Pratt Wiley is the CEO of the Partnership, a 35 year old organization whose mission is to provide leadership development for professionals and executives of color across every stage of a professional’s career life cycle. In this episode we will hear about the incredibly impactful work The Partnership has done, and continues to do, to change the lives of many talented people – and the communities in which we live.
We love our listeners! Drop us a line or give us guest suggestions here.
The Partnership provides leadership development for professionals and executives of color across every stage of a professional’s career life cycle.
We work with companies and organizations to help craft and influence corporate culture, which is what we believe is truly the most important competitive advantage that an organization can have.
We focus on what we call community – – being very intentional creating relationships of peers and mentors and sponsors and advocates, who are important for both professional advancement as well as personal fulfillment.
BoardLink started with nonprofits knocking on our door asking us if we had any board candidates that we could share with them. They were looking to diversify their board, but they weren’t sufficiently connected to networks to be able to identify and recruit diverse talent themselves, and so that’s what BoardLink is.
It is taking these networks of incredibly talented and accomplished executives of color and connecting them with organizations, nonprofits and for-profits that are looking for great board candidates and especially those who are people of color.
The Partnership was formed in 1987, since then 35 years of programs and 6,500 alumni who have gone through those programs, and you’d be hard pressed to find a prominent leader of color in Massachusetts – in a lot of corporate spaces – who aren’t either a graduate of our program or one of the folks who helped create it in the first place.
There are a number of ways that we measure impact. The easiest to measure – probably one end of the spectrum – is retention and advancement.
We don’t want to look at these programs as golden handcuffs, and so our folks advancing professionally is another piece of data that we look at, and we have similar numbers there.
Our alumni are CEOs and Chief Justices. They’re entrepreneurs. They’re leading Fortune 100 companies. They are leaders in healthcare and consumer products and financial services
To an extent the real value of an organization like The Partnership, that thing that we can provide that no one else provides, is this safe space that can serve as a safety net for so many of our participants that both catches you when you fall, but even more so encourages you to take greater risks knowing that there is that support system behind you.
My mother took over The Partnership after it had been in existence for about three or four years. There had not been a proof of concept in terms of, is this an economically viable organization. It was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was a moment not too dissimilar from this one where you had corporate leaders who were saying, “You know, we’ve tried this for a couple of years, and now it’s time for us to move on to something else.”
My sister and I still remember that it might not have been her first day, but it was one of her first days. She picked us up from school and then we went back to the office, and I started unpacking boxes and putting files away in the cabinet and I joked that The Partnership really was built on child labor for a number of years.
When I moved back to Boston I had this weird existence where not a week would go by where someone wouldn’t stop me on the street and say, “I went through The Partnership when your mom was running it, and it changed my life.”
“I was at this crossroads in my career and your mom had coffee with me and she helped me see the direction that I should take.”
“I had gone through a major setback and your mom, or my dad as well, they were the ones who picked up the phone and called so-and-so and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a great candidate for you.'”
Impact of the Pandemic
Prior to the pandemic, the first 30-plus years of our existence, our programs were always in a physical location. By the time I took over, we would be hosted by many of our client companies. Starting in 2020, we could no longer do that, and so everything moved onto Zoom – – and I had never heard of Zoom before.
I sent an email to my board letting them know that we were going to be working remotely for the next couple of weeks as the pandemic sort of runs its course. One of my board members is Tsedal Neeley, a professor at Harvard Business School, and one of her areas of expertise is remote work.
She called me up and she’s like, “Look, I am getting phone calls around the clock from executives who are trying to figure out how to do remote work. I’ve got two minutes for you,” and her advice was, “Meet people where they are. Dogs are going to bark, doorbells are going to ring, kids are going to scream at the worst time, just meet people where they are. Find a space where you can focus and where you can turn on and turn off, and then lastly, that the further we are, the closer we need to be. We really do need to focus on people.”
Pushback on DEI
In the private sector, we are seeing challenges to ESG plans in general and ESG investing in particular. There’s a concerted effort – within The Partnership we call it the new DEI of divide and exclude and isolate.
Joe: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to On Boards, a deep dive at what drives business success. I’m Joe Ayoub and I’m here with my co-host, Raza Shaikh. Twice a month, On Boards is the place to learn about one of the most critically important aspects of any company or organization- its board of directors or advisors, including the important issues that are facing boards, company leadership, and stakeholders.
Raza: Joe and I speak with a wide range of guests and talk about what makes a board successful or unsuccessful, what it means to be an effective board member, and how to make your board one of the most valuable assets of your organization.
Joe: Our guest today is Pratt Wiley. Pratt is the President and CEO of The Partnership, New England’s premier organization dedicated to enhancing the competitiveness of the region by attracting, developing and retaining multicultural [00:01:00] professionals.
Raza: Pratt served as the National Director of Voter Expansion for the Democratic National Committee and served as the National Regional Voter Protection Coordinator for Obama for America in 2012.
Joe: Prior to joining President Obama’s campaign, Pratt was a corporate attorney at Nutter McClennen & Fish in Boston, representing a wide range of public and private sector clients in mergers and acquisitions, venture finance and tax-exempt bond issue and importantly, Pratt and I had the pleasure of working together for a few years in my former life and in his, so welcome Pratt. It’s great to have you here joining us for On Boards today.
Pratt: It’s a real pleasure.
Joe: Pratt, let’s start off with an overview of The Partnership, what is the partnership, and on a big picture, what does it do?
Pratt: At its most simple, the Partnership provides leadership [00:02:00] development for professionals and executives of color across every stage of a professional’s career life cycle. We work with companies and organizations to help craft and influence corporate culture, which is what we believe is truly the most important competitive advantage that an organization can have.
Then we focus on what we call community, being very intentional in creating relationships of peers and mentors and sponsors and advocates, those folks who are important for both professional advancement as well as personal fulfillment.
Joe: As I understand it, the funding for The Partnership, 80% of your revenue, comes from training programs. Is that right?
Pratt: Certainly in these last few years, we have really three business segments within the firm. The first one is leadership development, and we have currently [00:03:00] six programs that we offer within that segment. Professional services is our second segment, and there are three primary services there, and that’s really around corporate culture.
Then our convening business, bringing people together, being a thought leader is our third line of business. These last several years, certainly during the pandemic and even post pandemic, that convening side of the business has taken a smaller and smaller portion of our percentage of revenue.
Our leadership development programs have really grown significantly over the last several years, and so those have increased. Certainly, these last few years we’ve seen LDP, as we call it, account for about 80% of the revenue.
Joe: And the rest of the revenue is from what source?
Pratt: Well, all of it is really for those services that we described, and so we have a service for diversity/equity inclusion practitioners, [00:04:00] so either HR or DE&I leads within companies who are responsible for. designing and implementing DE&I strategies within their organizations.
There are a hundred-plus members of that service. It’s called Executive Council. There’s a fee associated with that. There’s a fee associated with our recruiting services that we provide, so if a company or organization is looking for diverse talent and tapping into these networks that we are lucky enough to set, oftentimes at the middle of, we’re able to make those connections.
Then our BoardLink service, and this is one where we help organizations, both for-profit and non-profit, diversify their board by making connections with board-ready candidates with those organizations that are searching.
Joe: Let’s look a little bit at the history, because one of the important things, in my view, about The Partnership is how long it’s been around and how long it’s kind of developed the [00:05:00] role that it has in this community and beyond. Why was it formed, and what was it that led to the formation of The Partnership?
Pratt: The Partnership was formed in the mid-1980s, really in the aftermath of Boston’s busing crisis. About 10 years or so before, the racial division in Boston was exposed for really the world to see, and that both exposed wounds and it created a whole new set of wounds within the community.
One of the effects of that was that the business community on one hand and the black community at the time, communities of color, on the other hand started to witness a brain drain. We’re based in Boston. Folks will always come to Boston for our world-class universities, our global institutions that are based here, our global brands that are based here, but will folks stay is really the question .Will folks [00:06:00] advance? Will folks establish roots? We were seeing that the answers to those questions tended to be, no, folks weren’t staying, folks weren’t advancing, folks weren’t establishing roots.
The Partnership was formed really in 19 87, It was when we had our first program and since then 35 years of programs, 6,500 alumni who have gone through those programs, and I’m sure we can talk a little bit about what those alumni are up to, but you’d be hard pressed to find a prominent leader of color in Massachusetts, and quite honestly, in a lot of corporate spaces who aren’t either a graduate of our program or one of the folks who helped create it in the first place.
Joe: One of the initial decisions, one of the initial great decisions they made was the hiring of the first CEO, that was your mother.
Pratt: That was my mom, yeah.
Joe: How did that impact you at the time, watching her take the [00:07:00] helm of this new organization and she led it for quite some time -and take it to the place where it was really the visible, impactful organization that it became?
Pratt: Yeah. She actually took over The Partnership, it had been in existence for about three or four years at that point, and there had been a proof of concept in terms of the program itself, the fellows program. There had not been a proof of concept in terms of, is this an economically-viable organization. It was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was a moment not too dissimilar from this one where you had corporate leaders who were saying, “You know, we’ve tried this for a couple of years, and now it’s time for us to move on to something else.”
My sister and I still remember that it might not have been her first day, but it was one of her first days. She picked us up from school and then we went back to the office and I started unpacking boxes and putting files away in the cabinet and I joked that The [00:08:00] Partnership really was built on child labor for a number of years.
Pratt: What we really had was an intimacy that really has become the calling card of The Partnership. Orientation each and every year was in my parents’ living room, and so you would have 20 fantastic professionals who are, at this stage, I would say still in the earlier stages of their career, they’re managers, they’re high performers, high potential leaders within their organizations and they just have this unbelievable paths in front of them.
Oftentimes, we would come down and we’d say hi. I was in high school at the time and I’d take it for granted. Quite honestly, as a 14-year-old, how do you not take it for granted that you have these people coming in and out of your house.
But fast forward 15, 20 years, and I’m older, [00:09:00] I’m moved back to Boston and had this weird existence where not a week would go by where someone wouldn’t stop me on the street and say, “I went through The Partnership when your mom was running it, and it changed my life.” Or “I was at this crossroads in my career and your mom had coffee with me and she helped me see the direction that I should take.” Or ” I had gone through a major setback and your mom, or my dad as well, they were the ones who picked up the phone and called so-and-so and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a great candidate for you.'”
That’s the best legacy that anyone, any child could ever ask for from a parent of having someone come up to you, having a stranger come up to you and just say, “Your parents made a huge impact in my life. I hope you recognize how lucky you are to have them as parents.”
Joe: It is fantastic. I would also [00:10:00] say that 15 years later, becoming the CEO is also fantastic, but also big shoes to fill.
Pratt: Very big shoes to fill, and one thing that I’m used to is filling, or at least trying to fill, big shoes. I don’t not know if certainly I fill them, but I’m pretty fearless in trying to fill them.
Joe: Talk a little bit about your first six months there, when it happened, and what was going on and, and what that led to.
Pratt: I took over The Partnership in September of 2019 and I had been working at The Partnership for about a year or so. Prior to that, I will tell you that for those first several months, I thought I was doing everything right. I thought I had known all the levers that I would possibly need to control in order to run the organization, and I thought that I had a pretty clear vision of where I wanted to take the organization and at what pace.
But then [00:11:00] the pandemic hit and all of those plans and all of those thoughts, they went out the window.
I can’t tell you how grateful I was for that external intervention, because while I went into the role really thinking I knew what all the levers were, maybe knew a third, maybe half of the organization. Its impact, its relationships, its reach, and I spent a lot of time, I don’t want to say in self-doubt, but certainly trying to answer the question of what would my predecessors do, and in addition to my mom, we’ve had two other CEOs between her and me, and all three of them wrote important chapters in the organization.
I tried to think, “Okay, well ,what would they do?” Then in March of 2020, I just had to figure out, “Okay, what do I want to do? What do we need to do?” And [00:12:00] that’s been how we’ve been running things ever since. We’ve completely changed our business models and expanded our reach as a result faster than I ever would’ve expected, and not necessarily in the direction I would’ve expected.
Joe: Talk a little bit about the impact the pandemic had on how you were doing business and how that’s gone.
Pratt: I talked about the intimacy previously, that’s sort of a hallmark of The Partnership, high touch. Our programs prior to the pandemic, so for the first 30-plus years of our existence, they weren’t always in the living room, but they were always in a physical location. By the time I took over, we would be hosted by many of our client companies.
For any given month, any given session, we might be at TJX or Blue Cross Blue Shield in their headquarters or their facilities, and that’s where 200-plus participants might [00:13:00] engage in a session throughout the day. We would bring people together for various receptions, and we’d bring people together for mentoring sessions. We’d bring alumni back to serve as guest faculty and really practitioners in change management.
It was, again, very high touch. People were able to literally walk into a room and look around and see a hundred other professionals of color just like yourself, same ambition, same challenges, same self-doubt, same confidences, and it’s something that for many of us, you never have, let alone at that scale. We’d always call that the magic of the room. Starting in 2020, we could no longer do that, and so everything moved onto Zoom and I had never heard of Zoom before.
Joe: Join the club.
Pratt: Yeah, exactly, exactly. But I sent an [00:14:00] email to my board, and this is one of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten from any board member. I sent an email to my board letting them know that we were going to be working remotely for the next couple of weeks as the pandemic sort of runs its course ,and one of my board members is Tsedal Neeley, who is a professor at Harvard Business School, and one of her areas of expertise is remote work and so she calls me up and she’s like, “Look, I am so busy right now. I am getting phone calls around the clock from executives who are trying to figure out how to do remote work. I’ve got two minutes for you,” and her advice was, “Meet people where they are. Dogs are going to bark, doorbells are going to ring, kids are going to scream at the worst time, just meet people where they are. Find a space where you can focus and where you [00:15:00] can turn on and turn off, and then lastly, that the further we are, the closer we need to be. We really do need to focus on people.”
That then informed how we continue to do business. We think about it a little bit differently now. We sort of think about that tension between high touch and high tech, but that fundamental advice in the first few moments of the crisis has been truly the guidepost for us moving forward.
Raza: You mentioned the goals of The Partnership, which is leadership development, corporate culture and community building. Talk a little bit about these leadership development programs in terms of how does The Partnership go about achieving these goals. What does the training programs look like, what types of trainings they are, who’s sponsoring them, and give us how The Partnership works?
Pratt: Sure. We really have [00:16:00] programs at four key stages of your career life cycle. For your early stage professionals, the business question, the question that participants themselves are trying to solve is, how do I understand this new environment that I’m in? These corporate spaces, what are the rules? What are the unwritten rules? Who’s keeping score? How do I make sure that whoever it is that is keeping score is able to see me perform and see those moments when I actually am scoring? How do I ask for help? How do I continue to grow in this space? That’s our introductory program, and we call that the Associates program, and each year we have about a 100 to 150 participants who go through that program.
Our next program in the life cycle is our fellows program, and this is our oldest program. This is the one that I was talking about earlier that really began in our living room, and this is [00:17:00] for managers How do you lead? What are the levers of power that are available to you? What’s the difference between authority and influence? How do you use levers differently as a person of color, than what they might teach you in business school? What are some of those levers that you don’t want to touch? What are some of those levers that they never teach you in business school, but that you have finely tuned in order to just get to this stage of your career? That program also has about 150 participants each year, sometimes up to 200.
The next stage is for executives, so either folks who are in the executive ranks or who will be entering the executive ranks, and the two challenges are making the transition from subject matter expert to strategic leader, and then also being much clearer in terms of what are the common pitfalls and challenges that cause executives of color’s [00:18:00] careers to stall in the middle management ranks.
Then lastly is the C-suite, and the C-suite is really designed for going that last mile, so how do you go from the C-suite to the corner office in the boardroom, and even more so, how do you use your resources and your platform to continue to shape change within your organization and within your community.
Each of those program has a different curriculum and a slightly different structure. In addition to those core programs in terms of your life cycle, we have one program called the Biodiversity Program. This is exclusively for professionals in life sciences, and so whether it is pharmaceuticals and biotech, whether it’s in healthcare delivery or whether it’s even in consumer products, this industry in particular has some fairly unique challenges that we thought demanded a fairly [00:19:00] intentional and separate curriculum and approach.
We also have a program that we launched in North Carolina called the Leadership Accelerators Program, and this is a program for folks who maybe are more experienced and tenured, but still haven’t seen their careers advance into those management ranks in particular, and so how can we help folks who have the experience, but not necessarily the exposure, and so those are our six key programs within The Partnership.
Raza: I love the name biodiversity. And I felt that your programs cover the spectrum of the progression of careers and also verticals and places that they need to be, so you are meeting people where they are.
Pratt, talk to us about the impact of the partnership. How do you measure it, how do you see it, and what has been that you alluded to the 6,500 alumni. Give us the perspective on the impact of The Partnership.
Pratt: Yeah, there’s a number [00:20:00] of ways that we measure impact. The easiest to measure, and that’s probably one end of the spectrum is retention and advancement.
Pratt: Certainly, employers are sending their employees through the program because they want to see those individuals thrive within their companies, and those numbers vary. More than two thirds of our participants credit the programs for their advancement within their organizations. Three quarters credit The Partnership for why they decided to stay within their communities, and again, this data isn’t always the easiest to get at in terms of who’s staying and who’s advancing. It’s getting easier to get at, but it’s not always the easiest number to get at.
But for some of our larger clients, we see two thirds of their employees being promoted [00:21:00]within the year of the program, and that number jumps up to three quarters for 18 months after the end of the program. For other clients, they report 90% retention rates. Retention though is only really part of the equation for The Partnership itself. We don’t want to look at these programs as golden handcuffs, and so our folks advancing professionally even if they’re not necessarily within the same organization as another piece of data that we look at, and we have similar numbers there.
Our alumni are CEOs and Chief Justices. They’re entrepreneurs. They’re leading Fortune 100 companies. They are leaders in healthcare and consumer products and financial services, there’s also a piece that I look at, and that’s that piece that I referenced earlier, which is how many lives are we touching.
To an extent the real value of [00:22:00] an organization like The Partnership, that thing that we can provide that no one else provides, is this safe space that can serve as a safety net for so many of our participants that both catches you when you fall, but even more so encourages you to take greater risks knowing that there is that support system behind you. We certainly measure those things that we can measure, but when we look at what really counts, we’re looking at how are folks doing and how many lives have we changed.
Raza: In terms of geographic reach, now you are also kind of expanding beyond your traditional geography and even touching more lives across the US.
Pratt: We had always served national and global clients, many of whom have a nexus in Boston, and that has just expanded during the last several years. But just think about a company that’s been with us really since the beginning, a company like, like TJX and the TJ [00:23:00] Maxx stores and the Marshall Stores. Now, they’re able to send a store manager in Boston and a store manager in Seattle and a store manager in San Antonio through our programs not having to worry about travel, not having to worry about hotels, and provide real equity to their employees for these programs that they have seen work for decades at this point.
We, at any given year, have participants in our programs from about 25 to 30 states. We have alumni now in 40 states that we know of, and that does not include our international alumni. We also have folks in at least a dozen different countries, and having this data and being able to see where our folks are and where they have gone has helped us continue to take these lessons that we learned fairly early on in the aftermath of Boston’s busing crisis [00:24:00] and share them with the entire country and communities that can benefit from it.
Raza: Tremendous impact over time.
Joe: Pratt, let’s talk a little bit about the BoardLink program. Tell me how it started and how it’s developed.
Pratt: BoardLink started with nonprofits knocking on our door asking us if we had any board candidates that we could share with them. They were looking to diversify their board and that they weren’t sufficiently connected to networks to be able to identify and recruit diverse talent themselves, and so that’s what BoardLink is. It is taking really these networks of incredibly talented and accomplished executives of color and connecting them with organizations, nonprofits and for-profits that are looking for great board candidates and especially those who are people of color.[00:25:00]
Joe: Why did you start with nonprofits only and how did it developed or evolved into the full spectrum?
Pratt: We started with nonprofits mostly because those were the people who were knocking on our door, and we never thought of this. I don’t want to say never. We didn’t think of this as a major service that we were going to provide. We thought of this as a natural extension of just what we do in helping make connections.
We made the intentional shift of focusing on certain nonprofits and for-profits. Once, there were so many knocks on the door that we had to prioritize and we had to put some structure in place, and that we also recognize that in order to truly create the change that we hope to see in corporate America, that change needs to take place in the boardroom, and I don’t want to say trickle down, but it needs to be at every phase, in [00:26:00] every level within a company and organization.
Joe: Absolutely, one of the things you mentioned when we talked last week was that you developed a real ability to close the deal, if you will. Tell us how you do that and when it takes place.
Pratt: The greatest challenge that many organizations have, again, is too small of a network, and so what that oftentimes presents itself as is that lots of bold name organizations and companies are pursuing a very small number of executives of color, and so in those cases, those executives have a lot of choices in terms of where they go and who they’re going to spend their time with and their efforts on.
It’s really about us making sure that we can help them connect with the right opportunity that aligns with their professional [00:27:00] goals, their personal goals and interests, sometimes something that may have touched them personally depending upon the nature of the board and the nature of the opportunity itself.
Then conversely for an organization that is reaching out to someone that maybe they don’t know, we can serve as a validator of sort and say, “You know what, Joe and I have known each other for 20 years. His dad and my dad practiced law together. I’ve known the Ayoubs for a long time, and this is somebody who you want to associate with. This is somebody of character and of intellect, and if he’s doing the work, he’s doing the work right.” those validations, they matter in terms of helping make that final love connection, if you will.
Joe: Yeah, perfect. I think it’s important that we at least touch upon the board that you have at The Partnership because we all know how important boards are. You do a [00:28:00] lot of work in that space. Tell us a little bit about your board, and particularly, what makes it impactful for you as the CEO and for the mission of The Partnership.
Pratt: Yeah. Our board, one of the things that we are most proud of our board is that we are demonstrating the values that we are advocating for every day. It is a diverse board. That diversity attracts top talent. We have leaders, CEOs. We have thought leaders. We have entrepreneurs. We have generational diversity. We have folks who have gone through our program and those who have not.
It is one of the most valuable resources that I can ask for as a CEO that helps me both understand my market, understand my limitations, both mine as well as the organizations, and helps us truly and [00:29:00] thoughtfully allocate our resources, but our board really is most valuable in terms of asking those questions that are tough, that are fair, and then sometimes providing that advice that nobody else will give you.
I shared a little bit about the advice as we were heading into the pandemic. One of the tough questions that I received in one of our board meetings was, what is The Partnership doing, both or either intentionally or unintentionally, that is perpetuating systemic racism. If our business is to topple the pillars of systemic racism, shouldn’t we be looking internally to see, “Well, what are we doing that’s actually counter to that?” I said, “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me, like what are we doing? We can’t be doing anything.”
But spending some time really reflecting on those types of tough questions have shaped the growth of the organization, the focus of the organization, and hopefully we will continue to do so for [00:30:00]generations to come.
Joe: I’m really glad you mentioned that the diversity of your board is so important to its power because we talk a lot here about great boards require great diversity of perspective, and if you don’t have that, you are missing something. You don’t have a football team with 10 quarterbacks. As good as they may be, that’s not a team. They look at it,, they’re going to look at the field in one way, so that’s great, and I would say that would lead to a diversity of challenging questions to its executive team that will make you better so I think that’s terrific.
Pratt: That’s right.
Raza: Earlier in the conversation you actually mentioned that there was a moment, four or five years into the organization, where you thought, “Hey, we’ve tried this before. Let’s move on to something else.” You kind of said that we’re at that moment again.
The Partnership has made tremendous impact and [00:31:00] continues to advocate for DE&I initiatives. What is the pushback that you have seen? Or, well, I shouldn’t assume. Are you seeing pushback on these efforts and what are you seeing?
Pratt: Presume, presume away. There’s absolutely pushback on these efforts, and we’re sitting here in August of 2023, we’re six weeks away from a Supreme Court decision that fundamentally undermines affirmative action and how it’s practiced in higher education. We had a presidential debate where several of the candidates are bragging in terms of how they have defunded diversity and equity and critical race theory within their states.
In the private sector, we are seeing challenges to ESG plans in general and ESG investing in particular.[00:32:00] There’s a concerted effort, we call it within The Partnership it’s the new DEI of divide and exclude and isolate, and this is true in the private sector, this is true in the public sector, but it is all coordinated and related, and it is driving a reduction in DE&I efforts within corporate America. You’re seeing greater layoffs in DE&I. You’re seeing continued defunding of DE&I roles.
It’s going to be one of the great differentiators that come out of this moment. Those companies that either take the bait of folks that you see in Kansas, Texas, Florida and trying to pretend like the diversification of America and the diversity of the globe doesn’t exist, that those markets simply will conform [00:33:00] versus those that see the world as it is and how it is shaping up to date and that are looking for opportunities to innovate and compete in a changing world.
Raza: At this inflection then, Pratt what response are you seeing from your clients?
Pratt: This is a place where The Partnership are very lucky in that our clients tend to come to us because they already recognize the business imperative as well as the moral imperative of diversity and the value of diversity. I have one CEO client who says it’s his fiduciary duty to invest in the diverse talent of his organization.
For many of our clients, we are seeing them actually double down on these initiatives. We’re seeing them reaffirm their commitment to diversity and inclusion as a core value of the company and how they want to do business, and we see companies that are [00:34:00] taking the step of DE&I beyond just hiring and HR function and really incorporating it into their business strategy and everything that they do as an organization.
This is something that we’ve been highlighting for years, that study after study after study after study shows that diverse organizations are simply more competitive. They’re more profitable. They open up new markets. They’re more creative in problem solving. Many of the companies that we work with are betting on that and investing on that in big ways.
Raza: I think you’re absolutely right. This will be a competitive advantage for those who understand it. I’m absolutely thrilled to have you make all these efforts.
Joe: Pratt, it’s been a great conversation, getting a look at the incredibly impactful work that The Partnership has been doing and is doing now under your leadership is great. It’s really been great, so thanks so much for being with us today.
Pratt: Thank you. I will [00:35:00] say, Joe, like I have been on a career journey myself. And in this journey, I don’t know if I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for you and the leadership and the guidance that you provided when we were working together, so thank you for this conversation and for all the conversations we’ve had over the years.
Joe: Well, thank you for the very kind words. It’s been great. It continues to be great to know you, and again, thanks for being here today, and thank you all for listening to On Boards with our special guest, Pratt Wiley.
Raza: Please visit our website at OnBoardsPodcast.com. That’s OnBoardsPodcast.com. We’d love to hear your comments, suggestions, and feedback. And if you are not already a subscriber, please be sure to subscribe to Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcast and remember to leave us a five-star review.
Joe: Please stay safe and take care of yourselves, your families, and your [00:36:00] communities as best you can. We hope you’ll tune in for the next episode of On Boards. Thanks.