senior sponsor who is involved, and from a business
point of view, these are just uses of resources. We
have to make sure we are using our resources wisely,
that there is a business and an awareness focus.
Dunnigan: Ford’s approach to the scope creep, because there is almost an endless number of religions,
is to have one organization that is interfaith. The
company is fully supportive of it—but it must be
welcoming to all.
TOP 50 BEST PRACTICE:
DON’T BE AFRAID OF RELIGIOUS GROUPS
Frankel: We invited American Express and Ford to this
because you are the two most successful companies in
Khadija: I received a complaint a couple of weeks ago
where a person said it took him a year to try to establish an Islamic-network group [and] he was fired after
they decided they were showing … a video [on the web
site] as to why we choose Jesus Christ as our savior as
opposed to Islam or Buddhism.
Wolfe: That would never be tolerated in a company
like American Express. You could never use your
network to the disadvantage of another one.
You look at a company like American Express
that has 65,000 people, you look at the other companies on your [Top 50]—you can’t control people.
You can give them all the right kinds of senior
leadership and all the right kind of corporate
culture, and there will be individuals who will find
From left: Luke Visconti, Gilbert F. Casellas, Rev. Ron Page
the country with religious-employee networks. Why
are so many other companies so afraid?
Wolfe: There are a lot of really great companies that
don’t want to go into this issue. They feel like the separation of church and state is such that they think they
should keep religion out of the workplace. To some
degree that is because a lot of people have not kept
pace with the implications of diversity.
this problematic and offices that will have less
diverse communities. If you have a culture that
embraces this, if you have training, a no-tolerance
policy, and good leaders who are heads of your networks, there is a greater likelihood that this will work
In the realm of diversity issues, this is the mother
of all complexity in its kind of dimensions ... This to us
is a business issue, and we have to get it right.