conversations.”

Jones was the featured speaker for a diversity and inclusion event scheduled months ago. But the conversation before a packed house at the Mid-America Club in the Aon Center, took on particular relevance and heightened interest amid continuing controversy after a woman was killed following a white supremacist rally over the weekend at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and President Donald Trump’s repeated defense of Confederate symbols.

He gave voice to what many in the audience seemed to be thinking in explaining why corporate diversity programs are still necessary. “We look at this past week and ask: This is 2017? Really?’ “

Jones also addressed another hot topic: United’s own headlines earlier this year after an Asian-American passenger was dragged from an airplane at O’Hare International Airport. “United had some hiccups over the course of this year. United is working through all of its lessons and will be a better organization on Dec. 31 than it was on Jan. 1.”

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