Michael Sneed: Walking the talk

Todd Wilkinson

Michael Sneed, vice president of global corporate affairs for Johnson & Johnson, doesn't embrace "diversity" as a mere sloganeer. He's become a bold industry champion, leading the cause, and rallying colleagues with these encouraging words: "We can — and must — do better."

In 2013, the multifaceted aspects of diversity, in fact, figure at the very heart of J&J's game plan. "Any business leader today has to have a commitment to diversity to succeed," Sneed says. "It's a business imperative. It's not optional." He notes that, in the past, companies in the U.S. thought of diversity in terms of gender and race only. But that scope is too limited today.

"The definition [of diversity] must be expanded to include sexual orientation, geographic diversity, the age spectrum, and skill sets," he says. "As thought leaders, we need to constantly push to make ourselves uncomfortable — to take risks knowing that more often than not we will generate insights that will help our business grow."