Steve Ripley just might be the right guy for the job. He’s AgFunds’ top trainee: talented, ambitious, intelligent, charming. Cynthia’s colleagues insinuated that that might not be in the best interest of the firm because of the racial issues involved. Should she hire him – and possibly set him up to fail – in an inhospitable district? AgFunds had just promoted, Cynthia Mitchell – a sales rep’s, to the district manager of the Arkansas branch. The Arkansas firm was in a slump and was in dire need of change.

Cynthia assessed the situation there and came up with a plan of action. A key factor of that plan was to get her hands on a powerhouse sales rep. So she was intrigued when she came across Steve Ripley credentials, this year’s top trainee, who was surprisingly still available. Cynthia addressed the issue with her superior, who did not share in her excitement. He suggested that Steve might not be the best fit for the job: He’s African American in a company whose customer base is mostly conservative and white.