The Bold Faced Blog™

May 09, 2016

On the Lookout | A Bold Faced Blog Series … George Ramirez

Posted 3 years 73 days ago by Gretchen Hirsch

Ashton212 is honored to have a group of advisors who are the best of the best. This month, we’re happy to introduce George Ramirez as the newest member of our Lookout Team. After a 30-year career with Union Bank, George retired as Chief Diversity Executive, where he was responsible for broadening the diversity of the company’s senior management and executive ranks. In addition to working with executive leadership and members of the UnionBanCal Corporation Board of Directors—one of the most diverse corporate boards of any major U.S. company—he collaborated closely with key areas such as talent acquisition and management, diversity and inclusion, and training and development.


In his current company, George A. Ramirez Business Consulting, he works with a wide range of companies on business development, executive coaching and onboarding, diversity and inclusion, and strategic planning and change management. Ashton212 is delighted to have him aboard.


How did you come to be a member of the Lookout Team?

I did business with Sheila Lewis’s partner, Mary Ann Munro. When Mary Ann started with Ashton 212, I met Sheila, and she and I also hit it off right away. She fell into my “one of us” category. Certainly, I wanted Ashton 212 as one of Union Bank’s vendors, and now there’s a synergy between what Ashton does and what I do. It’s a good fit.


You were the Chief Diversity Officer at Union Bank. What’s the state of diversity in American business today as opposed to 10 years ago?

Speaking as someone who works in Southern California, I can say that American society is diverse. There’s no question about that. The issue is whether business is inclusive. I would say we have a long way to go there, and the horrible political rhetoric we’re all hearing now certainly doesn’t help the concept of inclusivity. In this increasingly diverse country, we need to do much more work in inclusivity, and it’s going to take a lot of time.


Why is inclusivity so important?

First, because it’s just the right thing to do, but equally important, it matters from a business and economic perspective. In Los Angeles, for example, the population is barely mainstream white. Affluence is growing in other communities—Latino, Asian, African American. The children of my contemporaries are going to college, and taking small businesses and building them into larger companies. They are part of the vibrant community that is L.A. and they need to become part of the economic fabric of the wider society. The better everyone does, the better the society does.


You seem to have wide-ranging interests and serve on lots of different boards. What primarily interests you?

Five years before I retired, which I did in my mid-fifties, a mentor took me aside and told me that before I left corporate life I should have a list of personal and family goals. He was right. I did that and made the decision to live my life more intentionally. I wanted to do things that were important, and I instituted a 100 percent “no jerks” rule in my life. So the boards on which I serve now are groups I really believe in. For instance, the San Diego Zoo Global Board of Trustees, where I’m on the executive committee, supports conservation efforts throughout the world, especially the preservation of habitats, which are critical to animal survival. Among other activities, I also serve as board chair at the San Diego Museum of Man, a unique anthropological museum.  

One thing I like about board service is that sometimes I can provide a different perspective, some cultural awareness, and some teachable moments for other board members, who may not be used to seeing leadership by a Latino man. That’s some of what I did in my corporate work and I continue that in this role.

What else is important to you?

I like to learn and stretch my mind in all sorts of ways, and I love spending time with family—my wife, daughter, son, and new granddaughter. Our daughter has an MBA and is a very successful banker in San Diego. She and her husband are the parents of our granddaughter. Like many Millennials, she wants to balance her life, so she works from home—and she’s the bank’s leading producer and was just promoted, so that’s working for her.

Our son, who graduated in physics and neuroscience, surprised us when he said he wanted to join the Peace Corps and today is stationed in The Gambia, one of the poorest countries in the world. We have just returned from Africa, where we went to get a sense of what he’s doing and to support his decision and his work. We’re very proud of both our children. 

Tags: Diversity & Inclusion George leadership Ramirez Union Bank

Categories: categoryAdvisory Board categoryEntrepreneurship categoryLeadership

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