Avon Calling On Its Troops

At many companies, affirmative-action programs are top-down projects, sparked by the chief executive officer's interest. Some companies, however, respond better to a bottom-up approach. At the New York headquarters of Avon Products Inc., for example, all minority employees belong to in-house race-based networks--advocacy groups that have become a crucial part of minority relations at the company. "They constantly provide a barometer for us on how we're doing," says Yvonne Jackson, vice-president for human resources.

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