REDMOND, Wash., May 15, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Claudette Whiting, a 20-year industry veteran and former director of employee initiatives for DuPont, will join Microsoft as senior director of diversity.
“We are very pleased to have Claudette joining the Microsoft team,”
said Deborah Willingham, senior vice president of Human Resources at Microsoft.
“Claudette has a very strong track record in creating a diverse, multicultural work environment that provides opportunities for people of all experiences and backgrounds to grow and advance.”
According to Willingham, Whiting will play a central role in helping Microsoft meet its goal of becoming the leader in workplace diversity in the high-tech industry.
“We have a great opportunity in the technology industry to meet the growing demand for a skilled work force while also continuing to advance our efforts to create a more diverse work force to ensure our products and services genuinely reflect the needs and priorities of all our customers.”
Whiting will lead Microsoft’s corporate diversity efforts, which are focused on attracting, developing, promoting and retaining employees from diverse communities and backgrounds. In addition, she will be responsible for outreach to diverse populations.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for me,”
“I am impressed by Microsoft’s commitment to really making a difference in the area of diversity – not just within the company, but also as a leader in the broader industry. Microsoft understands that a culturally diverse work force is important to the company’s long-term success and will enable the company to anticipate and respond to the needs of a global marketplace.”
Whiting most recently was director of diversity and work/life at DuPont Worldwide. She joined the company in 1981, and the programs she developed at DuPont are recognized nationwide and have become models for many private and governmental agencies.
Whiting is considered an industry expert in work-force diversity initiatives, is a frequent lecturer on leading change in corporate America, and serves on a wide range of task forces and committees regarding organizational change. From 1995 to 97, Whiting chaired the Work-Force Diversity Council of The Conference Board, a global organization of Fortune 500 member companies that focuses on improving the business enterprise. She also played a major role in developing and launching The Conference Board’s first-ever Diversity Conference. Most recently Whiting was named to the Board of Advisors of Catalyst, one of the nation’s premier nonprofit organizations striving to advance women in business and the professions. She also serves on Catalyst’s Women of Color Advisory Board.
In recognition of her professional contributions, Whiting has received a number of awards. In 1995 she was named Outstanding Achiever in Private Industry by the Brandywine Professional Association, and in 1997 she was recognized for her outstanding contribution to business and the community by the Wilmington Chapter of The National Political Congress of Black Women Inc. In 1998 she received The Very Prestigious Woman Award from Dollar & Sense Magazine, and in 1999 she was recognized by the Afro-American Historical Society of Delaware in its exhibit entitled
“African American Women of Achievement.”
Whiting also has been listed in Who’s Who in Science and Technology and Who’s Who Among Black Americans.
“Claudette Whiting created a diversity program at DuPont which has become a model for many other corporations,”
said Mathieu Vrijsen, leader of DuPont Corporate Human Resources.
“She developed a global Strategic Staffing Initiative to expand diversity across the company. But perhaps most significantly, thanks to Claudette’s strategic leadership, DuPont developed an intrinsic value for diversity as a key aspect of the business process, helping us all to recognize diversity as a driver of enhanced business performance. In addition, she led the improvement of work/life programs. She served as a role model and as a valued mentor to many colleagues. Claudette leaves a legacy of having helped create a respectful workforce which values the diversity of all people.”
Whiting is a graduate of Morgan State University, where she received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. She and her husband, Reginald, are actively involved in encouraging inner-city youth to obtain admission and scholarships to college.
Whiting replaces Microsoft’s former director of diversity Santiago Rodriguez, who died unexpectedly last fall. According to Willingham, Microsoft took great care in finding Rodriguez’s successor because it was looking for someone who possesses that
“rare ability to open people’s eyes about the importance and value of a multicultural workplace.”
“In Claudette we have a candidate who can build on the foundation that Microsoft has laid to instill a culture of operations that believes it must have an ongoing, introspective way of looking at its people, its hiring processes and its commitment to a truly diverse work force,”
“We know that Claudette shares our passion that true diversity means building a diverse work force and creating an environment where all employees can contribute fully to the success of our business. It also means considering cultural factors when making major business decisions. It means fighting the tendency to do business as usual. It means learning about other people and examining how your personal values affect your behavior toward others.”
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