The Kenan Institute stands with the countless number of protestors working peacefully to eradicate systemic racism in the United States and globally. We join their calls for substantial reform in law enforcement and criminal justice—while recognizing that all sectors of our society must bear responsibility for re-examining the ways in which each has created, upheld and benefited from pervasive historical inequities.
We are committing ourselves to this effort, and are looking inward first. Fundamentally, we acknowledge that we currently lack the necessary understanding of the intricate ways in which structural racism has, and continues to, affect our employees, partners and work. We commit to educating ourselves about these effects and to using that knowledge to take necessary action. We pledge to re-examine our research agenda, committing resources to explore how we, as a society, got to where we are today—and where we might go from here. And recognizing ignorance as the root of prejudice and injustice, we commit on an individual and organizational level to daily making ourselves more aware of the causes and effects of systemic racism in business and the economy—and to proactively sharing our learnings with the public.
Specific steps we’ll be taking in the immediate term include:
We know that our research and that of our partners has the power to dispel myths perpetuating racist beliefs and actions, and holds the promise of providing solutions for promoting the fair and equitable treatment of all people. That’s why the Kenan Institute pledges to work with its stakeholders, from students and business executives to policymakers and community leaders, to better understand systemic racism so we can collaboratively work toward its dismantling and elimination.
This work is neither separate from, nor additional to, our mission; rather, it marks an essential and long overdue step in our efforts to leverage the private sector for the good of people and communities here in North Carolina, across the United States and around the world.
We embrace a broad definition of diversity* and recognize that diverse and equitable participation at all levels of our work is core to advancing the Kenan Institute’s mission of generating solutions to vital economic issues and stimulating economic prosperity in North Carolina and beyond. We are committed to creating a culture of empathy, compassion and authenticity that enables all people to feel heard, empowered, valued and welcomed to bring their whole selves to the workplace.
* diversity – Our definition of diversity includes race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic circumstance, national origin, geographic background, immigration status, ability and disability, physical characteristics, veteran status, political ideology, religious belief and age. We further celebrate a diversity of thought: ideas, perspectives and values.
Join UNC and 100 Black Angels & Allies for an evening of fun, connection and learning. If you have been reading about the full Black Technology Ecosystem Investors (BTEI) Certificate Program and are curious about whether it’s right for you, this is an event you won’t want to miss! You will hear from both practiced investors and everyday people who want to steer their investment towards Black-founded companies and venture funds. We’ll take a deeper look at what topics are included in the BTEI course, what a typical session might look like and what becoming BTEI certified might mean for you personally.
Join UNC and OHUB for an evening of fun, connection and learning. If you have been reading about the full DEI Solutions (DEIS) Certificate Program and are curious about whether it’s right for you, this is an event you won’t want to miss! Hear from top leaders who are skilled at incorporating DEI solutions in their companies and learn about a helpful framework to support those efforts.
While the COVID-19 pandemic was devastating for many, research shows its impact was not felt equally. Black Americans experienced disproportionate health and economic ramifications, which compounded the financial, social and psychological strain many felt pre-pandemic, and have contributed to growing inter-generational wealth disparities. In today’s Kenan Insight, our experts explore whether the multi-trillion dollar “Build Back Better” plan proposed by the Biden administration holds the potential to begin closing pervasive gaps in American society.
We measure and calibrate the racial/ethnic densities (RAEDs) of executives in US public companies. We show that the magnitudes of underrepresentation for Blacks and Hispanics and overrepresentation for Whites are 10+ times larger when executive RAEDS are calibrated against the US population than when calibrated against an economic benchmark that reflects the demand for and supply of proto-executive talent. We conclude that at least 90% of the underrepresentation of Black and Hispanic executives in US public companies comes from factors in effect before US public companies hire proto-executive talent rather than actions taken by companies after such talent is hired.
In a series of influential studies, McKinsey (2015, 2018, 2020) report a statistically significant positive relation between the industry-adjusted EBIT margin of global samples of large public firms and the racial/ethnic diversity of their executives. However, when we revisit McKinsey’s tests using recent data for US S&P 500® firms, we find statistically insignificant relations between McKinsey’s inverse normalized Herfindahl-Hirschman measures of executive racial/ethnic diversity and not only industry-adjusted EBIT margin, but also industry-adjusted sales growth, gross margin, ROA, ROE, and TSR. Our results suggest that despite the imprimatur often given to McKinsey’s (2015, 2018, 2020) studies, caution is warranted in relying on their findings to support the view that US publicly traded firms can deliver improved financial performance if they increase the racial/ethnic diversity of their executives.
Much has been written about the disproportionate number of women who have suffered pandemic-related job losses during COVID-19, but a related consequence has not been as well explored: the serious disruption of women’s careers, particularly in fields in which “path dependence” matters for success. In this Kenan Insight, we examine this more subtle asymmetry in the pandemic’s impact as indicative of far broader issues for women’s advancement in the workplace.
On Thursday, April 29, Lyft Chief Policy Officer and Advisor to the Co-founders Anthony Foxx joined UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Dean Doug Shackelford for an exclusive virtual discussion. Foxx discussed his career as the secretary of transportation under President Obama and as the mayor of Charlotte, the innovative technologies transforming transportation and how we can transition to a greener economy.
Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellision shared the company's approach to diversity, equity and inclusion following this past summer’s social unrest. In this conversation-style format, Mr. Ellison gave a brief overview of Lowe’s anti-racism statement and reviewed specific actions the company has taken to combat racism and inequality. He shared insights on his hands-on leadership approach and how it impacts his relationships with employees and his success at Lowe’s.
In a recent UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School profile, Dr. Jim Johnson, director of the Kenan Institute-affiliated Urban Investment Strategies Center, talks about his journey to fulfill his mission to make a difference in young lives.
CREATE Executive Director Mark Little and Institute of African American Research Director Karla Slocum have been honored with a UNC Office of the Provost Engaged Scholarship Award for their partnership as co-chairs of Black Communities: A Conference for Collaboration
Kenan Institute Senior Fellow Mary Moore Hamrick, CEO of Political Quotient Advisors, outlines the major “buckets” of President Biden’s proposed $3 trillion infrastructure bill.