NAMIC Program Addresses Industry's Multicultural Needs

It is with pride that the National Association of Minorities in Communications prepares for the October 2001 launch of its Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) in partnership with the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management.

While NAMIC realizes that leadership training is not new ground, we feel the unique focus of this program and the stellar reputation of the UCLA Executive Leadership Suites in developing programs for specific cultural groups, will bring a new leadership training dynamic to our industry.

NAMIC's ELDP is distinctive in that it has a specific focus on multiculturalism and is designed to address some of our industry's most persistent diversity dilemmas: the retention of managers of color; increasing diversity within the executive ranks; and managing a diverse workforce in a global economy.

The ELDP was created as a result of NAMIC's 1999 research study A Look Toward Advancement: Minority Employment in Cable, which indicated that people of color are underrepresented in the executive suites of the cable industry. NAMIC members polled for the study expressed their concern about the lack of role models as they climbed the career ladder and indicated strong interest in a NAMIC-sponsored program that would help them develop the mentoring and networking skills to earn promotions into the executive ranks.

Anecdotally, senior executives have expressed concern over the inability to identify qualified minority candidates for senior-level positions, both internally and externally. The issues of recruitment and retention remain a key priority for industry diversity practitioners.

Taking this challenge to task, NAMIC created the ELDP. Materials are now being widely distributed throughout the industry. The program consists of four, two-and-a-half day sessions beginning in October 2001 running through April 2002. UCLA will confer nine continuing education units (CEU's) upon successful completion of the ELDP, making it eligible for tuition reimbursement programs in some companies.

Participants in the program will explore specific issues and hidden biases that might inhibit advancement. Topics include the use and abuse of power, mentoring, managing overt and covert prejudices, stereotyping, team leadership and management, and the role of race and cultural differences in workplace dynamics.

This program is designed to break through communications barriers and improve the executive retention rates for people of color. Given current demographic shifts, it is not news to anyone that developing a diverse workforce and executive team is a bottom line business imperative.

Companies whose employees participate will gain more effective organizational leaders. The results: higher retention rates and employees with measurable and specific managerial, leadership and interpersonal skills. The ELDP does not promise participants will be promoted upon completion of the program, rather, the program is aimed to better prepare them to seize opportunities.

In addition to cultural dynamics, the ELDP curriculum includes instruction in business skills that are critical to leaders' success regardless of ethnicity — marketing, finance, corporate strategy, negotiation and human resource management. The program also has customizable elements that will allow NAMIC to invite industry executives and other key constituents to address program participants.