The National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM) recently launched its Corporate Equity Center, which will provide programs to learn, discuss, and reflect on how inequities filter into decisions that are barriers to Black advancement in corporations and other workplace settings. AutoZone has provided many resources and contributed $5 million seed funding to launch the Corporate Equity Center.

“We are very fortunate to have a longstanding partnership with the National Civil Rights Museum.  A tremendous special thank you to our incredible AutoZoners, the National Civil Rights Museum’s team and so many others for making the launch of the Corporate Equity Center a reality. AutoZone’s early support is a direct reflection of both our commitment and responsibility to push for more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments everywhere,” said Chairman, President and CEO of AutoZone, Bill Rhodes.

Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, national protests and persistent social unrest, the National Civil Rights Museum, among other efforts, sought to create and develop world-class programming based on the education of the historical root causes of civil rights issues in America to create positive present-day change. The NCRM’s power of place uniquely positions it as a site of conscience, reverent resource, and comprehensive storehouse of stories about Black experiences directly impacted by racial discrimination, implicit bias, and microaggressions. Its interpretative experience educates and instills a deep understanding of “how we got here” and how racism continues to be a systemic problem.

The Center’s first program, The C-Suite Initiative, is geared to ensure the most senior corporate decision-makers are presented with the facts, experiences, and tools needed to make equitable decisions that change the systemic landscape of the hiring and advancement of Blacks. The program helps to provide guiding goals to drive progress, effectiveness, and ongoing tangible outcomes for the inclusion of Black representation and senior leadership in C-suite positions.

“We are grateful for the vision of AutoZone and its leadership to invest deeply in our continued efforts toward equity and justice,” said Dr. Russell Wigginton, National Civil Rights Museum president. “The transformation of representation will only occur with intentionality and boldness, and The C-Suite Initiative is intended to provide the most senior leaders of organizations the context and tools to deepen your resolve to drive systemic change from their unique seat of power.”

The C-Suite Initiative will combine the historical knowledge of NCRM with the need for strategic and culturally relevant leadership on eradicating racism in corporate America with the goal of increasing representation of Black executives in senior leadership and C-suite positions across industries.

The pilot began last November with top executives from First Horizon Corporation. With the C-Suite Initiative, corporate executives engage in a curriculum designed to heighten awareness of racial inequities. The experience starts with the specially curated museum tour that sets the path for the enlightening presentations, deep discussions, and take-aways for designing measurable solutions for Black executives to advance to C-suite and senior executive leadership roles.

“The First Horizon leadership team is honored to be the first executive group to officially participate in National Civil Rights Museum’s Corporate Equity Center’s leadership program,” said Bryan Jordan, President and CEO of First Horizon Corporation. “Through this experience, our team gained additional information and tools that can be used to address inequities within talent management processes and continue to build a diverse team at every level in our organization.”

The museum is now receiving inquiries for The C-Suite Initiative from executive decision makers interested in designing and implementing practical solutions to include the structures, policies, procedures, and processes to increase the number of Black executives in Senior Leadership and C-Suite roles within their organizations.

For more information, visit corporateequitycenter.org.

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