Is diversity good for business? CSC thinks so.
Jose Jimenez sees new position as way to reach corporate goals
- By Tania Anderson
- May 09, 2011
Jose Jimenez has been dealing with diversity his whole life, from migrating to the United States with 14,000 other Cuban children as part of the Pedro Pan campaign in 1961 to his role in shaping diversity as president of Computer Sciences Corp.’s North American Public Sector Strategy and Development division. Now as the company’s newly appointed chief diversity officer, Jimenez will refine the systems integrator’s strategy of diversifying its 93,000-person workforce, which is spread all over the world for the company based in Falls Church, Va. He recently spoke to Washington Technology about his plans and the state of diversity in the tech world.
What inspired CSC to create an executive-level diversity officer?
Jose Jimenez: It was a business decision that made sense to not only elevate the position and do more about diversity but also take into account inclusion. At the end of the day, it’s not diversity that matters but what you do with that diverse workforce to maximize their potential and contribute to the business goals of the organization.
How does CSC define diversity?
Jose Jimenez: You cannot come up with a cookie-cutter definition of diversity. What is valid in the U.S. may not be valid in India or Latin America. One of my tasks is to enhance our diversity strategy. In some places ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability are defined differently. So we want to make it relevant globally.
How diverse is the CSC workforce now?
Jose Jimenez: It’s very diverse, but we continue to make it more diverse. I don’t have specific numbers, but we do measure at all the levels of the different grades and try to determine the number of people at each level. What I’m trying to do is not only to increase that and ensure that we retain them but give them a path to success.
Why is diversity good for business?
Jose Jimenez: It brings a different perspective, an increased perspective into the solutions that we bring to the table. We have to look at the multidimensional aspects of diversity in order to provide what our clients are looking at. At the end of the day, our clients are diverse. If you look at the public sector, the people sitting on the other side are females and people of different ethnicities. We don’t want to come in and not reflect the same diversity position as our client.
Why were you interested in taking this job?
Jose Jimenez: You cannot succeed in business without having a diverse workforce. I have been very active in the Hispanic community, especially working in the IT sector. As a business proposition, we need an educated workforce. We have to do all we can to ensure that the people are there…get mentored and that we create an environment where people can succeed based on their full potential and not have glass ceilings. CSC, for 13 years now, has had a relationship with vendor associates for hiring IT professionals that happen to be disabled. It’s just a matter of refining and improving on what we have, which is robust to begin with.
Is diversity a problem in the tech sector?
Jose Jimenez: We all can do better. It’s an issue, especially as a baby boomers start getting to retirement age. You have the millennials and you have the baby boomers, and you have to accommodate an environment to make sure we maximize the potential of everyone.
What is your background?
Jose Jimenez: I came to the United States in 1961 and eventually ended up in Texas. I reunited with my parents two years later. I eventually graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington and went into the Navy and flew reconnaissance airplanes. I came in because my draft number was 52, but I loved what I did and stayed in the Navy 20 years. I then came into industry and have been [chief operating officer] of a couple of companies. And then I moved through the ranks at CSC, and here I am.
Have you ever dealt with discrimination personally?
Jose Jimenez: I’m here today not because anybody got in my way or prevented me from doing what I wanted to do. I am here today because there were a lot of people along the way that helped me, mentored me, noted my potential and allowed me to use my potential to the benefit of the organization I was working for at the time. We need to look at a positive and pragmatic perspective and provide an environment where we can do the same thing.