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Working Relationships Between Women and Men of Color: 2005 Catalyst Awards Conference Explores Workplace Alliances

Workplace alliances, key to anyone’s success but a particular challenge for women and men of color, was the subject of a special panel discussion at the 2005 Catalyst Awards Conference, where more than 400 people gathered to explore the latest issues related to diversity and advancing women in today’s workplace. 

“Catalyst has consistently found in our research that one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks women of color face in the workplace is forming strong relationships,” said Katherine Giscombe, Ph.D., Catalyst Senior Director of Research. “For women of color, it can be a challenge to be accepted as an authority figure and also gain access to key influential people in the workplace.” 

According to Catalyst’s 2002 Women of Color in Corporate Management survey, the most frequently cited barriers to women of color’s career advancement include a lack of mentors or sponsors, fewer opportunities to network with influential people, and a shortage of role models of their own racial/ethnic group. 

The panel discussion, featuring a diverse group of five individuals from various fields and ethnic backgrounds, was Catalyst’s first-ever discussion to focus on both women and men of color in the workplace and how they can work together to build stronger workplace alliances.

The panelists shared what they’ve learned in navigating their own organizations when working with or hiring a fellow person of color, and how they’ve gone about choosing a woman or man of color as a protégé. The panelists included Clyde Jones, National Director, Diversity & EEO/AAP, KPMG; Annie P. Cheung, WW Vice President for Distribution Channels Management Planning and Implementation, IBM; Sachin Sondhi, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting; Manny Espinoza, CPA and CEO of ALPFA; and Lesia Bates Moss, former Real Estate Finance Group Senior Vice President, Moody’s Investors Service. 

About Catalyst
Catalyst is the leading research and advisory organization working with businesses and the professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women at work. As an independent, nonprofit membership organization, Catalyst uses a solutions-oriented approach that has earned the confidence of business leaders around the world. Catalyst conducts research on all aspects of women’s career advancement and provides strategic consulting services on a global basis to help companies and firms advance women and build inclusive environments. In addition, we honor exemplary business initiatives that promote women’s leadership with our annual Catalyst Award. With offices in New York City, San Jose, California, and Toronto, Catalyst is consistently ranked No. 1 among U.S. nonprofits focused on women’s issues by The American Institute of Philanthropy. For more information, please visit