Solution Series – Organizational Structure: A Tool to Advance Innovation and Bottom Business Line

Solution Series – Organizational Structure: A Tool to Advance Innovation and Bottom Business Line

On Wednesday October 16th we hosted our biannual Solution Series — Organizational Structure: A Tool to Advance Innovation and Business Bottom Line—at Mutual of American in Manhattan. A packed house of new and longtime supporters and friends of The Fedcap Group heard a dynamic panel of experts lead a compelling discussion about organizational structure. Hundreds more participated via livestream! The panel included –

      • Michael Sicard, Chairman and CEO, USI Insurance Services
      • Dianne Morales, Executive Director and CEO, Phipps Neighborhoods
      • Mario Desideiro, Enterprise Solutions and Analytics Practice Leader, Managing Director, Huron Consulting Group

Takeaways from the discussion were that structure should be designed to unlock teamwork and creativity; that structure must enable employees to always challenge themselves and have a vested interest in outcomes, and that structure must be flexible enough to allow for the ongoing infusion of new talent.  The panel emphasized how strategy drives structure, that the design and building of structure must be intentional, and that while no single structure works for every organization, transparency and cross-functional teamwork are often hallmarks of successful structure.

Thanks to Mutual of America for hosting this event. Stay tuned for information about our spring Solution Series!

The Fedcap Group Solution Series: Socially Responsible Investing

The Fedcap Group Solution Series: Socially Responsible Investing

Socially responsible investing (SRI) targets the world’s most pressing challenges—scarce resources, climate change, poverty, human rights, diversity, and economic inequality. An astonishing $12 trillion–more than one out of every four dollars under management in the U.S. — is invested based on SRI strategies.

What is the responsibility of business?   What motivates socially responsible investors? How is impact measured?  A distinguished panel of experts addressed these and other key questions in a spirited and highly informative discussion at The Fedcap Group’s spring Solution Series on March 26th at The Westin New York Grand Central. The panel included:

•  Christina L Alfandary, Managing Director ESG and Sustainable Investments, GAMCO Investors, Inc.
•  Robert Brown, Senior Partner and Founder-Atlas Impact Partners
•  Martin Whittaker, CEO, JUST Capital

A full house of business partners, supporters, board members and representatives of foundations, academia and NYC agencies attended the event.

Robert Brown provided an interesting history of SRI and a hopeful vision for its future, which will likely see more companies embracing impact investing principles as a core value and more rigorous frameworks for measuring impact.

“Establishing and focusing on a set of SRI criteria is good for business and should just be part of what a company does. I would like to see more companies set and implement standards that reflect their values and move beyond aspirational statements to actual implementation,” he said.

Christina Alfandary, the author of a seminal paper about ESG, said that millennials are driving interest in impact investing because they see ESG issues as their own — if they don’t address challenges such as climate change it could be too late by the time their generation is in charge of government policy. More companies are recognizing that they need to be part of the solution, to embrace long-term thinking and a bottom line that includes both profits and impact.

“Social impact investing still has a long way to go to truly make a difference. What is needed is more cross-collaboration between the public and private sectors. Leveraging private capital markets is imperative to address these issues,” she said.

A fundamental question is how we define the social contract between markets and the society they serve.

Martin Whittaker said that the vision articulated by economist Milton Friedman — that the only social responsibility of business was to increase its profits – doesn’t serve the needs of communities and is not good business. A growing number of companies recognize the vital role they can play in addressing society’s challenges and are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into their culture.   “I am optimistic.  There is a growing number of investors demanding impact information, sustainability criteria, and the trends suggest we are moving in the right direction.”

Solution Series: Maximizing Organizational Intelligence: Building Capacity to Create and Strategically Use Knowledge

Solution Series: Maximizing Organizational Intelligence: Building Capacity to Create and Strategically Use Knowledge

The Fedcap Group’s 16th Solution Series, Maximizing Organizational Intelligence: Building Capacity to Create and Strategically Use Knowledge was a great success, with a full house at Mutual of America building and hundreds from across the nation participating via live stream. The topic is especially significant to The Fedcap Group during this exciting period of mission-driven growth and expanded impact.

A panel of thought leaders led a lively and insightful discussion, touching on how intelligent organizations leverage their key assets – people, knowledge, data and analytics – for competitive advantage in the marketplace. The panel included Mike Turpin, Executive Vice President and Managing Consultant, USI Insurance Services; Leila Araiche, Managing Director in Brookfield Property Partners’ Real Estate Group, and Enrique Arbelaez, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Cien+, an innovative consultancy and marketing services firm that employs big data insights and cultural intelligence to help leaders and brands turn cultural trends into opportunities.

A key challenge for companies leveraging knowledge is turning data into actionable insights. To do so they must become an intelligent organization.

“To fully leverage data and analytics, we have learned that we need to manifest all the elements that define an intelligent organization–social, emotional, business and cultural intelligence,” said Christine McMahon, President and CEO of The Fedcap Group. “This requires technological capabilities, understanding the dynamics and motivations of a multicultural workforce and being structured to manage complexity and change.”

Mr. Turpin said that high IQ organization share data and use it to assist people at all levels of the organization. Knowledge, which comprises a remarkable 83 percent of organizational asset value, is as important as capital—and moves just as fast. “If you think of knowledge as capital and manage it like capital, then you are constantly focused on –how do you facilitate it, how do you cultivate it, so you get a constant return on it,” he said.

Mr. Arbelaez highlighted the importance of cultural knowledge, defined as the capability to relate and work effectively across cultures. Changing workforce demographics mean that cultural knowledge is essential for companies to unlock the full spectrum of organizational knowledge. “The U.S. minority population, currently 30 percent, is expected to exceed 50 percent before 2050,” he said. “These changing demographics have significant financial implications for business. A business that is not prepared to effectively tap into these diverse population groups is simply not sustainable.”

No organization can have a high IQ or maximize actionable intelligence without building a strong culture of communication, Ms. Araiche said. “A culture of strong communication requires clear messages about goals and specific, key measurements for success. If you want information, business intelligence and data to drive decision-making, you need regular, established outlets for communication at many organizational levels,” she said.

Solution Series: Women Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Life

Solution Series: Women Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Life

Previous slide
Next slide

On March 27 Fedcap held its 15th Solution Series, Women Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Life. The overflow crowd included business partners, and representatives from academia, community and government organizations. Hundreds more, from across the country and overseas, joined the event via livestream. 

In opening remarks, Fedcap President and CEO Christine McMahon said that “through this dialogue today, we believe that we can contribute to the day when all women veterans transition successfully to civilian life, by finding the support, employment, respect and happiness they deserve.” Ms. McMahon thanked event sponsors Mutual of America and Carr/Xerox and the many business partners in the room including Allied, Ocean Janitorial, LDI Toolbox, JP Morgan Chase, TD Bank, Spectrum, and Steinway Moving and Storage. She also noted the many government agencies that were represented in the room – Department of Veterans Services, Veterans’ Mental Health Coalition, HRA, OMH, DYCD, the Mayor’s Office, the Department for the Aging.

Lorrie Lutz, Fedcap’s Chief Strategy Officer, introduced the panelists – US Navy Veteran (Second Class Petty Officer, Ret.) Kim Elvin, currently Director of Workforce Development/Vocational Services for Easterseals New York; Dr. Cameron Ritchie, Colonel, US Army (Ret.), now Chief of Community Based Outpatients Clinics for the Washington, DC VA, and Adria Horn, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army Reserves, currently Director, Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services.

The panelists spoke of the challenges women veterans face in transition. Dr. Ritchie said that transition is an ongoing process – there is no clean break from service to civilian life. Ms. Horn said that despite holding an MBA and being a West Point graduate, she applied for 30 jobs after her discharge without getting a single call. Ms. Elvin said that the male-dominated culture of the VA leads many women to avoid the agency and the services it provides. It took her 30 years to register and become eligible for services.

The panel addressed the high rates of sexual assault in the military, and of suicide and homelessness among female veterans. One in four women in the military is sexually assaulted, and women veterans are the fastest growing segment of the homeless veteran population. Sexual assault and other traumas associated with service contribute to homelessness, unemployment, suicide and untreated mental illness.

To combat homelessness and improve mental health care, women veterans must be made aware of the services, supports and benefits that are available to them, through the VA and elsewhere. They should be encouraged to advocate for themselves; to call on personal networks for support, and to register with the VA.

Each of the panelists offered a key takeaway. Ms. Elvin said that communities must be prepared to welcome transitioning veterans. Dr. Ritchie encouraged employers to support women veterans with child care, flexible hours and other policies, and Ms. Horn said that to effectively support women veterans, they must first identify them among job applicants and staff.

In closing remarks, Lisa Russell, a ten-year Army veteran, reminded the audience that the Solution Series is only the beginning of the conversation about female veterans. The Fedcap family of agencies will continue its multifaceted work in serving the female veteran population, and advocating for their well-being.

Solution Series: The Employment of People with Disabilities: Moving Beyond Social Responsibility to a Business Solution

Solution Series: The Employment of People with Disabilities: Moving Beyond Social Responsibility to a Business Solution

Previous slide
Next slide

On October 3rd Fedcap held its 14th biannual Solution Series – The Employment of People with Disabilities: Moving Beyond Social Responsibility to a Business Solution. The overflow crowd included business partners, and representatives from community and government organizations that support the Fedcap family of agencies. If you were unable to attend the event, click here to view the Solution Series in its entirety.

Attendees were treated to an insightful and thought-provoking discussion of a topic of compelling interest to businesses large and small – why hiring people with disabilities is good for business. Panelists included:

• Elaine E. Katz – Senior Vice President for Grants and Communications, Kessler Foundation

• Larry Stubblefield – Assistant Administrator for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights at the Small Business Administration

• Amanda Tierney – Regional Learning Center Manager, Workforce Initiatives, CVS Health

Fedcap President and CEO Christine McMahon welcomed the guests and thanks event sponsors Mutual of America and Staples. “One of the important themes that we will hear about today is that hiring people with disabilities is not just the right thing to do, it is good for business,” she said.

Martha Jackson, Assistant Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, spoke briefly, thanking Fedcap for its commitment to changing the lives of people with disabilities. Ms. Jackson talked about efforts of the Mayor’s Office to increase employment of people with disabilities, and to make NYC the most disability-friendly city in the world.

Elaine Katz said that among the benefits of employing people with disabilities are higher productivity and lower turnover. Research conducted by the Kessler Foundation shows that a culture of recruiting, hiring and retaining people with disabilities starts with a commitment by upper management. There is strong evidence that an inclusive culture increases the morale and productivity of all employees. Ms. Katz pointed out that the cost of workplace accommodations for people with disabilities is far lower than employers assume, and that tax credits and job training grants are available.

Amanda Tierney discussed CVS Health’s work with school districts in NYC. The company operates four work centers that replicate the retail environment, and serve as training centers for young adults with disabilities who are entering the workforce. A priority in these efforts is training job coaches. If the coaches are properly trained the employee is much more likely to succeed.

Larry Stubblefield discussed current legislative amendments that aim to increase the percentage of people with disabilities in the federal workforce. The US Small Business Administration undertook efforts to highlight success stories about employees with disabilities to help the agency “bust the myths, fears and stereotypes” about hiring people with disabilities that are still common in the workplace.

Mr. Stubblefield said that one in five Americans has a disability, and that many disabilities are unseen. He discussed SBA efforts on behalf of returning veterans, a number of whom have disabling injuries, and the importance of integrating them into the workforce. “As a society, we can tap into that talent pool, or pay for it in social costs,” he said.

Solution Series: Why Business Should Support Early Childhood Education: Building a Workforce Pipeline for the 21st Century Business

Solution Series: Why Business Should Support Early Childhood Education: Building a Workforce Pipeline for the 21st Century Business

Previous slide
Next slide

Fedcap held its 13th Solution Series – Why Business Should Support Early Childhood Education: Building a Workforce Pipeline for the 21st Century Business – on March 29 at Mutual of America. An overflow crowd of Fedcap business partners, academia, government, community nonprofit partners donors and staff attended the event.

A panel of noted experts engaged in a thought-provoking discussion about the role of business in supporting early childhood child hood development. The panel included –

• Caitlin A. Codella, Senior Director of Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Center for Education and Workforce

• Katharine B. Stevens, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who leads AEI’s early childhood program

• Michael Weinstein, Economist, and Executive Director of Impact Matters, a nonprofit agency focused on raising the quality of work in the nonprofit sector

The topic is of great interest to the Fedcap family of agencies—we both provide early childhood development services and we are very interested in helping business meet their workforce needs for the future.

Fedcap President and CEO Christine McMahon welcomed guests and thanked host Mutual of America for their generosity in providing the amazing venue and our new sponsor Staples. Christine introduced Fedcap Chief Strategy Officer Lorrie Lutz, who facilitated the panel discussion.

Caitlin Codella opened the dialogue by stating that concerns about the workforce pipeline underpin much of the Chamber’s work, including its research on early childhood development. The work is based on research that shows that investing in children in their first years of development is both more effective and less costly than interventions later in life and has a tremendous return on investment.

Most public policies that address social issues are focused on fixing problems that have already happened, Ms. Stevens told the gathering. The beauty of this topic is we have the opportunity to do it right…first . Quality early childhood development programs are firmly grounded in the science of brain development, which shows that healthy brain architecture depends in large part on the neural connections that are formed in the first five years of life.

Michael Weinstein pointed out the challenges of measuring the impact of most educational interventions including early childhood— which can’t be known with any degree of certainty until much later in life. Research exists that provides examples of interventions that work, but it is not clear which aspects of the interventions drove the impact.

We know less about the impact of early childhood interventions than anything in the social sciences,” Mr. Weinstein said. “There is a lot we don’t know but also a lot of reasons to be optimistic.”

Katharine Stevens agreed that research is unclear as to the effectiveness and impact of specific programs, but that the science of early brain development makes a convincing case for business investment in early childhood development.

Investing in programs that won’t show a return for several decades is hard to justify for businesses, but it’s important to remember that early childhood development is about the workforce of today as well as tomorrow, said Ms. Codella. Two-thirds of children under six have both parents in the workforce, and quality childcare programs make for more productive employees, and reduce turnover and absenteeism.

After the highly engaging panel discussion Fedcap CFO Karen Wegmann thanks the participants, sponsors and guests, and summed up one of the key takeaways: “As a society we must find ways to invest in our children and our future workforce.”

Solution Series: Leading as Women: How Women are Increasing Productivity and Changing Business

Solution Series: Leading as Women: How Women are Increasing Productivity and Changing Business

Previous slide
Next slide

Fedcap recently held its 12th Solution Series – Leading as Women: How Women Are Increasing Productivity and Changing Business.  The event took place on October 11th at Mutual of America and drew an overflow crowd of Fedcap supporters, and business and political leaders from the community.  Hundreds of people in multiple states watched the event via live stream.

A distinguished panel of leaders led a fascinating discussion about the impact of women in the nation’s boardrooms and C-suites. The panel included – 

  • Ana Oliveria, President and CEO NY Women’s Foundation
  • Denise Barges, Board Member Blue Cross/Blue Shield & Financial Portfolio Manager RI Commerce Corporation
  • Gina Berndt, Board Member and Managing Director, Perkins + Will, a leading architecture and design firm
  • Sarah Carson, founder and CEO of Leota, a fast-growing fashion design and merchandising firm.

Fedcap CEO Christine McMahon said the topic was one that was near to her heart. “Having served as a leader in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years, I understand the challenges women face as they aspire to leadership positions that have historically been held by men,” she said.

The panelists offered insightful comments about women’s contribution to leadership and the barriers they face in getting there. Ms. Berndt noted that the growing number of women entrepreneurs is related to historical barriers to leadership positions in the corporate world. If you’re talented as a woman, your leadership skills are much easier to leverage when you’re on your own. Speaking to surveys that show businesses with more women leaders are more philanthropic, Ms. Berndt said that women understand how philanthropy strengthens communities, and that from a business perspective it makes sense to connect with and understand the communities your business serves. 

Ms. Barges talked about the importance of having diverse viewpoints in leadership as women and men take different approaches to management, networking and collaboration. A co-founder of the Emerging Women in Business Conference, Ms. Barges decried the inequity in funding for entrepreneurial women; women receive approximately five present of bank loans and federal contract awards, and about seven percent of venture capital funding. As a result, women have learned how to do more with less. Despite not being taken as seriously by lenders, women must have confidence in themselves and learn to take risks.

Sarah Carson left a promising career on Wall Street, where the male-dominated culture wore on her, to start her own business. She spent years envisioning the type of culture she wanted – one of autonomy, empowerment, and personal and social responsibility. Her company’s success is driven in large part by Ms. Carson’s commitment to “hiring from her weaknesses;” she readily admits when she is wrong, and surrounds herself with people who know more than she does. This ensures that while she makes mistakes, she never makes the same mistake twice.   

Ms. Oliveria emphasized the importance of mentoring, and building a pipeline of future women leaders. But mentorship is not enough; women entrepreneurs and leaders need sponsorship as well, sponsors who will invest in them and take risks on their behalf. To that end the NY Women’s Foundation views women as assets, and is committed to giving grant support to women entrepreneurs who work in their own communities.

Fedcap board member Lynn Morgen closed the session by thanking the panelists, members of the business community who were in attendance – Clifton Hotels, Restaurant Associates, Eataly, and Mutual of America for hosting the event.

Solution Series: Addressing Employee Mental Health and Addiction: Improving Your Business Bottom Line

Solution Series: Addressing Employee Mental Health and Addiction: Improving Your Business Bottom Line

Previous slide
Next slide

Addiction is based on fear, which goes hand in hand with stigma, it is a disease of progression, for which recovery is “the last house on the block” — that is why it’s so important that the workplace to be a safe, supportive environment where employees can ask for help.”  

Fedcap’s 11th Solution Series, Addressing Employee Mental Health and Addiction: Improving Your Business Bottom Line, was one of its most powerful to date. The event, on March 30 at the Mutual of America building in Manhattan, drew an overflow crowd of more than 140, including almost 50 businesses, and attracted many more who participated via webcast.

A distinguished panel of business leaders explored the ways in which employees struggle with substance abuse disorders and untreated mental illnesses, and how employers are designing and offering programs and services to help these individuals.

Brooke Wilson, head of Worklife Services for Resources for Living, Aetna’s employee assistance program, talked about presenteeism – the impact on productivity when one or a number of employees suffer from untreated mental illness or substance abuse disorder.  For employers, the challenge is to encourage these individuals to utilize available services, and ensure that the services are effective.  To measure the impact of its services, Ms. Wilson said that Aetna monitors multiple components of well-being as reported by employees, and uses other metrics.

Jim Salzano, head of Easy Spirit Shoes, said that he feels a responsibility to serve everyone in his company – too often, society in general is conditioned to reject people at their moment of greatest need, when suffering from addiction or mental illness. In creating a healthy, non-stigmatizing work environment, Mr. Salzano said that as a chief executive, he strives to treat his employees the way he would want to be treated were he in that situation. 

Matthew R. Sisk, Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, spoke eloquently about his own struggles with alcoholism. He said that substance abuse is based on fear, which goes hand in hand with stigma, and that it is a disease of progression, for which recovery is “the last house on the block;” no one else wants you when you are at that place in your life. That’s why it’s so important that the workplace to be a safe, supportive environment in which employees can address their issues.   

This recent Solution Series compliments Fedcap’s innovative work in integrating education, treatment, recovery and employment to change people’s lives—every day.  Fedcap operates an outpatient behavioral health clinic in the Bronx, a day treatment program in New Jersey and a peer driven clubhouse in Manhattan. Fedcap recently combined with Granite Pathways in New Hampshire, and our first recovery center will open in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at the end of April. 

Solution Series: A Conversation with Patrick Kennedy: Changing the National Discourse About Mental Health Issues and Addiction

Solution Series: A Conversation with Patrick Kennedy: Changing the National Discourse About Mental Health Issues and Addiction

On Wednesday October 28, Congressman Patrick Kennedy spoke at Fedcap’s 10th Solutions Series. Mr. Kennedy served 16 years in Congress and is one of our country’s leading and most compelling advocate for changing the stigmatization of mental health and addiction, and improving access to care.

The invitation-only event, hosted by the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, was attended by over 75 business, government and health care leaders. It was live streamed to audiences in London, Boston, Syracuse, Washington DC and Concord, New Hampshire, where over 175 people participated.

Craig Stenning, Fedcap’s Senior Vice President for Occupational health, welcomed guests and thanked Fedcap President and CEO Christine McMahon for her energy and commitment in making these events possible. He thanked Congressman Kennedy whose recent book, A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through The Past and Future of Mental Health and Addiction, highlights his own struggles, and those of his famous family, with mental health and addiction.

“We honor Congressman Kennedy’s courage to share his story, which mirrors those of millions of Americans who are suffering from an untreated mental illness of addiction,” he said.

Fedcap Board Chair Mark O’Donoghue acknowledged several VIPs in attendance including HRA Commissioner Steven Banks, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, and NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray – who he described as the driving force behind important initiatives in NYC to deliver mental health services to low-income and at-risk populations.

Ms. McCray introduced Representative Kennedy, thanking him for breaking “the conspiracy of silence around his own troubles” with the publication of his book, and for his signature legislation, The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act, which provides equal access to care and treatment for people with mental illness. She thanked Fedcap for its efforts on behalf of individuals with mental illness and intellectual disabilities; “New York City is so lucky to have an organization like Fedcap fighting on behalf of our neighbors who face barriers to employment. I saw first-hand how Fedcap is changing lives when I visited Fedcap’s WeCare site in Brooklyn.”

In his remarks, Representative Kennedy called the fight for the rights of people with mental illness – including access to treatment that is equal to those with physical illness – “the new frontier of social justice.” He called for funding to be directed to support outcomes, not just deliver services, and to prioritize placing people who suffer from mental illness in supported environments where they can work and enjoy independent lives.

Representative Kennedy spoke of mental illness in moving and personal terms. He said that unacknowledged and untreated mental illness is corrosive to every single person in a family, and that none of us in society escapes its impact. He said that policy makers pay lip service to mental illness, but if this were a physical disease like diabetes or cancer, it would be considered a public health epidemic.

“We all know the secret sauce of health care reform is managing the depression and mental illness off people in the community, the workplace and in health insurance plans where people are neglected because of the shame and stigma of having that diagnosis,” he said.

Representative Kennedy discussed the great work being done in New York State to improve access to care for veterans, and innovative programs to help individuals with untreated mental illness and addiction who are involved with the criminal justice system.

In closing remarks Representative Kennedy graciously thanked Fedcap for its work in providing opportunities for people with barriers to find jobs. “Thank you Fedcap for your work in what is so essential and often missing in discussions about mental health and addiction, and that is employment, which in our culture is tied to self-esteem. What President Kennedy tried to do with the Community Mental Health Act of 1963, to help people lead productive lives while living with their families in their communities, is what Fedcap does every day.”

Solution Series: Immigration and Its Impact on Business

Solution Series: Immigration and Its Impact on Business

On Thursday March 26th over 150 people representing businesses, foundations, nonprofits and government, participated in person and via streaming in Fedcap’s 9th Solution Series. The topic was “Immigration and Its Impact on Business.”

A panel of distinguished thought leaders convened at the Mutual of America building in Manhattan to explore a range of questions related to immigration including visas, the untapped immigrant workforce, marketing a business to immigrant populations and cultural diversity in the workplace.

“The Solutions Series was established five years ago to have open, honest discussions about topics of importance to the business community,” said Fedcap CEO Christine McMahon, who opened the event. “Historically, our national perspective on immigration could best be summarized by the iconic poem that is mounted on the Statue of Liberty that begins “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” The conversation today would be about “bring me your entrepreneurs, skilled workers and innovators.”

The panel was introduced by Fedcap Chief Strategy Officer Lorrie Lutz, who moderated a highly engaging and informative discussion. First to speak was David Dyssegaard Kallick, Director of Immigration Research Initiative at the Fiscal Policy Institute. Kallick described a population of 41 million immigrants in the United States that is incredibly diverse both culturally and in the workplace.

“Wherever there is economic growth immigrants are part of the story,” he said. “Companies that do not understand immigrant populations will lose their competitive edge.”

Bo Young Lee, Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Marsh LLC, the world’s largest insurance company, discussed how a shortage of skilled workers forces companies that would rather hire U.S. citizens – it’s much easier and less expensive – to turn to foreign workers through the H1-B visa program. She also discussed how Marsh has strived to create a culture of inclusion. Companies that are successful in bringing immigrant workers into a recruitment pipeline often fail at creating an inclusive hiring process. To do so requires a greater awareness of cultural mores around body language, expressions of emotion and other factors.

Luis Tejada, Vice President of Sales, Goya Foods, Inc., talked about how Goya grew from a small Main Street business founded by Puerto Rican immigrants in 1936 into America’s largest Hispanic-owned food company, with over $1 billion in annual global sales. A centerpiece of the company’s strategy is learning how to interface with different groups of immigrants, including a growing number of Korean and Middle Eastern customers. “History has proven that cultural inclusiveness is good for business,” he said. “No matter what, immigrants will continue to create opportunities and contribute socially, economically and politically to society.”

Fedcap COO Joe Giannetto closed the event with a personal story about his own parents who came to the U.S. as immigrants. He also talked about our history of hiring immigrants.

“Fedcap plays a huge role in the lives of immigrants and other populations, helping them achieve personal success and realize their dreams,” he said.