This Footwear Firm Was Celebrated as a Top Company for Gender Diversity & Workplace Equality

diane-sullivan-Caleres
Caleres Inc. CEO Diane Sullivan at the 2017 Footwear News CEO Summit.
Patrick MacLeod

Caleres Inc. continues to rack up prestigious accolades for championing diversity and equality within its workplace and boardroom.

This morning, the St. Louis, Mo.-based firm and its CEO, Diane Sullivan, were honored at the Women’s Forum of New York’s biennial Breakfast of Corporate Champions for achieving at least 25 percent female representation on its board of directors. Under Sullivan, Caleres this year added two additional female members — MagicLeap’s Brenda Freeman and MediaLink’s Wenda Harris Millard — bringing its total to seven women, or 55 percent representation.

“The days of selecting a homogeneous board is antiquated — for good reason,” Sullivan said. “The insights and perspectives we gain from diversifying our board will help to propel us into the new and fast-changing global consumer landscape.”

Unfortunately, companies such as Caleres are in the minority, as gender parity in the boardroom remains widely unrealized in corporate America despite its high correlation with stronger company financial performance. Currently, men occupy 80 percent of all S&P board seats. Only 17 percent of all S&P 500 companies have achieved 40 percent or more women on their boards. A mere 20 percent of Fortune 1000 board seats are held by females.

“Caleres knows that more women on boards is smart business, and their continued success is an inspiration to others,” said Janice Reals Ellig, CEO of The Ellig Group and chairwoman of the Breakfast of Corporate Champions event. “We congratulate them on their work toward achieving a greater gender balance in their boardroom.”

In yet another new honor, Caleres earned a score of 100 percent on the just-released 2018 Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality, conducted by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Caleres is among 609 major U.S. businesses also scoring top marks on the index.

To determine its ratings, CEI administrators evaluate LGBTQ-related policies and practices including nondiscrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBTQ community. Caleres’ efforts in meeting all of the criteria resulted in its top ranking and designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.

“It’s an important honor for us to again be among the businesses achieving 100 percent on the index,” said Doug Koch, Caleres’ SVP and chief human resources officer. “We believe our company should be as diverse as the consumers we serve, and we are proud to be recognized on this level for that.”

To view the complete 2018 Corporate Equality Index report, visit hrc.org/cei.