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CEO of Best Buy, Corie Barry, Name Drops HBCU CONNECT In Discussion Around Diversity!

CEO of Best Buy, Corie Barry, Name Drops HBCU CONNECT In Discussion Around Diversity!
Posted By: Will Moss on September 16, 2020

We received a notification about our name showing up on the internet and it peaked our curiosity of course. The article was an interview with Best Buy CEO Corie Barry, one of a small list of female CEOs in Corporate America.

Barry was explaining Best Buy's accolades and efforts with regard to diversity and mentioned the company's consistent efforts in recruiting HBCU students and graduates in partnership with HBCU CONNECT.

Best Buy has been an employer of choice within the HBCU community for years, and has been recognized by HBCU CONNECT as one of the top 50 companies for HBCU students and graduates in our annual publication: https://hbcuconnect.com/top50

Here is an excerpt from the conversation..

Gary Shapiro:

So is one of the strengths of Best Buy or indeed the entire United States, our diversity?

Corie Barry:

I absolutely think it's a strength. I mean, I'll be honest with you, our work around diversity and inclusion started because we believe it's a business imperative. Every bit of work that's ever been done in the field would say more diverse teams deliver better outcomes, period. But I think in order to build that team, you have to be willing to have some tough conversations, to work differently, to make different decisions, to create different pathways. But I would say we believe strongly. This is not just you do it because it's good, you do it because it's also a business imperative, but then you have to commit to it and start the path and the work.

Gary Shapiro:

I totally agree with that. In fact, I've been advocating for almost 15 years now that diversity is the secret sauce in United States which propels our innovation above all other countries. We are the most heterogeneous society there is and we have also a cultural desire to do things better and to ask questions about how things can be done better. And we do better if we're diverse, because otherwise you just getting the same ideas when people are like you.

Corie Barry:

Yeah. I love that. I love that point of view and I think that's very much what we also fundamentally believe in. It's nice when you are a company like ours that has locations across the country and by your very nature, if you're willing to listen and willing to unleash people, you have representation that very much mirrors that diversity that you're talking about across the country.

Gary Shapiro:

So I'm going to come back to what I said earlier. Your corporate board is diverse. You are the youngest female CEO in a Fortune 100 company. Your board has 10 members. We counted six are women, and three are people of color. So is that part of who you are now in terms of propelling you forward in your focus on D&I and also doing better? And do you have goals on diversity for the coming five or 10 years?

Corie Barry:

Yeah. So as it relates to the board composition, I think all of us on the management team would say we are pushed to think differently and are given feedback that is incredibly thoughtful and much more diverse in its nature because we have such a diverse board. And it's diverse in all the ways you can run. It's wildly diverse in terms of experience, it's diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, background. I mean, it is diverse on all levels, which means... And it's a very supportive board for us.

Corie Barry:

So when we have conversations, they come from each of their own places of life experience and ask amazing questions. And then it also means so many of us and so many of our employees can look at our board and see themselves in roles like that someday. And I think that is also an amazing example for our employees. We have had a number of goals and I'm going to run through a little bit of a laundry list of some of the things we're doing. And I would only do that because I think this is something you need to work on from all angles, and you need to constantly iterate and change and talk about.

Corie Barry:

So from a recruitment standpoint, we've been very intentional about hiring in a diverse way. But also we know that recruitment starts young and so we've been focused on our Best Buy Teen Tech Centers. We just committed to 100 of them, and those are centers that are all over the US and they are aimed at more underprivileged areas and there are afterschool programs for starting in middle school, up through high school. Students to give them access to technology and technology they might not otherwise have, and to hopefully point them towards some stem careers.

Corie Barry:

And we're already seeing great results in terms of much higher likelihood to want to graduate, much higher likelihood to want to go to college. We also have a corporate work study program where we have internships and often mentorships that are through some of, especially our black employee resource group that helps bring some of those interns on and gives them visibility to what corporate life could look like.

Corie Barry:

We hold numerous on campus hiring events, and we really have been partnering closely with the historically black colleges and universities. And in fact, we were ranked number 11 on HBCU Connect's list of top 50 employers for HBCU students. And we funded a $2.5 million scholarship at the U of M here in Minnesota, to try to take first generation students from our Teen Tech Centers and get them into colleges, and then hopefully get them back into amazing companies here in Minnesota, hopefully Best Buy, but frankly any of these companies, because it creates such a virtuous cycle.

Corie Barry:

We have a robust mentorship program. I talked about the reverse mentorship program and we've been sponsoring about 40 of our employees to attend the Executive Leadership Conference which is aimed at giving high potential black leaders more visibility and put them on the path to become officers. The Juneteenth, the holiday this year and we gave every employee eight hours because we've made it a holiday close to the date, eight hours, anytime to go volunteer or protest or have their voice heard.

Corie Barry:

And we have shortened our hours already on election day to make sure everyone has a chance to vote and has their voice heard there. We post our numbers, meaning all of our diversity progress and all of our ESG reporting. So you can see just what our population looks like. And one of the most important things then I'll stop. We said out loud that we are creating a task force of a very cross functional, diverse, multiple level group of people at Best Buy who can help teach us and help propose what we think the next round of commitments should be at Best Buy.

For the full interview visit https://cta.tech/Resources/Articles/2020/M...

To apply for jobs with Best Buy visit:
https://hbcuconnect.com/jobs/bestbuy
If you enjoyed this article, Join HBCU CONNECT today for similar content and opportunities via email!
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