As a Human Resources Specialist for the U.S. Mint-Denver and as an advisor/consultant for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Darryle Brown knows that a leader is only as good as his/her actions. It has been this belief coupled with 20 years of law enforcement experience that has aided him in successfully recruiting minorities and women thereby securing a position on the Denver Mayor’s Diversity Advisory Committee from 2006 to 2008. In recognition of his achievements Brown has received numerous media and community awards.
rolling out spoke with Brown about why changes in diversity recruitment need to begin at the top, why an MBA is not enough to demonstrate leadership and on why affirmative action is still valuable.
What has been the main challenges you’ve had to address when it comes to creating diversity in law enforcement?
The biggest one is the overall culture of the organizations. They struggle with diversity efforts because they don’t understand the dynamic or the importance of why diversity should reflect the communities that they serve. They have to change the culture and attitude from leadership down to sworn officers. It starts with the leadership. If they don’t make it part of their vision and focus on it, it won’t happen.
One of the things you stress is the importance of effective leadership to ensure diversity. In your opinion does obtaining an MBA help nurture such leadership qualities?
It takes more than an MBA to understand leadership. It’s important to establish hands-on experience working with teams of diversity. Those are the people who have a better chance at being successful leaders. So it’s more than book smarts or what’s learned at a university. It also has to be the practical application working in tandem with that.
Do you see the contemporary form of affirmative action as being successful in promoting diversity?
For me it is a tool to ensure accountability that everyone has the opportunity to apply for a job. If it is unable to accomplish that goal then there is no use for it. There are some people who misinterpret the entire point of it. I believe it was put into play for hardliners accustomed to the Jim Crow pre-civil rights era who did not want to make changes or welcome diversity in their businesses. So the government had to step in and ensure compliance with the law. In my experience agencies want to be in compliance with the law.