John W. Rowe’s Speech
It is Important to Have an Organization Like NF doing Interfaith Dialogue in the USA
“Niagara Foundation does these series of programs to emphasize key importance of diversity issues in a very complex and interconnected world.” These words belong to John W. Rowe, the Chairman and CEO of Exelon Corporation at luncheon forum that is organized by Niagara Foundation on 7th March, 2007. Understanding the need of city of Chicago to dialogue and trans-cultural interactions to alleviate rising amount of misunderstanding, discrimination and perhaps conflicts, Niagara Foundation undertakes very serious challenges by organizing high-level programs and events to bring various ethnic, cultural and religious communities together.
In this luncheon forum, the keynote speaker was John W. Rowe, the Chairman and CEO of Exelon Corporation. Before starting the event, the audience was invited to watch a brief history of luncheon forums series just to make them familiar what Niagara Foundation is doing. Afterwards, Kemal Oksuz, the Executive Director of Niagara Foundation presented John Rowe’s résumé. After coming to the stage, John Rowe praised Turks and Turkey before beginning to his speech.
I love and enjoy Turkey
Turkey is a unique place of cultures and interactions. If you look at Turkey, you go to Hitai civilization, then you go to Greek, Byzantine, Turkish civilizations. Turkish land is very interesting mix and blend of civilizations and mix of ethnic and cultural communities and I want to know how all these things happened. You can find things in Turkey that are fascinating and good examples of diversity ranging through all these periods (monuments, mosques and constructions of Mimar Sinan).
Istanbul is the greatest city, marvelous city, marvelous place, marvelous history, truly fascination country.
John Rowe’s topic was diversity in utility business and he talked about his commitment to diversity while hiring his staff. He said that it is difficult for electricity to transport overseas that’s why it is a continental business. In this regard, his numbers would be from Illinois to Pennsylvania, but still “these areas represent huge diversity points well enough” he added. In Chicago, there are 30 % African American, 26 % Latino, 51 % Women and there are more Muslims. It is the same case with Eastern Pennsylvania too, where there are huge numbers of African American population. He thinks that way of change in population would the advancement of Latino population to 30 % in 20 years. Exelon’s diverse staff is not less diverse than the area. ‘We have 20 % of female’ he said, ‘it is too low because engineering was traditionally a male job and hard work’ claimed John Rowe. He also reminded the chief operator’s recent lecture on ‘employee fit’. He told that he will be sincere with us as for his organization, they don’t really need people from different organizations, but they need people who are in capacity to work and devoted to digital and technical work. For example, nuclear plant works are rule-driven, digital, male-dominated cultural issue. “The problem is how you diversify them” said John Rowe.
Historically, Exelon has seen be able to do better job in supplies. More than 300-400 contracts have been signed. He told that there are no profile issues for suburbs, they try to look at diversity issues through every perspectives be it ethnic issues, gender issues or sexual issues. According to John Rowe, he has never received e-mails about ethnic issues, cultural or gender issues, but he receives a lot of e-mails related to sexual issues. He told that we do respect to all these differences but we can value them all and we are asking our employees to respect to each other’s preference yet not accept it.
“It requires constant hard works to build diversity” said John Rowe. “It starts respecting people’s own ways being meaningful and different – how do we reach out the best we can while keeping our standards of performance” demonstrated Rowe.
According to John Rowe, Exelon’s commitment to diversity is strong as some of their friends in Illinois legislature are African Americans. He told that “it is easy to be for diversity. Diversity is caring for people who are different. It is a genuine feeling that you cannot reject. I have all kinds of friends. We are all trying to define moral orders, but with pure relativism, you can’t explain that, it is not the answer. I can’t value all of them”.
After addressing to the questions from audience, Kemal Oksuz gave very nice porcelain as a gift to John Rowe. John Rowe thanked for the gift which was his name written on it.
In his interview to Niagara Foundation, John Rowe told that it is good to have an organization like Niagara Foundation from Turkey doing interfaith dialogue. He pointed out to the friendship that Turkey and USA have for more than 50 years and he believes that Niagara Foundation will further elaborate them.
Rebecca Gruenspan, Associate Director for Development, ADL, Hamid Arastoopour, Professor of Energy/Environment/ Economics, IIT, Diana Palomar Scott, Vice President, Community Affairs, ABC 7 Chicago, Matt Guzeldere, President, Turkish American Chamber of Commerce, Kirk Reed, Pastor, Trinity United Methodist Church, Wilmette, Jack McInerney, Illinois Finance Authority, Stephen R. Kuhn – Vice President – Institutional Advancement, Dominican University, Colleen McElligott – Director of Major and Planned Gifts, Dominican University, Elizabeth Ortiz, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity, DePaul University, Laura Feldman, Director of Outreach, FBI, Isabelle MARQUES-GROSS, Consulat Général de France à Chicago, Pascale Furlong, Press Attaché, French Consulate, Bahri Batu, Vice-Consul, Turkish Consulate General, Martha Garza, Director for Diversity, Exelon Corp, Kenneth Hunter, Principal, Prosser Academy, Ira Youdovin, Vice President, JUF, Frank Clark, Chariman and CEO, ComEd, Eray Utucu, Turkish Business Entrepreneur, Peggy Davis, Vice President, Exelon Corporation, Margaret Murphy, IIT, Candace Wark,IIT, Vincent Turitto,IIT, Fouad Teymour,IIT, Jamal Yagoobi,IIT, Jamshid Mohammadi,IIT, Marilyn Birden,IIT, Tolga Bulent Aydogan, Vice President, Turkish American Chamber of Commerce, Ozcan Yabukoglu, Vice President, Turkish American Chamber of Commerce, Jim Kulich, Vice President, Elmhurst College, Kevin S. Collins, Institutional Diversity, DePaul University, Bina Mangattukattil, Program Coordinator, Office of Student Diversity, Loyola Uni., Anne Driscoll, Wilmette, Peter Remus, Chair of Mathematics Department, Harold Washington College, Donna Massie, Exelon Corporation, Osman Arslan, Principal, Science Academy of Chicago, Penny Kendall,Culture Connect, Claduia Jaccarino, Culture Connect, John Cieslik, State Treasurers Office, Todd Ciganek, Midwest Bureau Chief , FOX News, Hakan Unal, Journalist, Turkish Daily Paper, ZAMAN, Mary Beth Murphy, Office of the Lt. Governor were some important participants in the gathering. The event ended with lunch provided by Niagara Foundation.
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February 28, 2007
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