Earlier this year, Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business hosted their inaugural forum entitled “Moving from Conversation to Action.”  The day-long event featured incredible speakers such as Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, CWB’s founding director Betsy Myers, and the renowned leadership and business author Tom Peters, among many others. 

For those of us who weren’t lucky enough to be one of the 700 attendees, there are videos of the featured speakers and panel discussions available to view online here.

Bob Moritz on “The Whole Person”

Among all the important ideas put forth, I was most taken by something said by the forum’s keynote speaker Robert E. Moritz, Chairman and Senior Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Moritz began his speech on a personal note, talking about how his experience working in Japan allowed him some insight into what being the minority felt like, along with how the difficult birth of his second child and his divorce challenged him to find balance between the complications of his personal life with his growing career.

Moritz explained that his candor was illustrative of an essential point: our personal lives and our business lives do not need to be separated. In order for companies and workers to thrive, the whole person must be invited into the workplace. He said:

“One of our biggest challenges is to make sure we’ve got the right environment to have hard conversations, that we’ve got the environment where people feel they can pick up the phone and have an informal conversation; pick up the phone and talk about a work issue as well as a personal issue.”

Moritz continued:

“If we’re not talking about the stuff that’s going on outside of work, we’ll never create the environment to talk about the whole person. And if you can’t talk about the whole person, you won’t get the performance you need. If you can’t get the performance you need, [workers] won’t be successful and the organization won’t be successful.”

PwC’s Commitment to Diversity

PwC has shown an extraordinary commitment to diversity. Last year, PwC became the Center for Women and Business’ founding corporate partner thanks to an extremely generous $1 million donation. And this year, PwC topped the list at #1 on DiversityInc’s 2012 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.

The company offers forward-thinking programs such as Full Circle, in which PwC employees who leave the company to have children or for other such personal reasons can stay connected with their PwC colleagues and take advantage of several firm resources for up to five years. The Full Circle program participants have access to the following benefits:

  • A coach (Partner, Managing Director or Director) to keep in touch with throughout term of program
  • On-site and virtual training
  • Reimbursement for annual licensing and credentialing

As Moritz pointed out in his speech, this kind of program is win-win – great for his company and great for the workers. He notes that between paying a recruiter and training new employees, each hire accounts for an approximate “$100,000 hiring exercise.” Cutting all ties to those former employees who take a leave of absence to raise young children costs the company money and fails to retain valuable talent.

Moritz said “the greatest risk in transforming the global economy lies in standing still.” He applauded the Center for Women and Business for “putting talk to action and action to impact.”

And I applaud PwC, Moritz, and, of course, the Center for Women and Business for being thought leaders on how to create forward-thinking companies that support, engage, and inspire their employees, their industries, and the global community.

I encourage you to watch Bob Moritz’s entire speech, and the rest of this exciting forum.


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