Champions of corporate inclusion: these top executives are striving to make America's workforce diverse.

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IN BUSINESS, THE COMMITMENT TO CREATE AND MAINTAIN a diverse and inclusive environment starts at the top; to excel, it must become ingrained in the fabric of the company.

For instance, Cynthia Bowman, chief diversity officer at Bank of America, drives the diversity and inclusion strategy for the company. She emphasizes the importance of the CEO's dedication to best practices. "The commitment is very clear; it's from the top. Brian Moynihan, our CEO, sits on our global D&I council that's comprised of leaders across the bank in all of our regions. The council is charged with partnering with our organization to develop and implement our D&I strategy throughout the bank."

Bowman says that even though inclusion is at the core of the bank's operating principles, progression is still paramount. In addition to using scorecards to measure progress, she and her team conducted a study of Bank of America's data over the last five years to understand the state of the company. "We cut the data multiple ways to really understand the progress we've made and where we need to focus moving forward."

In the case of some of the nation's largest corporations, diversity executives drive the inclusion strategy and implement policies to not only recruit a diverse workforce and supplier base, but also to retain a pool of talent and leadership that reflects the communities or clients in which it serves. As such, black enterprise has developed the 2016 list of "Top Executives in Corporate Diversity" to highlight the most influential, high-ranking executives that lead diversity initiatives at the nation's largest companies. This year's roster represents C-suite executives and senior directors whose primary responsibility is to design and implement corporate policies and programs that promote advancement of African Americans, Latinos, and other ethnic minorities, as well as women, the disabled, and the LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) community throughout the rank-and-file, senior management teams, and the supply chain.

To select our Top Executives in Corporate Diversity, k editors consulted major corporations and identified the leading corporate executives charged with driving corporate diversity efforts within some of the nation's largest entities.

* We selected chief diversity officers, global diversity executives, executive and senior vice presidents, vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, and directors who lead diversity initiatives vital to the business objectives of their respective parent companies.

* All executives have overall diversity and inclusion as their sole function or primary responsibility as part of their managerial role.

* We excluded HR execs who deal solely with human resource functions and corporate foundation executives without diversity management in their responsibilities.

* All executives listed have confirmed roles as of April 15,2016.

* We excluded all companies that declined to respond to the verification process of BE Research.

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Ash Hanson

VP, Diversity and Inclusion

& Chief Diversity Officer

Aramark

As CDO, Hanson has responsibility for the implementation and oversight of the global diversity and inclusion strategy for the company across workforce, workplace, and marketplace. She works with internal stakeholders and external partners to implement diversity initiatives such as the company's global Employee Resource Groups, executive mentoring programs, a common D&I training platform across the enterprise, and creating partnerships with community organizations.

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Cynthia Marshall

SVP & Chief Diversity Officer, Human Resources

AT&T Inc.

With more than 30 years of experience and recognition in the telecommunications sector, Marshall is proud to play a vital role in AT&T's diversity efforts.

"From the largest company to the smallest volunteer group, every voice matters," she says of her diversity philosophy. "Everyone has a unique perspective to contribute to a cause, and we should welcome it from the beginning to deliver the best results."

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Cynthia Bowman

Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Bank of America

Spelman alum Bowman was named CDO last year and serves as the chief strategist and leader for diversity and inclusion from a global standpoint.

"Our focus on diversity helps us attract great talent, but our commitment to being inclusive helps us develop and retain talent, offering our customers and communities unique perspectives to best serve their financial needs," she says.

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Michael Ford

Vice President, Global

Diversity & Inclusion

Boeing

Ford develops and executes Boeing's global strategy on diversity and inclusion, implements a diversity recruiting strategy, as well as develops partnerships with internal and external diversity stakeholders.

"Employees who work in an environment where their differences count are more driven to achieve their full potential, which enables Boeing--and its people--to grow," he says.

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Josie Thomas

EVP, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

CBS Corp.

Tiffany Smith-Anoa'i

EVP, Diversity, Inclusion and Communications

CBS Entertainment

Thomas leads multidimensional diversity and inclusion strategies across the corporation and works with senior executives to develop talent, diverse suppliers, and national industry impact. Smith-Anao'i develops new diversity and inclusion and programs for CBS Entertainment. "At CBS, we know that only with the most diverse voices in the room do you reach the best business decisions," says Thomas.

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Eugene Kelly

VP, Global Diversity & Inclusion

Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Kelly aims to attract and retain the best people from a diverse and broad base of global talent; his prime motivation is to achieve equality.

"Our Senior Team's commitment to recognize, value, and leverage the differences that make each Colgate person unique is vital to the connection we share with our customers and the global communities we serve."

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Lissiah Taylor Hundley

Diversity & Inclusion Strategist, Corporate Human Resources

Cox Enterprises

As the company's senior diversity and inclusion subject-matter expert and an adviser to leadership, Taylor Hundley partners with Cox's divisions on enterprisewide diversity and inclusion strategies and ensures diversity is incorporated throughout the company's recruitment, talent management, and retention initiatives, as well as goal setting and business plans.

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Kenneth J. Barrett

Chief Diversity Officer

General Motors

Barrett, former U.S. Navy diversity director, was chosen to take on the CDO role because of his strengths and track record in diversity.

"Diversity and inclusion is a clear business priority," he says. "Finding and growing the best and brightest talent from around the world and capitalizing on new and emerging markets are critical to maintaining GM's position as a global leader"

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Danielle Brown

VP, Human Resources; Chief

Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Intel

Brown is responsible for leading the team's efforts surrounding Intel's goal to achieve full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in its U.S. workforce by 2020.

"Our vision for inclusion at Intel is to create an environment where all of our employees can bring their full selves to work. We want employees to spend their energy solving Intel's many complex...

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