Brandon Jones, CDP is Manager for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging at Comcast where he has worked for close to 16 years. Brandon started his journey with Comcast as a Communications Technician in the city of Chicago where his career would continue to grow progressively on the technical operations front. From there, he transitioned to Customer Experience where he found an untapped passion for cultural transformation. Here, he was afforded the opportunity to lead Comcast’s black serving ERG where he was pulled incrementally into the DEI space. Over time, Brandon also became involved with Comcast’s Unidos ERG serving its Latinx community as he began to explore his multiracial identify. More recently, he was afforded the opportunity to move full-time into the DEI space where he now dedicates his days to crafting inclusive programming at Comcast that celebrates and examines the multiple and intersectional dimensions of employees’ identities. Brandon has been involved with the ILDC since 2020, and he currently acts as a newly minted board member. I had the opportunity to discuss Brandon’s flourishing career at Comcast and the work he is currently doing in early June.
David: Tell me a bit about your professional journey and how you found yourself in your current role.
Brandon: I am the manager for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging for Comcast’s Central Division. We cover everything under the talent umbrella, so we have a lot of insight and influence over how we can cultivate more diverse candidate pools. We can also strongly suggest diverse interviewing panels, and we are currently creating a DEI Talent Playbook that helps our recruiting team members have more courageous conversations when consulting with hiring managers filling for vacancies. I also focus on the external facing piece as well to consider: how is Comcast amplifying its messaging to be more attractive to diverse talent? What stories are being told on LinkedIn? And finally, how are we celebrating what we are doing from the community impact perspective?
Lastly, ERGs are a third of my work, so I am constantly questioning what we are doing to invest back into that member base. Comcast is going on about 8 years since we started our ERGs. There is a huge investment that the company makes to celebrate cultures while also recognizing how they intersect. When you see the money invested into celebrating heritage, I believe it truly creates a huge sense of belonging amongst employees by showing them that they are understood.
David: Comcast sounds very advanced in its DEI journey–what do you think has positioned your company for success in this area?
Brandon: I think that inviting executives in has set the tone and allowed the space for courageous conversations across the board. We encourage team members to have touchpoints with their teams that address difficult topics. We want everyone to come out of these harder conversations feeling enlightened. We have also been intentional about establishing key responsibilities for folks within our ERG committees. These folks are hungry and high potential- they are coming in looking not just to exude passion, but to be set up for exposure internally. These folks are creating special moments within our company and cultivating a safe space to find other people that are just like them.
David: What are some of the ways that you have observed the DEI space change in the past two years since the summer of 2020 when the murder of George Floyd put a renewed emphasis on DEI for many companies?
Brandon: I feel that the commitment is still there, but the momentum has slightly slowed down. It is pressed upon folks like me and you that are focused on the DEI space to continue to tell the story and keep our mission moving forward. I have seen more intensified focus on external facing missions, such as creating equity for small businesses in our supplier chain, such as women-led enterprises. Comcast has also led in the community outreach sector through the Comcast Rise initiative that supports small businesses in this vein effected by the pandemic.
David: Where do you see the future of DEI headed?
Brandon: In the Central Division, where we are headed is ensuring that DEI has a seat at the table for business decisions, not just from talent lens but also in how we market and represent ourselves to the larger public. Thinking to the internal piece, retention is a huge area of focus for us as well. There are so many considerations because DEI covers such a broad spectrum- we must consider the generational piece, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and the list continues. We want to be thoughtful about how we develop team members, and how we consider people for opportunities from a talent bench perspective. We are asking ourselves how we can break norms and educate people to get comfortable with less normative selections. We are doing this work through our Talent Playbook and other efforts. I feel strongly that you have to plant many seeds when doing this work. There is not a simple flip of the switch that goes on, but rather it is little by little that this work is accomplished.
About the Author
David Sanchez-Aguilera, PHR is a Human Resources Program Manager with PuzzleHR and Chair of the Illinois Diversity Council’s Editorial Committee.