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Bringing women and people of color into an organization means also respecting them for their skills and encouraging their potential. I hate to go retro with the word “programs,” but that was a big part of the success of many people like me in the 1980s and ‘90s. There were many opportunities to get training, be put into management tracks, and receive mentoring. Of course, there has to be a commitment from upper management to make this happen. There needs to be a direct correlation between those who get into these programs and mentoring to make sure participants are supported as they rise through the ranks. Also, there needs to be incentives to address retention of leadership program participants so they don’t take their new skills elsewhere. The only way to foster successful diversity is to include meaningful diversity at all levels. Consider appointing mentors to women who express an interest in moving up. In some cases, mentors will not be other women and that’s okay as long as the chosen mentors are committed to the end result of the relationship—helping mentees chart a path up the ranks.

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