Need help with DEI?A chat with John Rice, CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow

November 8, 2021

Need help with DEI?A chat with John Rice, CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow

John Rice

Founder & CEO, Management Leadership of Tomorrow

CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow John Rice believes in calling companies in, not calling them out when it comes to diversity.

CEO of Management Leadership for Tomorrow John Rice believes in calling companies in, not calling them out when it comes to diversity in the workplace. On this week's webcast, John discussed the need for organizations to take a rigorous approach to DEI, the three degrees of racism, and his incredible family history.


This Walker Webcast features John Rice, Founder and CEO of Management Leader for Tomorrow. Prior to founding MLT, John worked for the National Basketball Association as the Managing Director of NBA Japan and Director of Marketing for Latin America. Before that, John worked for Walt Disney in their Strategic Planning Group. He attended Yale and played varsity basketball and to the Harvard Business School. Additionally, he sits on the boards of trustees at Yale University, Open Door, and Walker & Dunlop.

To begin, Willy asks John how he became so good at always asking the hard questions. John has always believed that everyone has their own physical or intellectual gift, and a large part of one's life is dedicated to uncovering that gift. John is someone who tends to be able to see other people's gifts before they themselves even can. This ability aligns perfectly with his own line of work with MLT.

Willy and John then pivot to discuss John's family history. His grandparents immigrated to the United States from Jamaica in 1911. His grandfather, a cobbler by trade in Jamaica, suffered an injury and became a janitor while building an incredible family in Maine. Because of the actions of their own parents, John's parents were given the opportunity to achieve the American dream. John describes his grandparents as magnetic, determined, humble, hardworking, and bright.

John's father grew up in South Carolina during the Jim Crow era. By pursuing higher education, he was able to find his path out of the segregated south and achieve his dreams. While on scholarship in India, John's father realized for the first time that most of the world does not see race as a determinant factor of what someone is capable of achieving. This experience helped him free himself of the notion that racism was his problem. John knew early on that he wanted to focus his career on impact.

Then, the conversation shifts to discussing John's company, Management Leader for Tomorrow. As of now, MLT has about 2,500 fellows per year in its program and about 10,000 rising leaders as alumni. Through mentorship and coaching, as they enter the corporate world, MLT has undoubtedly had a huge impact on their cohort of high potential minority students. John shares that the focus of the company is to advance racial equity in this country through individual and institutional lenses. They source top talent for 200 organizations with the goal of amassing a workforce of diverse talent. Diversifying the workforce is the critical element to address the persistent inequities of our society.

Then, John explains his theory that there are three degrees of racism. Understanding these three degrees of racism is key to expanding economic mobility and power for people of color. Sixteen months after George Floyd's murder, John believes there has been some progress in unwinding these deeply rooted ways of thinking and operations. Though he sees some of the direct-action weaning, there was a fundamental shift in the entire dialogue around race in institutions.

Finally, John explains how MLK is supporting organizations in their efforts to move the needle towards diversity in a comprehensive way.


Learn more about John Rice
Learn more about Management Leader for Tomorrow
Check out Walter & Dunlop's website

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