Roger Ferguson says that corporate diversity and promoting a multi-chromatic work force are two of the most essential elements needed in order to fix the nation’s broken economy and troubled labor industry.
As the head of one of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) in New York—one of the world’s largest financial services firms with more than $453 billion assets under management and 7,500 employees– Ferguson, 59, is perhaps the most cogent and effective person to outline specific initiatives to help boost the sagging economy. He did just that last month at a benefit in New Brunswick, NJ and was awarded the Business Achievement Award by the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ). “Companies that pursue a workforce that is diverse in terms of age, skills, training, culture and way of thought will outperform those that do not,” Ferguson said. “It’s important to surround yourself with people who are just as good if not better than yourself in the workplace—this includes a diversified workplace.” He added that fostering an environment where colleagues are not afraid to speak up loudly and boldly and challenge longstanding views and opinions is another aspect of promoting a heterogeneous workplace.
Ferguson is also a member of President Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and a former vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. A leading economist and sought after financial consultant, he said a complete turnaround of the nation’s economy will probably not occur for several years because a number of factors influence the world financial markets—including the war in Afghanistan, government spending and overall uncertainty and skepticism of investors. For example, in a magazine interview last year, Ferguson noted that in order to pay for some of the Obama administration’s various initiatives to jump-start the economy, new or additional taxes will have to be implemented and government spending will have to be augmented. “There are going to have to be places where the government spends less and a fair amount of this money is for a short-term stimulus. The government’s 10-year plan clearly calls for pulling back and moving closer to balance when it comes to the budget,” he said. To find out more about TIAA-CREF and investment strategies and suggestions from Roger Ferguson, visit the TIAA-CREF web site at www.tiaa-cref.org