What do high school students think about the racial justice are a telling snapshot of student perspectives. Commenter Caroline G., a high school senior from California, says, “While racism and discrimination are not things that will disappear once we acknowledge them, it is also important to realize that we have the resources to combat and alleviate these problems.”
In the business world, that work is often taken up by Chief 2022 Jobs on the Rise report, Diversity and inaugural Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer. The mission: to solidify a culture of dignity, respect and transparency through the appreciation of differences.
Dr. Miller is taking an approach that she describes as part Wharton’s Coalition for Equity and Opportunity (CEO) to organize a Juneteenth Wellness Summit. “I am learning that there is an opportunity for Wharton to lead as it relates to engaging with the surrounding West Philadelphia community,” notes Miller. “That’s super meaningful for me because I really believe in the impact that global chief diversity officer of National Grid, one of the world’s largest utility companies serving the U.S. and the U.K., she believes that corporations need to act on their stated commitment to diversity. While many executive reportedly being eliminated, or CDOs are choosing to leave.
Edwards suggests that this “unfortunate trend” could be a sign companies aren’t serious about implementing DEI strategies, or that CDOs are feeling unsupported in their roles. Whatever the case, the work, she says, requires perseverance and pervasive buy-in.
“It’s deeply rewarding work, but it can be challenging to build and maintain a the research, which shows, among other things, that companies with Leading Diversity at Work podcast series offers an exploration into all aspects of DEI in business.
Starting in fall 2023, undergraduate and DEI dashboard for its company leaders to hold themselves accountable for progress. This type of interface provides a visual representation of company diversity, equity and inclusion practices and outcomes by representing the data through graphs and charts that can be read at a glance.
“To do DEI work well, you need to be able to articulate goals and strategically analyze processes and procedures. Part of this work is about pitching ideas and getting buy-in,” adds Dr. Miller. “I love for people to feel seen and valued. But I also love when the numbers tell me that what I’m doing is working. You want to know that your efforts matter.”
“Examine your current environment and consider what you can do to make it more diverse and inclusive of all people. Prioritize DEI in your daily life.” –Natalie Edwards, CDO, National Grid
Both Dr. Miller and Edwards highlight that each day of their jobs can look very different, demanding them to stay flexible and hold fast to the tenets of their work: celebrating degrees of difference; amplifying fairness and justice; and nurturing a culture that ensures all stakeholders, from students to alumni, employees to customers, feel seen valued and respected.
“DEI is always changing,” observes Edwards, who was the only student in her MBA class to start a job in DEI immediately after graduation, taking a role at Estée Lauder in New York City. There, she supported creating products for different skin tones, hair types and gender identities. The DEI mindset at National Grid includes bringing clean energy, jobs and economic development to communities that are underrepresented and disproportionately impacted by climate change. “Knowing that there are new areas to influence and improve is really motivating and keeps me on my toes,” she continues. “My best advice is to start where you are, like I did. Examine your current environment and consider what you can do to make it more diverse and inclusive of all people. Prioritize DEI in your daily life.”
DEI, concludes Dr. Miller, is not just the responsibility of the executive CDO. Awareness
alone is empowering – and can lead to action. “Opportunities to make a positive impact are not related to a specific role. DEI work is everywhere and in everything,” she says. “Stay curious, ask questions, and know that you can make a difference wherever you are planted…whether that is at school, a summer job, or in your community. Your voice matters.”
Dr. Renita Miller says, “Younger people going into business want to be in organizations that are diverse.” Do you agree with this statement? If so, why is this a core value of your generation?
Have you had an experience working to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in your school, community or elsewhere? Please share your story in the comment section of this article.
What are 5 skills that are important to build if you want to advance DEI in the workplace? Why, in particular, is analytics essential?