Alumnus sees the potential profit in people

Oris Stuart M.B.A. ’89 knows how to find common ground with people.

“I firmly believe through a series of questions you can find a significant amount of commonality with most people you come in contact with,” he says. “When you look at hobbies, religious beliefs, and values, there are so many more similarities between us than there are differences.”

As executive vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer at the National Basketball Association, Stuart is responsible for developing and overseeing diversity and inclusion strategies globally for the NBA, WNBA, NBA G-League, and the NBA 2K League.

He provides strategic guidance, leadership, and best practices on diversity and inclusion matters to the league offices and teams; leads efforts to increase the number of minority and women-owned suppliers; and drives efforts to attract, develop, and retain diverse talent leaguewide. “Diversity is most often associated with physical dimensions that we represent: race, ethnicity, gender, and age,” Stuart says. “But diversity is so much more than that. Diversity is a reflection of our experiences, our upbringing, our values, our religious beliefs, and our philosophy on life. Inclusion is the act and behavior.”

Stuart explains that in basketball, insiders like to say, “Diversity is who is on the team. Inclusion is who is getting in the game.”

Earlier in his career, Stuart was a senior business manager and a strategy, operations, and technology consultant for Deloitte, Providian, and Wingspan Technology.

But it was during his time at Fuqua that Stuart gained the insight and exposure that allowed him to pivot from technology to diversity and inclusion, a growing field.

“At Fuqua, I learned the foundation principles of what drives businesses. I learned organizational behavior and development,” he says. “So as a diversity and inclusion leader, I understand how you work with people and get the best out of them in a business context. It allows me to talk to business leaders about the value of inclusion and diversity in business terms.”

Stuart also leads the NBA’s global diversity and inclusion council to ensure engagement on the league’s diversity and inclusion strategies at all levels. He’s been with the NBA since June 2015.

Before joining the NBA, he spent two years as a senior partner with Korn Ferry, one of the largest executive-search and talent-management firms, where he led its inclusion and diversity practice and served as the global consulting leader for the company’s life sciences practice. He provided organizational, strategic, and technology advisory services that helped directors, chief executives, and senior leaders address challenges in global talent.

He also served as the chief executive officer for Global Novations, a preeminent diversity and inclusion consultancy and training firm. During his tenure with Global Novations, Stuart supported clients across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America; guided the expansion of the firm’s technology and consulting platforms; oversaw a tenfold increase in the firm’s size; and engineered its ultimate acquisition by Korn Ferry in 2012.

“The power of diversity and the power of inclusion are to develop new approaches and new ideas,” he says, “and to break through the old and break through the mold.”

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