ULLMAN The best way to articulate how we think about it is that
I’d want to take a look at the top
leadership team, middle management as well as all their associates,
and make sure that they mirror
the customer segment that we’re
dealing with. The best way to do
that is to make sure at all levels that
we pay attention to this. You have
to have a pipeline of talent that’s
diverse to be able to grow the talent
within the organization. To do it
properly, it takes time. I mean, you
can’t really just parachute people
in at different levels and have them
be successful. So the best way to
organically grow a diverse organization is to allow opportunities
at every level. That means in the
recruitment phase that we have
people that understand how to
recruit. Those of us in the leadership roles are on the campuses.
We’ve got to encourage people
to come join us because they’re
going to be comfortable here. It’s
a place they can thrive. They have
to see people of color thriving in
the company. You can’t just say
it’s something we want to do. The
council is just a visual articulation
of what hopefully goes on every day
at the company.
Ullman accepting the DiversityInc award for Diversity-Management Progress from Barbara Frankel, senior vice president and executive ditor of DiversityInc.
“People watch what you do, not what you say. So to the extent that I think it’s important
and I’m involved, they realize it’s something
they may consider important as well.”
what the opportunity is and let
them do it their way. Ron [Johnson]
has enormous capacity for that.
He’s a people person. He’s got a
great track record at Target as well
as Apple, and I think he’ll embrace
diversity as much as anybody.
FRANKEL You are retiring in
November. What would you say are
the next steps, past that, in diversity management for JCPenney?
evolution will continue. As people
get success in an organization, it
kind of builds on itself. People see
people who have done very well,
that we celebrate that. We don’t try
to impose some kind of artificial
guideline of what should happen.
We’d rather be lifted up by the
organization, so I expect that to
FRANKEL What is next for you
after November? What are you
VISCONTI What would you like
your legacy to be?
ULLMAN I think we’re on a good
trajectory, but we have a long way
to go. While we’ve made great
strides, the people who are most
excited about it really see a different future. You want to look at
the young generation, the X’s and
Y’s; they’re about a 1-to- 1 ratio of
diverse population and non-diverse
population in the United States.
So those are our future customers
and our current customers. The
ULLMAN That my successor is
more successful than I am. We
recruited a fabulous leader. We
worked hard to do that. My first
introduction to him was two years
ago, so it’s been a journey, but
getting the right leaders is extraordinarily important. It’s the responsibility of a leader as they move
on, as they retire, to be sure not to
tell them how to do it, but to show
For information on DiversityInc’s events, visit
ULLMAN I’m still the deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank
district here in Dallas. I’ve got
Mercy Ships International, which I
chair and have for the last 15 years.
We’re working mostly in West
Africa with people that have enormous challenges. I think we did
59,000 surgeries last year in West
Africa as a volunteer organization.
I’m still lead director of Starbucks.
So I’ve got a few things going on.
FIRST Robotics is another board
that I serve on. I have six children
and five grandchildren, so I’ve got
plenty to keep me distracted. I