This post is written by Minea Moore, Global Supplier Diversity Manager at Intel Corporation. In this role, she oversees the strategic approach for inclusion and development of diverse suppliers within Intel’s worldwide supply chain. Prior to Intel, Minea worked for Hewlett Packard and Honeywell. She has an undergraduate degree in Supply Chain Management from Arizona State University and an MBA from Babson College in Massachusetts. She lives in the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix, AZ) and is the mother of two daughters.
Destiny often enters your life well before you expected. After a decades-long career in sales and marketing, Trudy Bourgeois felt a calling for something different. It was back in 2001 that she made the leap from corporate America to form The Center for Workforce Excellence, a leadership development company that specializes in diversity, inclusion, and cultural change.
“A series of events led me to reflect upon my life, and I made this big, bold decision to step away from a successful career and do my own thing,” Bourgeois recalls. “I always knew I wanted to teach. I thought I would do it at 50, but God had a different plan.”
Now 14 years in, The Center for Workforce Excellence has helped dozens of Fortune 500 companies, including Intel, with a focus of building opportunities for women and people of color. Bourgeois’ company, which only counts her and her husband as full-time employees with four part-time employees, has continued to grow and succeed due to a combination of Bourgeois’ business prowess, a strong network of strategic relations with equally powerful thought leaders and subject-matter experts, and the ability to adapt to the latest workforce trends. Bourgeois has been working in various capacities with Intel since 2007 on what she calls corporate America’s “last frontier”: supplier diversity.
“Bias shows up in a lot of different areas, including where companies spend money,” she explains. “That is why supplier diversity was created — it’s a department that didn’t even exist 20 years ago. From my vantage point, you don’t know who can bring you what if you don’t create a platform of inclusivity.”
Bourgeois is based in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, but these days, she travels more than 100,000 miles per year, inspiring change and evolving her business model to reach the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs and business leaders. Today, she notices a sea of change across America: Female business owners, specifically women of color, have become the fastest-growing segment in the marketplace.
“More younger professionals are opting to do their own thing,” Bourgeois says. “The old way of thinking has to change. We have to convince business leaders that it’s about culture. More women will continue to do it, and younger women will continue to do it.”
Bourgeois notes that the shift toward millennial-aged business leaders has been a particular inspiration over the past few years.
“I’m starting to see younger people in the roles that are responsible for bringing people like me in,” she says. “The courage that young people have is inspiring. They are also moving for causes — things that touch their spirit and their heart. You see people saying, ‘I don’t like the way this works, and I’m just going to jump out there and do something about it.’ There’s a resurgence of innovation, but it’s more disruption than innovation. We’re going to see more stuff come out of left field.”
This evolution has pushed notable changes in workforce strategy, and, over time, has changed how Bourgeois presents leadership and diversity trainings. What was once like a traditional classroom environment complete with paper-based coursework is now a fully immersive digital experience. Still, the focus for The Center for Workplace Excellence remains steadfast.
“I always think about what their business needs,” Bourgeois says. “A CEO cares about people, performance, and profits. I step back and say, what is it that I can bring to the table that would impact that equation, and then I craft a story. I like research, and I like to present evidence that clarifies a problem. Intel just embraced a huge opportunity. You have to recognize where the future growth of your company is going to come from. It’s going to be female, and it’s going to be multicultural. I love the fact that Intel is at the forefront [of gender balancing its leadership].”
As a baby boomer, Bourgeois admits she is charged by millennials’ sense of freedom. Her challenge is to figure out how her message is going to relate to people who don’t necessarily have a respect for hierarchy and don’t have the tolerance for bureaucracy — those disruptors that are changing the scope of modern business.
Bourgeois knows the business world can be ruthless. What fuels The Center for Workforce Excellence is an effort “to bring humanity back.” She wants employees to feel good about where they work, and to feel happy. It sounds like an easy fix, but it’s a very complex problem. In the end, her goal is to change spirits.
“It’s all about the lives that I’ve touched,” Bourgeois says. “I see people now who say, ‘You’ve changed my life.’ That is priceless. It gets me up every day.”
For more information on Trudy Bourgeois, visit the Center for Workforce Excellence website and follow her on Twitter. To see how Intel is developing a diverse and inclusive workplace, visit our Global Diversity and Inclusion site.