In a new effort to help champion diversity at the corporate leadership level, Black executives from 26 different leading companies have joined together to form the Black Executive CMO Alliance (BECA).
In a statement announcing the formation of the Alliance, BECA’s founder Jerri DeVard said “The vision for BECA was inspired by my own journey as a Black global marketing executive. Many of our founding members, like me, have worked incredibly hard throughout their careers to achieve positions of leadership and quickly realized that ‘few others look like them’ and have experienced the discontentment of being the ‘lonely only’ at the top. I created this Alliance of Black marketing executives because it didn’t exist and is so desperately needed. BECA will challenge the corporate diversity gap and change the census by mentoring and building the pipeline of talented Black executives who will follow in our footsteps.”
The initial membership of BECA includes Black executives from 3M, Nationwide Insurance, Adidas, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video & Studios, NielsenIQ, Amway, Peloton, PetSmart, Prudential Financial, GroupM, UPS, Unilever, Logitech, Viacom CBS-BET, Mars Wrigley NA, Vice Media, Merrell and others.
Kimberly Wilson of Essence has reported that “the founding members of BECA pledge to be catalysts for change by addressing inequities while developing tangible actions to better prepare, support and cultivate Black marketing talent. This includes mentorship programs, first-hand executive exposure and coaching, career-pathing and identifying skill opportunities to grow the Black marketing leadership talent pool.”
The newly formed group will have plenty of work to do. Wilson also pointed out that “according to a 2019 study by Coqual (formerly the Center for Talent Innovation) in New York City, Black employees account for only 3.2% of senior leadership roles at large corporations, a statistic also consistent with the 2020 diversity report from the Association of National Advertisers.”
“Black representation at corporations is still largely non-existent,” Wilson added. “Less than 1% of all Fortune 500 CEOs are Black, [only] 3.2% of executives and senior manager-level employees are Black, and nearly 60% of all Black executives have said that they experienced racism on the job.”
“It’s a privilege to be among the founding members of BECA,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, Unilever’s Chief Operating Officer. “BECA is a powerful opportunity to use our collective scale to show the next generation what’s possible and to pay it forward as passionate champions of diversity at the corporate leadership level.”