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UArizona building corporate diversity

Eller College Executive in Residence
Ken Photo October V2 2020.jpg
Posted at 7:02 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 07:44:15-05

TUCSON, Ariz (KGUN) — How to bring more diversity and inclusion to the workplace is the challenge for a distinguished Arizona businessman who will serve as Executive in Residence for University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management.

Ken Udenze is Arizona managing partner for Deloitte, the large international audit and consulting firm. He’ll bring more than 30 years experience to U of A’s Eller College, with a special emphasis on the future of the workplace. It’s a future he sees with clients demanding much more diversity and inclusion.

Udenze says the events of 2020 accelerated that trend.

“Everybody's saying, ‘Okay we got to do better, whatever we've been doing previously was not working.’ And there's a sense of how should I put it? ‘How can I help, what can I do better,’ as opposed to the defensive position of saying, ‘Well, if I don't have the students or the qualified employees, I cannot hire them’”.

FULL INTERVIEW: Ken Udenze

RAW INTERVIEW: KGUN 9 interviews Eller’s Executive in Residence Ken Udenze

Udenze says instead of waiting for qualified candidates to appear on their own, companies should reach young minorities early, and convince them if they build their skills there will be a place for them in top levels of business.

“You got to get to the high school. You got to get to the community colleges because you start to see a divergence. Those that even have the capacity, the qualifications and everything else because of financial constraints or lack of exposure would naturally just go to community colleges.“

He says universities should work to identify those students and companies should work to mentor them.

“You want to make sure that whether you call them, the underrepresented minorities or what have you, that they are prepared to be able to take advantage if you want to say that I'll be able to perform at that level where equal access is granted so it's not just given access, but people prepared to operate within the access that's been given to them.”