A Conversation with the Council on Foundation’s Floyd Mills
Rockville, Md., Aug. 2 – Growing up, Floyd Mills, the vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for the Council on Foundations, pictured his dream job in any field but diversity. Yet, Mills has been promoting workplace diversity and inclusion for the past two decades.
Everyone’s path is different,” Mills said. “This is just my story.”
Upon graduation at the University of Maryland, College Park, Mills started his career with Accenture, where he specialized in informational technology. Working for Accenture gave Mills the chance to travel around the country and the world. Living and working in Atlanta, San Francisco, London and Melbourne provided Mills with amazing experiences. Upon being assigned to a city that, for Mills, did not offer the same level of appeal, he realized that the job was not his passion and made the decision to pursue a position elsewhere. His job search led him to apply for a Human Resource position at the same firm. Little did Mills know that application would completely alter his career path in the long-term.
The Human Resources position with Accenture enabled Mills to broaden his skillset. It also enabled him to assume the responsibility for the local diversity initiative. Earlier in his career, Mills had became acquainted with other colleagues of color, with whom he quickly bonded at periodic potluck dinners to discuss issues surrounding diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
When asked why he and his colleagues did not have these conversations in the office, Mills explained that the offsite potlucks provided for more comfortable and candid conversations. With a great deal of determination and collaboration with his coworkers, Mills worked on developing Accenture’s first affinity groups, an element of the diversity program which is still in place today.
According to Mills, today’s workplace is more sophisticated with regard to matters pertaining to diversity and inclusion. Individual and organizational culture has become a topic of conversation at work. Mills provided an instance in which the Council on Foundations’ staff participated in a dialogue after a string of shootings directed at people of color. The Council on Foundations’ mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good.
“At the table, we have different thoughts and ideas to consider,” he said. “If we had similar thought patterns, we could not deliver diverse thought.”
Mills’ hope for the future is that innovative discussions surrounding disability issues will have a radical presence in society’s conversations related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
“With disabilities, we’re not as far along. With time, our society will become more culturally competent allowing us to move the needle on inclusion.”
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