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Management Leadership for Tomorrow Launches First-of-its-Kind, Standard-Setting Certification to Drive Action and Accountability on Black Equity in Corporate America

October 21, 2020

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Washington, D.C., October 21, 2020 – Today, Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) announced a first-of-its-kind certification—MLT Black Equity at Work—which establishes a clear and comprehensive Black equity standard for employers. The Certification provides the roadmap needed to enable employers to take a systematic, results-oriented approach toward achieving Black equity.  

Becoming MLT Black Equity at Work Certified requires employers to take the same results-oriented approach with Black equity as they do with quarterly earnings and other core business priorities. The truth is this: Black equity specifically and racial equity more broadly are achievable in any workplace whose leadership is committed and clear on how to proceed. As of today, a range of leading organizations from a variety of sectors, including Amazon, Bain Capital, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), DaVita, kyu Collective, Moody’s, PNC, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (who has also provided seed funding for the initiative), ViacomCBS, Walker & Dunlop, WarnerMedia, and Workday, have committed to taking the steps to become a certified Black equity workplace. 

“We are in an extraordinary moment, where business and social sector leaders have unprecedented levels of conviction to take bold steps to expand economic and career mobility outcomes for Black people,” said John Rice, CEO of MLT. “Only by defining a standard and showing companies how to deliver measurable results on Black equity can we start to raise the bar for racial equity in the workplace.” 

The Certification, which was co-developed with BCG with input from tens of other leading companies and organizations, focuses on three areas—People, Purchasing, and Philanthropy, and will offer benchmarks, best practices, and insights on how to achieve racial equity in the workplace across five pillars:

  1. Black representation at every level
  2. Compensation equity
  3. Inclusive, anti-racist work environment
  4. Racially just business practices
  5. Racial justice contributions and investments  

In agreeing to the certification process, launch employers are committing to crafting a comprehensive and rigorous plan to accelerate progress against the goals they set in each of the five pillars of the certification scorecard. For any employer, this Certification provides an opportunity to take substantive, needle-moving steps on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) that reaffirm—for internal and external stakeholders—its stance against systemic racism.

”Through this Certification, we have provided companies with a comprehensive standard for Black equity at work along with how-to support where they need it so they can take a comprehensive approach and hold themselves accountable to progress,” said Rice. 

“At Amazon, we’re constantly learning and innovating – and our long-term efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion are no different,” said Elizabeth Nieto, Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Amazon. “Our ongoing focus on representation at all levels and in fostering an inclusive culture aligns with MLT's goals for the MLT Black Equity at Work Certification program. This is a critical step in underscoring these values in everything we do – from the people we hire and promote to the products we build for customers, to the sellers, small business owners and communities we serve.”

“As a firm, Bain Capital is committed to increasing black representation and improving racial equity. We recognize this requires focus and action to achieve measurable progress. John Rice and his team are creating an innovative approach to drive fundamental change across industries and we are proud to team with MLT on this important initiative,” said John Connaughton and Jonathan Lavine, Co-Managing Partners, Bain Capital.

“At DaVita, our vision is a diverse Village of teammates and patients where everyone belongs. We are committed to lead, innovate, and share accountability at every level in the pursuit of creating positive change both in our own organization and the communities around us. It is in that spirit that we are thrilled to collaborate with Management Leadership for Tomorrow to create the framework and standards for the MLT Black Equity at Work Certification,” said Javier Rodriguez, CEO of DaVita Inc.

“We believe organizations can make their largest strides toward racial equity when they have a vision, a clear strategic plan, and harness creativity to bring the vision and plan to life,” said Michael Birkin, CEO, kyu collective, which includes transformation firm SYPartners, innovation firm IDEO, brand and experience firm Sid Lee, New Editorial team Godfrey Dadich Partners, and a digital media and CRM agency Kepler, among others. “This is why kyu is bringing all of its talents from across its collective of creative firms to ensure the success of the MLT Black Equity at Work Certification.”

“At Moody’s, our purpose is to bring clarity, knowledge and fairness to an interconnected world. Remaining true to our values means standing unequivocally with the Black community against racism and inequality. We acknowledge the opportunity for the financial services industry to do more in promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace, and we recognize the responsibility we have to our employees, customers, stakeholders, and society to advance our diversity strategy,” said DK Bartley, Chief Diversity Officer at Moody’s Corporation. “The MLT Black Equity at Work Certification helps to move the DEI accountability agenda forward and ensure results.” 

“At PNC, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) are core to our values – they are at the heart of how we run our business and an important piece of the fabric of our culture. We have long-embraced DE&I as a business imperative because we know that diverse teams are more creative, innovative, productive and lead to better, stronger outcomes for our customers, our communities, our company and ultimately, our industry,” said Richard Bynum, PNC’s corporate responsibility officer. “Our commitment to MLT’s Black Equity at Work Certification perfectly aligns with work already underway and will help guide us as we continue to intensify our focus on racial equity in cultivating and sustaining diverse teams. We’re proud to participate because this work is vital and we recognize that more is required.”

“The Black Equity at Work initiative is an important step toward advancing racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. Black Americans face disproportionate discrimination at every level of the workforce. As our country faces a racial reckoning, there is no better time to examine our workplace culture and systems, and invest in changes that reflect the values for which we stand. We are pleased to join this initiative as a funder and also as a participant in the work. We hope every organization, foundation and corporation, including all those that issued public statements in support of racial justice this year, will join us in doing the hard work of living up to our words,” said Stacy Schusterman, Chair, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

“At ViacomCBS, we believe that to be the best creators and content providers possible, we need to build a workplace of inclusion—one that reflects, celebrates and elevates the diversity of our audiences, and holds leadership accountable for fostering a culture where all of our employees are equally empowered to succeed,” said Marva Smalls, Global Head of Inclusion, ViacomCBS. “This belief is reflected in the legacy of our brands and content, how we engage our employees, the initiatives we support to develop diverse talent in front and behind the camera, and how we work with our business partners and leverage our Supplier Diversity program. It’s in this spirit that we’re thrilled to partner with Management Leadership for Tomorrow on this important initiative to drive measurable progress in improving Black representation and racial equity in the workplace.”

“The MLT Black Equity at Work Certification program is an exciting strategic partnership for Walker & Dunlop that will further our commitment to driving long-term D&I change in the commercial real estate industry,” said Walker & Dunlop CEO, Willy Walker. “The program will challenge us to see where we must evolve our thinking and action, ensure our business practices are racially just, and allow us to provide the best experience for our Black employees.”

“At WarnerMedia, equity and inclusion are business and moral imperatives,” said MyKhanh Shelton, Sr. Vice President Enterprise Inclusion. “Joining the MLT Black Equity at Work Initiative is a meaningful way to solidify WarnerMedia’s commitment to ensuring an equitable and inclusive work environment for our employees, talent and partners, now and in the future.”

“We recognize that companies are all at different stages in their DEI journeys, and that this process takes time. But, we also acknowledge that the need for change has never been clearer; the time for change is now,” said Rice.


About Management Leadership for Tomorrow 
Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) is a national nonprofit working to transform our country’s leadership pipelines and increase access to the American Dream. MLT provides Black, Latinx, and Native American talent with the coaching, playbook, and networks they need in order to excel in high-trajectory careers, secure economic mobility for their families, and become high-impact senior leaders equipped to advocate for vulnerable communities. MLT also provides a comprehensive solution for institutions, which combines best-in-class recruitment, retention, and diversity strategy offerings. Learn more at