5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: February 9

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience.

1. S&P 500 Companies Add More Black Women to Corporate Boards

Large public companies are adding more Black women to their corporate boards.

According to the Wall Street Journal, S&P 500 companies added 46 Black women as new directors out of the 395 directors appointed in total between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022, and more companies continued to appoint Black women throughout last year.

Abbott (No. 3 on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) is one company that appointed a Black woman to its board of directors. Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, was appointed to the company’s board of directors in September 2022. She also served in various positions at Walmart (No. 26 on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s 2022 Top 50 list) from 2004 to 2017, most recently serving as Executive Vice President and Global Treasurer of the company. 

According to Abbott’s board of directors page, “Babineaux-Fontenot provides Abbott’s Board with substantial experience in organizational governance, strategic planning, and supply chain and infrastructure management.”

2. Cigna’s Mike Triplett on Achieving Corporate Success

For Mike Triplett, President of U.S. Commercial Business at Cigna (No. 24 on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list), corporate success is more like crossing a bridge than climbing a ladder. 

On a recent segment of the Don Yaeger podcast, Triplett said he takes people who have contributed to his achievements across the corporate success bridge and has crossed many bridges on his way to Cigna’s President of U.S. Commercial Business. 

“My college coach once said that as a manager, you always want to build a bridge,” he said (Triplett played football for South Carolina State). “That means as you are moving along in an organization, you are walking across that bridge. You want to make sure that the people who are working with you and for you are crossing that bridge with you. You want to have a full bridge because, if it’s empty and you’re standing on the other side all by yourself, it’s only been about you. It hasn’t been about the team.”

As a leader, it is your responsibility to mentor and sponsor others to help them advance in their career alongside you, Triplett added. 

3. Representation of Black Women at the Super Bowl

The representation of Black women in jobs predominately occupied by men is increasing slightly at the Super Bowl this year.

Nicole Lynn is set to become the first Black female agent to represent a quarterback in the Super Bowl, where she will be representing Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles. Lynn was also the first Black woman to represent a player in the NFL at the draft in 2019 where she represented Quinnen Williams. 

Autumn Lockwood will also make history as the first Black woman to coach in a Super Bowl and the fourth woman to ever coach in the championship game. Lockwood is an assistant coach for the Eagles and joined the team in August 2022. 

To learn more about strides women have made in the world of sports, subscribe to Fair360 Enterprise to download our 2023 Women’s History Month Meeting in a Box

4. Debate Around the Term “Latinx” Continues

Over the years, there’s been a lot of debate over the use of the term “Latinx,” which was introduced to provide a gender-neutral term to describe people of Hispanic or Latino descent. In 2023, the debate continues. 

In Connecticut, a group of Latino lawmakers is trying to ban the use of Latinx in government documents, citing that it is offensive to people who speak Spanish. 

A 2020 poll from Pew Research Center showed that only 23% of adults who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino in the U.S. have heard of the term Latinx and only 3% said they use the term when describing themselves. 

While some have not heard of or used the term, there are people who understand how the word could be useful. Cindy Hernandez, a student at Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury, Connecticut, heard the word used for the first time in a class recently, she told NBC News. 

While she identifies as Latina, she said using the term Latinx is “a perfect way to kind of include other people.”

Subscribe to Fair360 Enterprise to read “The Debate Around the Term Latinx.”

5. Lack of Diversity Causes Black Fashion Designer to Quit Milan Fashion Week

Haitian Italian designer Stella Jean returned to Milan Fashion Week in September of 2022 after taking a two-year hiatus but ended up pulling out of the event because of the lack of diversity and inclusion in Italy’s fashion councils. Jean is the only council member who is Black.

Jean has been fighting for younger designers of color to be included in Milan Fashion Week for decades, even sending a letter to the organization that pulls together Milan shows, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, with a proposal outlining ways to hold the fashion industry accountable. The letter suggested being transparent about the number of employees working in Italian fashion houses who are Black. 

According to The Cut, Jean said: “I don’t want to be the only one anymore. But it’s not about boycotting. It’s about asking for change.”

The designer is also on a hunger strike to “raise awareness of her peers who are part of We Are Made in Italy, an initiative launched in 2020 with the hopes of being the answer to the lack of BIPOC designers in Italian fashion,” The Cut wrote.