Spring is a good time to embrace change, both within us and outside us. Oscar Wilde, the 19th century English writer, said the only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes. The systems that fail, he said, are those that rely on the permanency of human nature, and not on its growth and development.
At The Network Journal, growth and development are key concerns � not only the growth and development of the magazine itself, but of the 50,000 or so of you who read the publication every month. Recently, we undertook to find out more about the nature of our readers in order to better respond to your information needs as you make choices about educating and empowering yourselves, and about entertaining yourselves. (We call this business of education, empowerment and entertainment our "Triple-E Mandate.") As a result, we decided to institute a few changes in the information we present to you and in the way we present. Beginning with this issue, TNJ articles will be grouped in distinct, recurring departments: Letters, News, Features, Finance, Career, Technology, Health & Fitness, Living.
Each month, the Features section will spotlight an industry as it impacts Black professionals and entrepreneurs, who constitute the bulk of our readership. This month we focused on the utilities industry, examining its initiatives to extend a greater share of its trillion-dollar pie to African American and other minority-owned businesses through supplier diversity initiatives. Our spotlight happens to coincide with a survey conducted by Diversity Best Practices, a Washington, D.C., firm, and Linkage Inc. of Boston, which have joined forces to be a premier resource for diversity education in business. Among its key findings, the survey of more than 500 corporations and organizations found that 80 percent of CEOs believe in a strong correlation between commitment to diversity and long-term success; 87 percent are developing and communicating a diversity vision; and 75 percent are establishing accountability for diversity across business lines at all levels.
In our own reporting, we found a similar embrace of diversity. We also confirmed that the nature of such affirmative action is hardly permanent. Supplier diversity is a work in progress, reflecting the prevailing business and social environment. Even the CEOs themselves, and the people they have appointed to run their initiatives, promise no more than a best effort at any given time. The fallout from the challenge to the admission policies of the University of Michigan and its law school is a vivid reminder of the impermanence of the environment that spawned and tolerated those policies in the first place.
We should not fear such changes. They provide an opportunity for internal growth and development, an opportunity to take creative steps that would render us far less vulnerable to their negative fallout. We should all be thinking about those steps as we view a changing America through its war against Iraq.
By Rosalind McLymont