Call For Applications for the 2021 Corporate Eminence Award
From its inception in early 2016, BEQ Pride has served as a platform to highlight, elevate and provoke conversations about business and economic empowerment, particularly in the LGBTQ+ community. Since then, we have featured individuals, small businesses, nonprofits and corporations that prioritize economic inclusion through the workplace, workforce, supply chain and community engagement.
In the fall of 2017, we conferred our first Corporate Eminence Award, a coveted designation of distinction for outstanding efforts to include the LGBTQ business community. We continued with annual recognition until the health and economic crisis brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic required us to cancel the 2020 awards.
As the events of 2020 unfolded, longstanding structural inequalities exacerbated disparities experienced in healthcare, education, food security and economic well-being for BIPOC and other historically disenfranchised communities.
While we pressed pause on this recognition, we watched and listened and participated in conversations with those facing economic hardships, witnessing chaos from the frontlines of a raging pandemic and suffering in isolation and fear. There was a collective reckoning with the dark side of our shared American history and structural inequalities that our simplistic approach celebrating Corporate Eminence could no longer shoulder.
Amid the tumult, we decided to reconsider how we define, identify and celebrate Eminence. It was time for our Corporate Eminence Award to evolve and lead. Questions and themes emerged:
- What does Eminence look like in the 21st century? In the decade to come?
- Should an eminent corporate leader be named as part of the Corporate Eminence Award?
- Are our efforts helping to dismantle racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, ageism, etc. in business? In the workplace? In supply chains? Can we measure this?
- Should details such as direct spend with diverse groups be widely shared? Should diverse spend progress year over year be tracked and shared?
- If companies are reporting 2nd tier spend by diverse groups, what incentives are in place to drive success? Are there any penalties for not reaching spend goals?
- What does any of this have to do with driving shared outcomes? Or, are today’s diversity tracking efforts taking place to drive quarterly/annual reporting to shareholders?
- Does Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the workplace, supply chain or marketplace impact the bottom line? Brand affinity? Purchasing decisions? Are we measuring this?
- What about the risk of miserably or marginally failing at DEI in the workplace, supply chain or marketplace? What are the consequences?
- Are we “squaring bricks” or “building a cathedral” with our DEI and supplier diversity efforts in corporate America? If you say “a cathedral”, is it for a thriving, growing or successful shared cause (or your cause)? Can we measure that?
- Finally, can we really speak truth to power? If not, why? Fear of retribution, isolation, ostracization or discomfort? Can we really meet our collective, shared objectives on our current course, at the current speed and given current circumstances? Are we engaging the right teams? Have we defined the correct problem? Is diversity spend the best (or a sufficient) metric?
BEQ has always been about the people animating the businesses, policies and programs intending to address structural inequalities and access to opportunity. Recognizing a corporate entity as Eminent — separate and independent of its owners, managers or employees — is devoid of the requisite incentive and accountability necessary for long-term, systemic change.
Moving forward we will be talking about the metrics and the results. Diversity is about the numbers and Inclusion is about making the numbers count.
Our conversations will not be confrontational, but instead we want to take a good hard look at what actually works and what doesn’t. We will redefine what business success looks like when Inclusion and Belonging are a priority.
Just as our country continues to undergo a profound shift, so will the BEQ Pride Corporate Eminence Award. Beginning in 2021, our Eminence Award will celebrate the eminent potential and eminent leaders within and behind inclusion and belonging efforts in business. We will prioritize impact and results over the status quo in hopes of advancing our shared interest in the common good. One could say these are lofty ideas, but we are in the arena and daring greatly.
We will be accepting applications for the 2021 BEQ Pride Eminence Award from February 1, 2021 through May 1, 2021.
Applications will be available at BusinessEqualityMagazine.com/Eminence2021Application