By Kamryn Perez and Rashaud Foster
When it comes to maintaining a successful and prominent corporation, leaders who take the initiative to become champions of diversity, equity, and inclusion always have the center focus.
Bob Jimenez makes it no debate why he was named one of the most influential Latino people in America. Voted by the Hispanic Business magazine, Jimenez was awarded for being one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America in 2007. By 2018, he was named one of Georgia’s 50 most influential Latinos by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Currently, Jimenez is holding the senior vice president of corporate affairs at the U.S.’s third largest cable provider, Cox Enterprises.
Since joining the company in 2002, Jimenez has had a broad range of leadership experience that now includes responsibility for public affairs and brand reputation, several digital platforms, and internal and external communications. Not to mention the determination for diversity and philanthropy amongst everyone at Cox Enterprises.
Having a career in the communications industry for over 30 years and in senior roles with Cox Enterprises, Jimenez was a director of global communications and international marketing at AFC Enterprises. In 1999, he joined Walt Disney World as the manager of public affairs, serving as their official spokesperson for the resort and in 1992, he served as administrative director of marketing and public relations for Advent Health, one of the nation’s largest faith-based health systems.
While in college, Jimenez explained how he didn’t really have much knowledge of the communications industry. As a business major at Southern Adventist University, he acknowledged being invited to different public affairs events that helped gravitate him towards his eventual career path.
He later attended Rollins College where he received a Master of Business Administration with a focus in marketing and international business. Having his first opportunity at Opera Orlando in 1989, he knew he would be making public affairs and communications his stable career.
“There were always passionate leaders across the establishments and always multiple roles that needed to be filled,” he said.
When Jimenez arrived at Walt Disney in 1992, he began to see what would inspire him to become a champion for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. He was allowed to shadow a fellow Latino like himself, and this executive just happened to be the resort’s highest-ranking official overseeing 70,000 employees.
“That executive gave me the understanding that diversity is not really discussed often,” said Jimenez.
While at Disney Jimenez began to understand that minorities become the general audience and companies really do invite people who look like or identify like them to apply for their companies. Human experience is what makes any foundation solid, Jimenez recognized that starting early with seeking leverage to building brands and companies would significantly drive business. As a mentor now, Jimenez tries to focus on how to make more diverse voices heard and understood.
“Diverse talent sometimes doesn’t feel comfortable being heard,” Jimenez said, “We have such valuable views we need to articulate them in discussion not just sit back, we need to use our voices and speak up.” He is an active board member of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, which hosts an annual DEI Summit.
Through his every day journey Jimenez constantly stresses the importance of authentic goals. Serving on the company’s Actions Speak Task Force, he has worked with passionate leaders across all levels of employees who are dedicated to ensuring that inclusion is always leading to innovation.
From working with diverse supply chains and ensuring quotas are met yearly, to using and advocating for diverse journalism and media outlets like the (N.A.B.J., N.A.H.J., A.A.J.A, etc.) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has always been a major priority. Jimenez notes that businesses who are not looking for diverse talent at Historical Black colleges, in Hispanic organizations, and other minority-based locations are doing their companies a disservice not only morally and ethically, but also fiscally. Furthermore, if companies are seeking out diverse talent, they must ensure the hiring process and culture of their organization is prepared to welcome and host.
“At the end of the day, it’s about reinvesting to the community’s supply chain,” said Jimenez. “It’s not just about perfection, it’s about Progress.”
Key Takeaways from Bob Jimenez’s Interview:
- People from diverse backgrounds have such valuable views; They need to be articulated in discussion.
- When invited to the table, add your own perspective respectfully. It doesn’t have to be a polarizing experience; It can be a beautiful two-way experience.
- Think holistically about business in matters of Public Relations
- The more texture and color you add to a conversation, the more you will be consulted about other topics.
- Seek out Mentorships and sponsorships
- Don’t ever be afraid to share your voice!