Panelists Offer Insight Into Implementing Successful Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Measures in the Workplace
Aug 31, 2020
In their discussion, the panelists established three key points for successful DEI measures:
- Support from C Suite executives is a critical must-have.
- The leader and board population of an organization should reflect the people that it is serving.
- Building an effective DEI strategy takes patience and commitment.
The second key point, representation, is intrinsically tied into the first. Representation across the entire organization is crucial, and this includes the leader and board. Weekes referenced the Mansfield Rule, which “measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, lawyers of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions.” Her firm, Arnold & Porter, conducted an internal audit to address the diversity of its partners and attorneys and how it could improve in order to address systemic racism and other issues of equality. This audit resulted in an actionable plan with both short- and long-term goals for improvement. The work seems to be paying off: In 2018, Arnold & Porter achieved “Mansfield Certification Plus Status,” with 30+% women or diverse attorneys in leading roles.
Finally, organizations must understand that a successful DEI strategy will take time. When it comes to creating lasting changes, DEI measures need to be more of a long-term business priority than a short-term public affairs decision. Angela Lee, Manager of Advocacy Outreach and Engagement for Goodwill Industries International, emphasized that DEI should not be thought of as a separate initiative; rather, it should be a key part of what the organization is already doing. This is why there is no “one size fits all” approach to DEI policies, Lee noted. Different organizations will need to enact different policies based on where they are in their DEI journey. And most importantly, said Lee, companies should not approach their DEI strategy with the question of “if” it aligns with their company’s values, but rather “how” it aligns.
The full list of panelists included:
- Dana Weekes, Managing Director, Arnold & Porter
- Cherie Wilson, Director of Federal Affairs, General Motors
- Collis Jones, Vice President of U.S. Public Affairs Policy and Strategy, John Deere
- Angela Lee, Manager of Advocacy Outreach and Engagement, Goodwill Industries International