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One Houston Together

While the issues of racial inequity and systemic racism are not unique to Houston, we have an opportunity as Houstonians to lead the way in reforming broken systems, partnering with communities, offering support and removing barriers. We often speak with pride of Houston being "America’s most diverse city." Now we must work to make Houston "America’s most inclusive and open city", one that does truly offer "opportunity for all." The Partnership and the 1,100 member companies and institutions we represent are committed to this endeavor.

Racial Equity Principles

The Partnership’s Racial Equity Principles are a framework to communicate the Houston business community’s pledge to reforming systems of bias, strengthening underserved communities, advocating inclusion, and removing barriers to achievement. Although many businesses have made their own individual statements and pledges, this unified approach sends an important signal about the Houston business community’s collective commitment. The Principles articulate how the Partnership and individual businesses can commit to advancing racial equity within their organizations and throughout our community.

One Houston Together Webinar Series

As part of the effort to build a shared understanding around these issues, the Partnership hosted a webinar series in September 2020 to educate our members and the broader community on racism and systemic inequities. These sessions did not focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but rather on racism at its most fundamental core — how it exists in us as individuals, in our relationships, our organizations and our systems. Topics included Health and Racial Inequities, Understanding Racism, Developing Equitable Communities and more.

The goal of the series was to foster a desire within participants to embark on their own personal learning journeys and apply that knowledge to their lives and work. We encourage you to watch the recordings of these sessions. 

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Understanding Racism

Defining and understanding systemic and individual racism.

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Education and Racial Inequities

How does race affect the educational opportunities afforded to ...

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Health and Racial Inequities

A look at why race-based disparities remain in outcomes, access...

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Developing Equitable Communities

Today, a person’s zip code remains one of the best indicators...

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The Business Community's Role in Addressing Racial Inequitie...

What can individual companies and the broader corporate communi...

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Houston Demographics

Greater Houston Basic Demographics

A look at the Houston population by race, ethnicity, age, educa...

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Urban Disparity

The Kinder Institute examines gaps in income, educational attai...

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Understanding Houston

Understanding Houston aggregates data across multiple sources t...

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Racial Equity Committee

The Partnership has created a new board committee that will guide the organization's actions to address racial equity and racial justice issues in Houston. The mission of the Racial Equity Committee is to harness the collective commitment and resources of Houston’s businesses and institutions to advance bold solutions to strengthen Houston as the most diverse, inclusive and equitable city in the United States.

This committee will operate at the level of our two other “board-member only” direction-setting committees, the Public Policy Steering and Economic Development Steering committees. The new committee will be co-chaired by Ruth Simmons, President of Prairie View A&M University, and Gretchen Watkins, President of Shell Oil Co. Click the link below for the full roster of committee members.

Greater Houston Population Growth and Change

The October 2019 edition of the Partnership's Houston Economy at a Glance looks at the most recent demographic data for the Houston region, including race and ethnicity, foreign-born residents, age and more. 

Talent Resources Group

Launched in 2019, the Partnership's Talent Resources Group (TRG) provides HR professionals, ERG leaders and recruiters with access to information to grow their companies most important resource: talent. Topics address talent attraction and retention, diversity and inclusion, enhancing corporate culture and more. The group's largest annual event is the Houston NEXT ERG Summit. 

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Upcoming Event

Houston NEXT: An ERG Summit

Bringing together D&I, HR leaders and Talent Attraction professionals, this event explores how Houston must take a leadership role in addressing diversity, equality, inclusion and justice for our region and workplaces.

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Guiding Internal Conversations About Racial Inequity, Injustice with Employees

In the weeks following George Floyd's death and protests in response, businesses across the country have made public statements against racism, injustice and racial inequity. Some pledged money toward social justice efforts. Other organizations are honoring Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery, as an annual holiday. Many business leaders are also bringing the national conversation to their staff to address these issues within their organization.  

Suggested Reading and Listening

The Partnership staff have compiled this short list of suggested books, podcasts and other resources that provide insight on these complex issues.

Additional Resources

Read studies and recommendations on addressing these important issues and learn what other organizations are doing to combat systemic racism and bias. 

This report from Deloitte offers practical ideas for leaders and organizations to take action. 

This report from McKinsey & Co. examines the widening racial wealth gap that disadvantages black families, individuals, and communities and limits black citizens’ economic power and prospects.

The Urban Institute examines how structural racism continues to disproportionately segregate communities of color from access to opportunity and upward mobility by making it more difficult for these populations to secure quality education, jobs, housing, healthcare, and equal treatment in the criminal justice system.

Driven by data and informed by conversations with business, government, academic, and civic leaders, the U.S. Chamber developed an initial Equality of Opportunity Agenda to advance private sector solutions and best practices, scale impactful programs, and drive policy action at the federal, state, and local level. 

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives provides resources and guidance for chambers working to address inequity within their communities. 

The International Economic Development Council provides resources, tools and reports around racial equity and equality. 

 

The Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs from leading U.S. companies, offers information around racial justice including data, CEO perspectives and other resources.  

Related News

Digital Technology

Rice’s D2K Lab Offers Companies Free Data Science Assistance

3/3/21
Businesses and organizations in the Houston region looking to better understand their data to help make smarter decisions have a resource at Rice University.  Rice’s Center for Transforming Data to Knowledge, or D2K Lab, offers a weekly Data Science Consulting Clinic where organizations can get advice on how to collect, analyze and use their business data to plan for the future. It’s just one of the offerings of the center, which also manages its Capstone program that helps companies, researchers in the Texas Medical Center and community organizations run big data projects over the course of a semester or year.  “These programs offer our students an opportunity to work with real world data science challenges while at the same time helping our partners leverage our student talent, as well as computational and machine learning capabilities, to find the solutions they need,” said Jennifer Sanders, program administrator for the D2K Lab. “Our consulting clinic is great because it’s free, it’s open to the public and it gives organizations and companies ideas on how to start to look at this data they have in new and useful ways.”  Client organizations can schedule a virtual appointment with students and faculty in the clinic each Monday between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Students use this time to understand the challenges and objectives of the organization and then take the remainder of the week to develop a plan for the client to collect and use the data they need. Clients even get an additional free consultation with their team to help analyze the data they begin to collect. For example, a restaurant manager wanting to project his maintenance costs in the year ahead could work with clinic students to develop a statistical model analyzing previous costs and making projections to assist with the restaurant’s overall budget.  Before COVID-19, the clinic was a drop-in offering for organizations who were able to visit the Rice campus. Now that it’s gone virtual, the clinic’s reach has expanded to more organizations across the metro area, Sanders said.  The clinic has assisted more than 100 different organizations over the last two years, and more are learning about the opportunity each week.  “This work gives our students the experience of working on teams, presenting their findings—all of the things that make them a better professional,” said Shanna Jin, communications specialist with the D2K Lab. “What we’re really doing is training the next generation of real-world problem solvers.”  The information and data shared with the Lab is protected under sponsored research agreements for Capstone projects and waivers for clinic clients.  Learn more about the program and schedule an appointment at the clinic. 
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Racial Equity

More than 100 Houston Companies Commit to Principles of Racial Equity

3/2/21
HOUSTON—More than 100 Houston area companies representing over 220,000 employees have committed to a set of racial equity principles developed by the Greater Houston Partnership. The principles clearly communicate a position on business behaviors and actions the Partnership and individual businesses can commit to in advancing racial equity within their organizations and throughout the community. Although many businesses have made their own individual statements and pledges, this unified approach sends an important signal about the Houston business community’s collective commitment. The Partnership’s development, adoption and call to action around the principles follows nine months of work to determine how the region’s principal business organization would engage and lead the business community on this important issue.  Amid the ongoing national conversation around racial equity and justice, the Partnership last summer launched One Houston Together, its commitment to leverage the power of the business community to address racial inequity in our region. While the issues of inequity and systemic racism are not unique to Houston, the Partnership believes the business community has an opportunity to lead the way in reforming broken systems, partnering with communities, offering support and removing barriers.  The Partnership began by conducting a series of listening sessions with leaders in the Black community last June to gain a greater understanding of key issues and challenges. The information gathered from these listening sessions helped define the focus of One Houston Together.  In August, the Partnership created a new board committee to guide the organization's actions through One Houston Together. The mission of the Racial Equity Committee is to harness the collective commitment and resources of Houston’s businesses and institutions to advance bold solutions to strengthen Houston as the most diverse, inclusive and equitable city in the nation. The committee is co-chaired by Ruth Simmons, President of Prairie View A&M University, and Gretchen Watkins, President of Shell Oil Co. Click here to see the full roster of committee members. “The Partnership has a responsibility to help ensure our region is a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed,” said Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Partnership. “We have to be more than just the most diverse city in the country—we must work to be the most inclusive city. By launching One Houston Together and forming our Racial Equity Committee, we now have a pathway to lead the business community on these important issues and realize meaningful change.”   “I have been greatly heartened by the robust collective enthusiasm of Partnership members for identifying concrete actions to address racial inequities in employment and business opportunities,” said Racial Equity Committee Co-Chair Ruth Simmons. “Their commitment bodes well for the future of our city.” The committee has engaged in a process of reflection, listening, and debate to establish the set of eight racial equity principles, which were approved unanimously by the Partnership’s board in December. The Partnership has asked its member companies to commit to the principles within their own organization. Since December, 120 companies have signed the pledge to demonstrate their commitment to the principles within their own organizations.   “The principles established by the Greater Houston Partnership will drive member businesses to attract, develop, and progress the careers of people whose opportunities have historically been limited,” said Racial Equity Committee Co-Chair Gretchen Watkins. “As we follow through with our commitment to these principles, Houston’s workforce and corporate leadership will more closely reflect this city’s brilliant diversity, while our professional culture becomes even more caring and inclusive.” In September, the Partnership hosted a series of conversations around racial equity under One Houston Together, featuring experts on topics including understanding racism, health and racial inequity, and developing equitable communities. The five events drew more than 1,830 participants and subsequent viewers. To help understand the existing landscape of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts among Houston companies, the Partnership conducted the first regional survey of member and non-member companies in November. It’s important to note that the survey results are not meant to be representative of the entire Houston business community, rather an indication of how DEI activity is progressing in the responding companies.  The survey found that 94% of responding companies have started DEI work within their organizations, with 54% having been on the DEI journey for five or more years. Roughly 90% of respondents have active recruitment efforts to attract minority job candidates. Almost 50% or respondents, however, indicated that they have no formal DEI plan and that there is a significant perception gap between CEOs and staff regarding DEI goal achievement. Normalizing conversations about race, opportunities to learn from others, and lack of metrics to assess progress on DEI were also cited as top areas of need at local companies. Over 60% of respondents indicated they have no spending goal for diverse supplier contracting, which is a theme the Partnership also heard in the early listening sessions with Black entrepreneurs.  The survey data helped the Partnership determine two areas for immediate action: enhance corporate DEI with a focus on advancing equity throughout the talent pipeline and supporting equitable entrepreneurship for historically underutilized businesses. The organization is in the early stages of crafting an action plan.  To support planning and implementation, the Partnership recently created a new executive staff position. LaTanya Flix, a veteran of DEI, strategy and community engagement in Houston and nationally, was hired in December as Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Flix understands the importance of having a coordinated and intentional focus on equity to maintain economic growth and the vitality of the Houston region for all residents. She is leading the development and implementation of the Partnership’s internal DEI strategy and broader efforts throughout the greater Houston region. Flix also serves as executive staff liaison to the Racial Equity Committee. “The Partnership is proud to convene and lead more than 100 area companies committed to the One Houston Together pledge in taking concrete actions that create positive change for Houstonians,” said Amy Chronis, Chair of the Greater Houston Partnership and Houston Managing Partner for Deloitte. “As a business community, we have the opportunity to come together to promote equity, root out bias and take action against systemic racism and social injustice. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.”   Quotes from Business Leaders Who Have Signed the Pledge  Houston’s incredible diversity gives us the unique opportunity to be a leader in inclusivity. The Partnership’s racial equity principles are the framework we need to educate and empower our business community to make meaningful change. – Uwem Ukpong, Executive Vice President of Regions, Alliances & Enterprise Sales, Baker Hughes   “It is past time that the corporate sector take a more deliberate and intentional role in bringing about further economic, racial and social equity. That is why Bank of America fully supports the Partnership’s efforts to make Houston the national leader not only in diversity, but in inclusive business practices and responsible growth.” – Hong Ogle, Houston Market President, Bank of America “As a corporate citizen of the greater Houston community for 25 years, Burns & McDonnell proudly joins the Greater Houston Partnership in its commitment to advancing racial equity throughout our communities, knowing our long-term success depends on our shared progress. We pledge to: practice and encourage behaviors building trust and understanding rather than resentment and bias; set measurable goals and practice rigorous accountability in our diversity, inclusion and outreach efforts and within our own institutions; regularly engage with and listen to underserved people and communities to deepen our understanding of the inequities experienced and seek to partner with them and create lasting solutions. Together, we stand united as One Houston.” – Leslie Duke, President, Burns & McDonnell Houston  “Current discussions around systemic racism, inclusion, and diversity demonstrate the importance of taking bold actions to create a more equitable and sustainable future.” – Antonio Neri, President and CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Inc. “We are fortunate to live in a city of extraordinary diversity, and that diversity is a source of both excellence and joy that fuels the success of Houston. But we cannot realize that excellence and that joy unless we commit to fully achieving equity, opportunity and inclusion.  All of us, and especially our educational institutions, must play an active role in this endeavor.” – David Leebron, President, Rice University  “At Waste Management, we are family of nearly 50,000 from all walks of life and it is the richness of our diversity that makes us strong. Bound by our purpose of always working for a sustainable tomorrow, and with inclusion and diversity embedded in our company values, we are committed to making a positive impact from the inside out. From fostering an inclusive environment for all teammates to thrive, supporting supplier diversity, and partnering with community agencies to create a bridge to career opportunities, we are committed to being part of the solution.” – Jim Fish, President and CEO, Waste Management  ### Greater Houston Partnership The Greater Houston Partnership works to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business. As the economic development organization for the Houston region, the Partnership champions growth across 12 counties by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success. Representing 1,000 member organizations and approximately one-fifth of the region’s workforce, the Partnership is the place business leaders come together to make an impact. Learn more at Houston.org. A.J. Mistretta Vice President, Communications          (c) 504-450-3516 | amistretta@houston.org Maggie Martin  Senior Manager, Communications          (c) 832-690-0206 | mmartin@houston.org  
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