On April 2, 2013, SJMC welcomed Josie Thomas, Esq., as the keynote speaker at its first Spring Forum event for the Professional M.A. in Strategic Communication.
Thomas is the senior vice president and chief diversity officer for CBS Corporation in New York City. Here, she works to increase the company's record of diversity and has worked with senior executives to create and implement inclusion strategies.
More than 100 invited guests -- including members of the professional community as well as current and former students of the program -- gathered in the Johnson Great Room at McNamara Alumni Center to hear Thomas speak about diversity in media organizations and CBS's own diversity initiatives.
Quoting CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves, Thomas said: "diversity is just plain good business."
In her presentation, Thomas laid out CBS's plan for diversity incorporation, which includes leadership from the top; employee engagement; external engagement such as internships and a diversity showcase; dual purpose engagement; communications and branding around diversity; supplier diversity, including an awards program for suppliers; and to establish a goal.
"Our multidimensional strategy for inclusion is designed for one purpose, which is impact," said Thomas. "You want to impact the industry both in front of and behind the camera. We want to impact opportunities at all levels in our organizations and we want to impact engagement across the board."
During her two-day visit to the University of Minnesota, which was co-hosted by the SJMC Diversity Committee, Thomas met with multiple student groups, including students enrolled in Jour 4272W: Advertising in Society and Jour 5522: Law of Internet Speech. Thomas also met with graduate students interested in media law.
Thomas is a Twin Cities native whose mother is former University of Minnesota Regent and civil rights trailblazer Josie Johnson.
Photos by Mark Vancleave