BY YOJI COLE & AYSHA HUSSAIN / © 2007 DiversityInc
R. Fenimore Fisher
Senior Director of Employment Analysis, Wal-Mart Stores
For several years, R. Fenimore Fisher
worked in the civil-rights arena, meticulously scrutinizing the employment practices of
Fortune 500 corporations. He clearly saw
potential for real diversity leadership at the
top of that list when he joined Wal-Mart
Stores as director of diversity relations in
2004. In June 2006, Fisher was promoted
to senior director of employment analysis.
In this role, Fisher is utilizing his unique
mix of business acumen, civil-rights connections and community involvement to motivate diversity awareness among executives at the world’s largest
retailer, which is No. 41 on The 2007 DiversityInc Top
50 Companies for Diversity® list.
Fisher has responsibility for Wal-Mart’s employment
data analysis and serves as liaison to the company’s external employment-practices panel. He expects to expand
into employment-data analysis and further develop the
diversity department’s role within Wal-Mart.
“When you look at how different offices
of diversity in companies are taking strong
internal strategic approaches with a heavy
focus on identifying best practices that
ensure equity for all employees—I feel this
is a step in that direction,” says Fisher, who
directed Rainbow/PUSH’s Wall Street
Project prior to joining Wal-Mart.
As liaison to Wal-Mart’s employment-
practices advisory panel, Fisher will be
afforded regular access to the company’s senior leaders.
“Our [external advisory] panel is directly tied to the
board of directors and our executive committee, and
they meet regularly with the CEO,” says Fisher.
“I view [accomplishments] not in terms of what I’ve
accomplished but what our associates in the field
accomplish and how they incorporate diversity in the
field,” says Fisher.
Staff Vice President of Diversity Leadership, WellPoint
Born and raised in a low-income, predominantly Latino neighborhood in San
Antonio, Linda Jimenez could have been
just another statistic. But excuses were
never acceptable in her family. Not from
her mother, nor her father, one of the first
Latinos from San Antonio to graduate from
pilot school. Jimenez never considered letting her modest beginnings prevent her
from graduating from the University of
Texas Law School or from becoming staff
vice president of diversity leadership at WellPoint.
Her life has largely been defined by overcoming
obstacles, both personal and professional. Recently,
Jimenez and her two older brothers learned their mother had been diagnosed with cancer as well as
Alzheimer’s disease. Her father was also suffering from
Alzheimer’s. Because of her domestic situation, Jimenez
felt obligated to put family before career.
“One of my greatest challenges has
always been time and work/life manage-
ment. I really felt I could not contribute to
the business side, and my priorities at this
time rest with my parents,” she says.
Jimenez practiced law for a time at USAA
Insurance and with the H-E-B Grocery
Company, one of the nation’s largest inde-
pendently owned food retailers with stores
throughout Texas and Mexico. Ultimately, she
opened her own consulting firm, Diversity &
People Dynamics, before joining WellPoint in March.
Jimenez is responsible for diversity-management strategies
and programs nationwide, including providing strategic
guidance around talent management and acquisition.
For a woman discouraged from speaking Spanish as a
child for fear it would hinder her opportunities, under-
standing everyone’s diversity is crucial. She feels it’s her
duty to try to “move the mark” every day. DI