Too often, diversity, equity, and inclusion are seen as just another item to cross off the organization’s to-do list. But creating a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization isn’t a “one-and- done.”
To create meaningful change, organizations must have a strong commitment to DEI as a core value.
That’s why we invited Juan Amador, CAE, Director, Constituent Engagement at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Victor Cora Nazario, Chief Operating Officer at SOAR Community Network, and Abigail Bayer, Strategic Marketing Manager at the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB), to join Michael Hoffman, CEO of Gather Voices for a panel discussion on creating organizational cultures that are truly diverse, equitable and inclusive.
Here are a few actionable insights from their conversation:
"I think the other way we've been looking at advancing equity, diversity and inclusion has been through our board, our board structure. And I do this all the time. When I go to the organization, the first thing I do is I go to the board and I see, what am I looking for? First of all, visual. Is it all Caucasian? How many women, how many Latinos, how many of this or that? At my organization, we just made an effort to add a new board position related to adding a young, I should say, a junior faculty member, a voice that's missing. So it's looking at the leadership and identifying what's missing." —Juan Amador
"But as a Puerto Rican coming from the island, we celebrate Hispanic heritage all the time. Meaning that we're raised that way. We know by 10 the contributions that Puerto Ricans have done for labor, music, culture, everything. That's just embedded. We love being Puerto Rican, and not above everybody else, by the way, which sometimes people think that. It's just that we just love being Puerto Rican, that's all. So celebrating Hispanic Heritage is kind of strange to me because I just celebrate it throughout the whole year." —Victor Cora Nazario
"You won't have just one person whose job it is to educate everybody. Because it does get tiring, it really does. And so if you kind of foster that culture from the beginning, everyone can have that conversation. And leadership, being in the roles that they're in, it's their job to kind of bring this stuff into the forefront. By doing things like taking a step further, bringing people in to talk to your staff, do lunch and learns, do things that once a month or once a quarter, whatever works, and bring people in to talk about things in your industry." —Abigail Bayer
"But what happens is, and this has happened to me with a leader that I work for is that I graduated from college X. So I'm an alumni. So when I'm going to hire people, either subcontractors or just employees, I go there to recruit by default. So I remember in one accounting firm that I worked for, they were not allowed to ... I was the only black male in the whole organization. And I asked my staff one time, 'What's going on with that'" And they say, 'Well, I guess there's no black accountants.' I'm like, 'Come on man.' But it was because they were recruiting at different places. And they were also using recruiting organizations that went to the same places." —Victor Cora Nazario