Black Experience

Illinois Governor Performs Chocolate Milk Stunt to Champion Diversity

Making a glass of chocolate milk is more than just a snack, but an important lesson for Fortune 500 companies, according to diversity and inclusion executive Tyronne Stoudemire for Hyatt Hotels (not one of DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity.)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) joined Stoudemire at the Thompson Center in Chicago on Wednesday to discuss workplace diversity during a Black History Month event. Stoudemire, who is Black, decided to use chocolate syrup as a metaphor for underrepresented people, and milk, white men.

“If you look at every corporate website and you look at its leadership team,” Stoudemire began while pouring milk into a glass held by Rauner, “you’ll see all white men, a few white women and just maybe an Asian in technology.”

Stoudemire continued, “The chocolate syrup represents diversity — women, people of color, people with disabilities. It’s the aging population [and] Generation X, Y and Z.”

He then poured some of the liquid into the glass.

“It’s not that organizations are not diverse,” Stoudemire said.

He then asked the audience: “When you look at most organizations, diversity sits [at] what?”

“The bottom of the organization,” he answered.

“You don’t get inclusion until you actually stir it up,” he said, then told Rauner to stir the syrup into the milk.

“Diversity is the mix, and inclusion is making the mix work,” Stoudemire said. “And, it actually tastes pretty good. I’m not going to ask the governor to drink it.”

“I’ll be proud to,” Rauner said, and then took a gulp.

“It’s really, really good. Diversity!” Rauner proclaimed to the crowd.

Stoudemire has been using the chocolate milk routine for 16 years, according to The Chicago Tribune, “as a simple way to illustrate the lack of diversity at the top of Fortune 500 companies.”

Rauner wasn’t aware he would participate in Stoudemire’s routine.

“He usually picks on the most powerful person in the room to be his assistant, he said, adding that Rauner ‘didn’t know what he was getting into,’” the Tribune reports.

Watch CBS Chicago’s video clip:

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