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Helping Organizations Understand the Business Case for Diversity

July 1, 2019 //

Jameel Rush photo

“I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be successful,” says Jameel Rush, BBA ’07 and adjunct professor at the Fox School. “Barriers to success for individuals and businesses exist. What drives my passion is creating those opportunities and ways to overcome those barriers to help organizations tap into every resource they can.” 

As associate vice president of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) for Aramark, Rush leads D&I programs and initiatives across three areas: workforce, workplace and marketplace. He works to ensure that the company hires talent with backgrounds that reflect the communities the company serves, the culture values differences and drives innovation through inclusion and that they partner with diverse suppliers.

Aramark, a leader in food, facilities management and uniforms, has been recognized for diversity and inclusion efforts by organizations including the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), Diversity, Inc. and BLACK ENTERPRISE

Rush has played a significant role in making these achievements possible by working to highlight the possibilities for an organization that is highly inclusive and attracts talent across all walks of life. Along with making executives understand the business case for diversity, he investigates the importance of things like the language used in job postings, how culture and process effect talent recruitment and how diversity in suppliers helps to drive profits. 

In 2013 when he first joined Aramark, his interest in D&I was born. He was on a team responsible for designing, developing, implementing and managing an employee resource for young professionals focused on specific issues that impact them. “I fell in love with inclusion work once I was exposed to the industry,” he explains. The next year, he took the next step in his career and was named director of diversity and inclusion for the company. 

At the Fox School, Rush teaches courses in organizational leadership and business ethics. In this role, he blends his real-world experiences into lessons for students. But he does not have to force the issue, as topics like D&I often come up naturally because they are ingrained in the lives and courses of the modern college student. 

“We discuss issues like unconscious bias and discrimination—what they look like and how they function in today’s culture—and the importance of organizational policies to combat them from an ethical and a business standpoint.” 

The most important piece of advice Rush would give students and prospective students looking in his footsteps is to network, network, network. He suggests being intentional about maintaining those relationships and building an authentic brand in order to be remembered.

“Everyone has their own unique path,” he says. “Mine is one of many. But my opportunities have come from making friends and associates. If you get your name out there and do good work, a lot can happen.” 

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