As Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s first black COO and second black CEO in almost 40 years of operation, Stanley Haynes knew that something needed to change at the corporation. Though black Americans make up 13.6% of the population, only 5.9% of CEOS are black. “To see the staggering statistic of Black chief executive officers in the United States is enough to sound the alarm and highlight the glaring need for representation,” Haynes stated in a recent interview, continuing, “It certainly reenergizes me to do good work for our island community.” With a firm hand on the reins, Mr. Haynes is pushing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the corporation while realizing excellent results.
Creating a diverse work culture
Shelton Haynes believes that the core of diversity, equity, and inclusion is creating a work culture that looks like the rest of the world, bringing individuals from all walks of life while encouraging them to work cooperatively for a common good or goal. This requires investing time and resources toward fostering relationships among employees of all levels across the entire company. Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is moving towards these lofty goals while understanding why building an inclusive atmosphere helps the corporation’s leadership to extract the best capabilities of their workforce.
Says Shelton Haynes, “I let people write their futures and carve their paths here at RIOC. You can be and go on to achieve just about anything. Within reason, there are boundless opportunities for unlimited growth.” This strong belief in pushing individuals to their best potential is shared by his inclusive executive team, who help get things done effectively and efficiently at Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, with Mr. Haynes’ executive team including four women and over half from minority groups.
Shelton Haynes Makes significant changes for the better.
As he moved to the helm, Shelton Haynes mentioned, “Progress isn’t progress unless it benefits everyone.” Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation was founded in 1984 as a state agency to develop, design, maintain, and promote the island’s unique culture, and now plays host to millions of tourists every year. When he took over as interim CEO in 2020 and became the corporation’s full-time CEO in March 2021, Mr. Haynes knew that there was a lot of work to be done, including creating a robust work culture, streamlining operational efficiency, increasing employee activities to build comraderies, and investing in employees through solid training opportunities. Though he doesn’t hire specifically for diversity, he does accept it as a gift when it happens. “It’s a bonus having complementary pieces who happen to be minorities. However, when given a résumé, I first look at the experience of the individual, not their name or background,” Mr. Haynes mentioned in a recent interview.
Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation thinks outside the box.
At Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, Shelton Haynes encourages team members to think outside the box, act quickly and efficiently to create immediate change and feel the future when making plans for the island. He believes his experience at the corporation has prepared him for success, stating, “Believe me when I say nothing would stop me from being successful because I quite literally have managed every department head or worked in concert on every level during my time with RIOC.” This approach has put him in a great position to understand the demands of each role and what strengths are needed to work that position successfully and has allowed him to enjoy significantly the many firsts that employees have to happen every year at the corporation.