DiversityInc Names Starwood in Top 50

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. was named one of DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity for 2004. This marks the second year that Starwood is featured on the respected list, and was chosen because of its dedication to creating an environment of inclusion and diversity for its customers and more than 110,000 associates worldwide. A total of 178 companies participated in DiversityInc’s fourth annual ranking, reflecting an increase of more than 50% from last year. The complete list of winners and results will be detailed in the June/July issue of DiversityInc magazine, the premier business publication on the business benefits of diversity.
“Broadening diversity and inclusion, working hard on mining the talents and uniqueness of our vast diverse associate base is now part of our corporate soul,” said Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Hotels. “Our customer base is diverse and so must be our company and its leadership if we are to be connected to our customers and the communities we serve. We are excited and honored to be recognized on DivisersityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity for a second year, and promise to continue to build upon our diversity and inclusion program through Starwood’s diversity recruitment efforts and establishing new business partnerships with minority businesses and owners.”

Some recent highlights of Starwood’s diversity initiatives includes the introduction of Regional Diversity Councils, the successful roll-out of Managing Inclusion training and the launch of its Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program, on-line vendor registration and database. The company also introduced an Associate Development program, which was designed to prepare Starwood associates at the property level for new assignments. Starwood associates also have access to a company wide internal diversity website that contains information about ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts, and where employees can ask questions about diversity and discover resources to broaden their own awareness and understanding.

This year’s ranking is twice as detailed as last year’s and is the most in-depth analysis of corporate diversity management, leadership and marketing that ever has been undertaken. For the first time anywhere, valid standards to evaluate any company in the United States against the best were developed in every category. To assess the companies’ measurement programs for evaluating diversity success, they were asked, specifically, if they had data on four key areas: CEO Commitment, Human Capital, Corporate Communications (internal and external) and Supplier Diversity.

“This year, the questions were analyzed over a period of six months and virtually all of them were revised or augmented, for a total of 122 questions that are so specific and detailed that a true, metrical picture of corporate diversity emerged,” noted DiversityInc Executive Editor Barbara Frankel.

“Starwood operates in 80 countries around the world and it is simply good business and a competitive factor to be as diverse as the customers we serve,” says Ana Mollinedo, Vice President of Diversity, Communications, and Community Affairs for Starwood. “We continuously strive to show our commitment to these communities and are honored to be recognized for these efforts.”

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Starwood values the diversity of people, ideas and cultures. In keeping in line with that statement, the company aims to create an environment of inclusion for associates, guests and suppliers where their talents and experiences are valued and leveraged to provide high standards of performance.
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