American’s Employees Build on Graves’ Legacy
Of Diversity and Inclusion as a Business Imperative
FORT WORTH, Texas – American Airlines employees Gary Kennedy, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, and Frank Stanton, Tower Manager–Chicago, were awarded the first Earl G. Graves Award for Leadership to recognize their work in advancing diversity and inclusion within the company and in their communities in a ceremony Wednesday at American’s headquarters.
The award was established in honor of Earl G. Graves, Sr., founder and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine, who influenced many of American’s diversity initiatives during his tenure on AMR’s Board of Directors. Graves helped American establish its practical, business-minded approach to diversity and worked to demonstrate that American’s diversity efforts are integral to its business goals. Graves served on AMR’s Board of Directors for many years and chaired the AMR Board Diversity Committee from 2002 until his retirement in 2008.
Graves attended the event and personally recognized the honorees along with American Airlines Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey, Roger Staubach, Chairman – AMR Board of Directors Diversity Committee, and a number of American Airlines and American Eagle employees.
“At American Airlines, we have always taken very seriously our responsibility to promote diversity and inclusion,” said Denise Lynn, Vice President-Diversity and Leadership Strategies. “We thank these deserving colleagues for their leadership. We know they have inspired others, not only through their passion and dedication over time, but through actions which have had a lasting, long-term positive impact on our company.
“We believe that our long-time commitment to diversity in the workplace, as a company and as individuals, has truly helped to move hearts and minds from a place of simply tolerating differences to one of active appreciation and inclusion.”
In addition to Kennedy and Stanton, La’Wonda Peoples, Manager-Workplace Giving and Volunteerism, and Sherri Macko, Manager-Supplier Diversity and Business Strategies, were recognized for their exceptional work for diversity and inclusion.
Award candidates were nominated by their fellow employees. Winners and honorees were then chosen by a selection committee made up of senior management and members of the company’s Diversity Advisory Council based upon three primary selection criteria:
- Long-term commitment to leadership
- Demonstrated passion and commitment to diversity and inclusion
- Legacy of leadership in diversity by having a lasting impact on the company
Kennedy and Stanton were nominated for their continuous commitment to the company’s diversity mission and for their ability to incorporate diversity into American’s daily operations.
Kennedy, a 25-year American Airlines employee has long been active in promoting diversity at American and within the legal profession more broadly, and has recently been recognized for his efforts with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s 2009 Employer of Choice Award and the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Bar Association’s 2009 Allies for Justice Award. In addition, Kennedy established American’s pro bono program in which participating attorneys provide legal services to indigent clients. Kennedy also helped establish a mentoring program for minority students at Texas Wesleyan law school.
Stanton, a 42-year American Airlines veteran, has been instrumental in the success of American’s Chicago O’Hare diversity and inclusion efforts. He helped establish the Chicago chapter of the African-American Employee Resource Group (AAERG), and was honored as AAERG member of the year in 2007.
He also served as a member of the local Diversity Action Council, where he first helped organize opportunities for exposure to areas of interest and developed on-the-job training in the 1970s to aid diverse employees’ advancement. Today, American’s Walk-A-Mile program continues to provide employees with the opportunity to shadow fellow employees in areas of interest.