Businesses Don’t Need a “Middle Aged White Man” to Succeed
A backlash erupted on social media this week after a report that Wells Fargo (WFC) CEO Charles Scharf said in an internal memo following the murder of George Floyd that the company’s lack of diversity was the result of a “very limited pool of black talent.”
The comments renew concerns not only about the hiring pipeline at large companies, but also about the failure of venture capitalists to provide loans to women and non-white founders, who receive a tiny fraction of the start-up capital that could propel the businesses they already run.
American businesses need to shake off their long-held preconceptions of what a successful business leader looks like, said actress Jessica Alba, founder of cosmetics and housewares company The Honest Company , to Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Andy Serwer, in September. 17, before the Wells Fargo report.
“There might be a mentality in corporate America that you have to be a hard-working white middle-aged man to be successful,” says Alba, who is Latina. “Today on your channel we can show that none of this is true here.”
“We are the antithesis of it all,” she adds. “We are successful and people are happy.
The founders received 2.8% of startup investments in the United States last year, according to a report published by Crunchbase in April. The share of venture capital decreases even more for founders of color, who receive less than 1% of global funds.
The Honest Company, founded by Alba in 2012, raised $ 100 million for a valuation of $ 1.7 billion three years later, according to Forbes. In May, the company was on track for more than $ 350 million in revenue for 2020, CEO Nick Vlahos told Vogue Business in May.
Alba currently stars alongside actress Gabrielle Union on the TV show “LA’s Finest”, making it a rare show run by two women of color.
“Frankly, I took a lot of values, discipline and beliefs that I applied to building Honest Company, and I wanted to apply a lot of those values to ‘LA’s Finest,’ says Alba.
“You don’t see a ton of black and brown leaders on the same scale in American business or in entertainment,” she adds.
Honest company standards include a “banned list,” which includes 2,500 chemicals that The Honest Company refuses to include in its products, as well as a commitment to partner with safe and transparent manufacturers, among other measures.
Alba said the focus on safe products and ethical business practices owes in part to the company’s commitment to serving a diverse customer base.
“Black and brown communities are the most affected when it comes to exposures to unnecessary chemicals and how this can affect their health,” she says. “I really wanted to make sure that I made my products accessible to everyone. “
Alba spoke to Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Andy Serwer in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer“, a series of weekly interviews with executives from business, politics and entertainment.
Over the years, The Honest Company has been accused of breaking its promise to keep certain chemicals out of its products while maintaining their effectiveness. In 2017, the company paid $ 1.55 million to settle a dispute claiming the company misled customers about the ingredients in its laundry detergent and dish soap.
Responding to past accusations that the company has not fulfilled its mission, The Honest Company issued the following statement: “Over the past eight years, like any business, Honest has encountered challenges along the way. However, instead of letting our challenges define us, we have learned from them and are moving in the right direction by fostering innovation and real change.
“We no longer focused on building a large portfolio back to the core products that drove our initial growth (ie baby, beauty and personal care) and introduced processes and procedures to ensure an even higher degree of safety, quality and efficiency ”adds the statement.
When asked about President Donald Trump, Alba said politics does not influence how the company works.
“I think who’s in place doesn’t necessarily affect the way we run our business,” she says. “The way we run our business is independent of politics. “