; The Personal Connection
to us that
am now the
head of our
VISCONTI Why do you think it’s important for you personally to be involved in
your diversity efforts?
STUMPF If not me, who? If this is so important, why delegate it? I think my primary job here is to be the keeper and the advocate of the culture. There are
280,000 of us who go to work every morning. We get up, take a shower—well,
hopefully take a shower—and go to work … How do we know how our role makes
a difference that day? We don’t walk around with manuals and policies and
books. We know what to do because of our culture. Culture is so undervalued
in business today. The two big things are culture and recognition. Culture is the
bond that makes us different from other companies.
Customers know culture. You walk into some place and sometimes you think,
“What an awful place.” The person behind the counter doesn’t like what they’re
doing. You can’t wait to get out of there. Then you walk into another store and
people are having fun and they’re engaged and they look you in the eye. You say,
“Man! I want to be here.” Happy customers are a result of happy team members.
So that’s why I think culture and diversity effort are at the core of our culture.
Inclusiveness. Respect. Trust. A shoulder to lean on once in a while. Everybody
moving in the same direction. These are powerful concepts that are hugely
undervalued in business.
VISCONTI You have a personal story about diversity. Do you want to talk
STUMPF I’m one of 11 children on our family farm. I grew up in a small town in
central Minnesota. We were all white. We all were the same religion. We were
all from the same ethnic background. I didn’t meet a non-German Catholic until
I went to college. That was a big deal. I then had a chance to move our family to
San Antonio, Texas, which we just loved.
In San Antonio, two-thirds of the population was Latino. I learned what it was
like not to have the unearned advantage of the majority. The schools we went
to were largely Latino. It was a powerful example for our family to learn another culture. If you go full-circle back
to my hometown today, it has
changed, and it’s largely because
of the wonderful brothers and
sisters I have. Today, I have 33
nieces and nephews on my side
of the family. And of those 33,
11 are adopted. Five are African
American and three are Latino.
I’ve had the personal experience
to have teaching moments. But
teaching moments are so much
more powerful if they’re preceded by understanding months
and trying years. These children have opened the eyes of our family and have
enriched our experiences and have helped us become a better family.
If it could do that for a large family in a small community, think what it can do
for corporations. I