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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Stan Gryskiewicz, January 15, 1999. Interview S-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The Center's commitment to diversifying their managerial staff

Gryskiewicz discusses how the Center for Creative Leadership worked to employ more women and minorities over the course of his nearly three decades working with them. Gryskiewicz expresses pride in the Center's commitment to creating a more diverse managerial staff and he outlines some of the measures they took in order to accomplish that.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Stan Gryskiewicz, January 15, 1999. Interview S-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Let me use the remarks about moving out on a global stage to reach back to raise an issue that might in some ways be connected. As you stretch out now to do your work in other cultures and other places, I'm reminded that CCL has its own, has had its own interesting experience sort of accommodating itself to changes on the race and gender fronts, sort of meeting new cultures here in the United States, so to speak. And I'm wondering about your perspective as you look back at CCL's encounter with shifts in race and gender over time.
That was wonderful. I lived through that and as much as we talked about it, we didn't do it. And finally professional women came on board first and one of them being Linda Helgerson. And now we have some wonderful professionals here who are going to take us to the next century really well and we're really positioning ourselves well for that. And they bring in an enriched environment, culture that was not here before. And I'm pleased that we're part of that. How many presidents of organizations only have two white male vice presidents? And I can't name many. And the people at the top of the organization I think are good people. They're thoughtful people. So I just think it's wonderful as we present ourselves externally to the world and they have the race and gender issue have been played itself out successfully here.
You sort of attribute responsibility for the ultimate success of CCL on that front mostly to the persons themselves who sort of came on and pioneered in new roles, the women, say? Or was there some point where the institution said we need to make a commitment to change?
The institution made a commitment there too. And it goes back to DeVries and Ulmer doing some of it. But yes. And then when we finally had people coming from industry to work here where that was more common, that helped with the transition. But no, there was a commitment to that. I know that I heard an African-American woman who was away from Amdahl Computer Corp in San Francisco. Now how do you get someone from San Francisco to come work in Greensboro? Well, we hooked her on values and we also—she wanted to come east again. She grew up in New York City. She still has her place out there. She still kept her place. But the other thing that we hooked her on was the signing bonus which was unheard of before. The Center made some accommodations on how to structure, how to get people we wanted to get that we would just have to bite the bullet and do.
That's quite interesting. When did you hire her?
Early 90's. David was still here. And he's the one who in fact I said, "David, we have an excellent professional here but the salary range is just stupid." And he said, "Well, everyone has to keep salary ranges together, but how about a signing bonus?" And I said, "Can we do that?" And sort of it was a nudge, nudge, wink, wink to me that it had been going on in that last year because I know that there had been other minorities coming into the organization. And I said, "Great!" And I called her up here and she said, "Great idea." And I said, "When would you like it?" She said, "Wait until next year for taxes." I said, "Okay." And so those were some accommodations that were made to do the recruiting and I think some of the salary levels have caught up with issues.