Emerson Foster ’90

Delivering Diversity to the Workplace

Photo by Nora Lewis
Photo by Nora Lewis

Joining forces with Paul Francisco, a former New England Patriot, Emerson Foster established Foster & Francisco, a search firm that specializes in placing executives of color in senior management positions.

A consumer affairs major and seasoned human resources professional, Foster explains that although the economy started failing last year, the timing to start a new venture was right.

“I had a great 13-year run at Stop & Shop, but it was time to move on. Paul was also thinking of leaving his job, and his human resources career mirrored mine. It’s challenging to get a company to sign on the dotted line, but we offer a full menu of services.”

Retained search and strategic retention are paramount among them. Foster’s firm reaches beyond its Boston roots to identify well-qualified talent: “Because of our work at Stop & Shop and Bank of America, Paul and I have a vast network. We like to think that we’re one or two phone calls away from every professional of color in the country.”

Foster stresses the importance of maintaining an inclusive workforce in this difficult economy: “Diversity of thought brings innovation, and innovation is a key ingredient in allowing companies to thrive and survive in this economy.”

To help companies keep employees of color, Foster challenges employers to “take a holistic approach.”

“We present case study examples of what organizations should be thinking about as they recruit and attempt to retain professionals of color in the New England marketplace and beyond. Things such as where to live, external networking opportunities, social activities, and civic engagement are all critical to anchoring a professional.”

Foster believes his proactive approach to attracting and retaining professionals of color is critical to his clients’ long-term success. “Companies have to think about the next economy. They need an employee base that can work in that new economy. Their growth is dependent on engaging everyone, and Foster and Francisco can help them do that.”

—Maria V. Caliri ’86, M.B.A. ’92