Four Georgia companies named Black Enterprise's 'best companies for diversity' Aflac Inc. - Columbus, Georgia The Coca-Cola Company - Atlanta, Georgia Southern Company - Atlanta, Georgia UPS - Atlanta, Georgia "The strength of our nation is in its diversity. In order for America to fully realize its potential, African-Americans and other minorities must be an integral part of that equation—period," said Black Enterprise's Earl "Butch" Graves Jr.

These Georgia companies were named Black Enterprise's 'best companies for diversity'

Companies that strive for innovation and sustaining growth often have diversity and inclusiveness at the top of the list.

»RELATED: These are the most promising jobs of 2019, according to LinkedIn

"As a global company with 454,000 employees who live and work in more than 220 countries and territories, UPS's values are rooted in the diversity and inclusion that thrives inside and outside our walls," said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and UPS chief diversity and inclusion officer. "We believe that our diverse and inclusive culture inspires our people to reach higher and drives our innovation, performance and growth throughout our entire value chain." 

This business outlook is why Atlanta's UPSSouthern Co.The Coca-Cola Co. and Aflac Inc. in Columbus joined New York-based Black Enterprise's, latest list of the"50 Best Companies for Diversity." 

»RELATED: Black, female Aflac exec on quest to mentor teen girls

Black Enterprise is a national business and wealth-building publication for African-American professionals, entrepreneurs, decision makers and corporate executives.

The "50 Best Companies for Diversity" designation recognizes the "best of the best" in building a culture and executing policies that effectively promote the inclusion of African Americans within the company's senior management ranks, corporate boards, workforce and supplier pools. 

Its final list featured enterprising businesses dedicated to diversifying their ranks in four areas: employee base, procurement, the board of directors and senior management.

"Our chairman, president and CEO, Tom Fanning, signed an important pledge to advance diversity and inclusion in the company," said Nancy Sykes, executive vice president and chief human resource officer at Southern Co. "Called the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, this effort is a unique collaboration of more than 250 CEOs across the United States, including the CEOs of some of America's biggest companies."

CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion consists of more than 400 CEOs of the world's leading companies committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Taking this type of action is what contributed to Southern Co. landing on Black Enterprise's now 13-year-old list.

Companies also were selected based on their programs designed to cultivate and maintain a diverse professional space. The business publication selects companies based on surveys to the country's top 1,000 publicly traded companies and 100 leading international brands with strong U.S. operations.

»RELATED: Jobs in Atlanta 2019: Atlanta among best US cities for jobs

In the first few months of 2018, Martinez explains that UPS indeed has a focused approach to advance diversity and inclusion across key stakeholders — its people, customers, communities and business partners.

"In fact, it is a top company 'business priority,'" he said. "We seek to advance diversity and inclusion around the world through advocacy, community investments, business practices and setting the example of a workplace, which is fair, authentic, inclusive and diverse."

He adds: "For instance, last year, UPS CEO and Chairman David Abney signed onto 'Catalyst CEO Champions for Change,' a group of 50-plus CEOs pledging to advance more women into all levels of leadership. David Abney is also a member of 'CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion.'"

Black Enterprise’s surveys didn't solely focus on inclusion of black employees but minority groups as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Supporting criteria for the final list factored in efforts directed toward veterans, people with disabilities, women and the LGBT community.

"Southern Co. is committed to creating a workplace environment where employees from different backgrounds and perspectives can realize their full potential," said Sykes. "We have a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, which is reflected in our core company values. Our values encourage us to embrace, respect and value our differences. By doing so, we are better able to anticipate change, see around corners and achieve success in an ever-evolving energy landscape."

Check here for the entire list of Black Enterprise’s “50 best companies for diversity” list.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.