Minority Rules: Turn Your Ethnicity into a Competitive Edge

Book of Note: Minority Rules: Turn Your Ethnicity into a Competitive Edge

By Kenneth Arroyo Roldan and Gary M. Stern

Can being a minority help you in the work place? Yes, says Ken Roldan, co-author of Minority Rules: Turn Your Ethnicity into a Competitive Edge (written with Gary Stern, Harper Collins 2006). But he says minority employees make several errors when they enter corporate America. Here are some pieces of advice graduates can take to improve professional success:

#1: Don’t expect special treatment
Nowadays, most companies claim to respect diversity. But tap your alumni network to find out if the big guns like IBM, GE or PepsiCo are as open to promoting minorities as they say they are. And even then, remember that the biggest factor for success is your performance.

#2: Cast a wide net when looking for a mentor
When Carlos Valle, currently a manager at Merrill Lynch, started his career, he gravitated toward mentors with different experiences. Each mentor helped him navigate the corporate minefields and gain promotions. Don’t only look for mentors who look and act like you.

#3: Avoid boxing yourself in when networking
Attending meetings of ethnic organizations can be beneficial. But don’t limit yourself. Going to open houses with senior executives, joining volunteering functions, even attending company wide book clubs can be just as helpful in making contact with executives who can help boost your career.

#4: Learn from your ethnicity
When Melvin Young was a marketing executive at Johnson & Johnson, he had to convince his bosses to develop a targeted approach to selling Children’s Tylenol to minority parents. Young’s knowledge of the ethnic market helped his career and boosted sales.



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