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Corning leader among ‘top executives in corporate diversity’

Recognizing "Top Executive in Corporate Diversity"

Corning's Diversity & Inclusion head joined the ranks of the most influential leaders in her field when Black Enterprise named her a "2018 Top Executive in Corporate Diversity." The achievement recognizes Monica Bankston's leadership and adds to a long list of accolades for Diversity & Inclusion at Corning.

"This recognition says that, with support from executive leadership, Corning is continually moving the needle on Diversity & Inclusion," said Monica, talent manager, Global Diversity & Inclusion. "We're doing an incredible amount to stay at the forefront of diversity and inclusion efforts, and not just in the U.S., but globally."

The prestigious list includes leading professionals "who drive innovation, productivity, and profitability by ensuring a diverse workforce, leadership, corporate governance, and supply chain." Black Enterprise identified the executives from Fortune 1000 companies and 100 leading global companies with a strong U.S. presence. Their roles focus on diversity and inclusion, and they have implemented policies or strategies related to the participation of African Americans and other ethnic minorities.

These executives also play a critical role in strengthening the global competitiveness of corporate America, according to the article in Black Enterprise: "At the same time, it is their job to communicate why this focus represents one of the major drivers of corporate strategy, institutional ingenuity, audacious leadership, market hegemony, and top-line and bottom-line growth."

Similarly, Corning's leadership sees diverse talent as a strategic advantage that drives innovation – and is inseparable from the Values that are foundational to the company's culture.

"Corning's deep commitment to diversity and inclusion is rooted in our Values, which guide all of our actions and ultimately set us apart from our competitors," said Christy Pambianchi, senior vice president, Human Resources. "We are dedicated to creating a workplace where all employees can reach their potential, and we are proud of the recognition Corning has received, under Monica's leadership." 

"Corning's deep commitment to diversity and inclusion is rooted in our Values, which guide all of our actions and ultimately set us apart from our competitors."


- Christy Pambianchi, Senior Vice President, Human Resources

During her five years at Corning, Monica has helped expand the definition of diversity and champion it around the globe, in alignment with the broader Human Resources vision.

"Diversity is not just a race or gender initiative," Monica said. "It's about what we can all bring to the table to enhance the work that we're doing at Corning and to create an inclusive environment."

She has formed new resource groups around disabilities (ADAPT); families (Corning Family Support Network); veterans (C-VETS); and Latinos (Global Latino Organization). Globally, she has developed diversity strategies tailored to different regions, based on each society's history and culture. One region, for example, might need a strategy for generational diversity; another might need one for gender diversity. As a result of the regional strategies, many locations have started their own chapters of well-established Corning employee resource groups, such as the Corning Professional Women's Forum and the Corning Professional Network.

Behind the scenes, Monica is an informal mentor to many, who helps ensure intentional stretch opportunities for diverse emerging talent.

All of these initiatives have resulted in continued, measurable progress for diversity in leadership at Corning. Since 2006, it has increased from 23 percent to 42 percent in the Corporate Management Group, from 8 percent to 28 percent within Corporate Officers, and from 14 percent to 33 percent on the Management Committee.

"We're not just following in diversity and inclusion, but raising the bar on ourselves and staying contemporary with best practices – and setting some of those best practices," said Eric Elder, division vice president, Talent Management.

In addition, Monica has partnered with the Corning Museum of Glass, the YMCA, local hospitals, and school districts.

"It's very exciting that other organizations in the community see that we're doing really great work," Monica said. "They want to know how they can tap into the employee resource groups, so new hires in the area can have a home and be part of the community."

She also champions diversity while serving on the boards of the Rockwell Museum, the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc., the Cosmopolitan Women's Club of Chemung and Steuben County, and Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, as well as on the national Corporate Advisory Council for the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Of the dozens of diversity recognitions Corning has received, the Black Enterprise list holds a special personal significance for Monica. Her family subscribed to the magazine when she was growing up.

"Black Enterprise is an important publication because its readers get to see business leaders, community activists, entertainers, healthcare professionals, politicians, and everyday people who are making a difference not only in African American communities, but in communities across the country and around the world," Monica said. "I'm honored to be part of that."