Creating a formal commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the board level to help drive ongoing commitment by the organization.
We have long desired to make substantive progress in making diversity part of our organizational DNA but have struggled in determining specific actions. We found a partner in ChangeWorks who we brought in to facilitate discussion at the board level on what a commitment to diversity looks like for a board. We first spent time developing a shared definition of diversity, equity, and inclusion. From that common foundation they guided the board in discussions of why this should be an organizational commitment. Starting from a common definition and building a strong ‘why’ armed us with the compelling reasons to formally commit to a diversity action plan. These focused and facilitated discussions also helped us realize this will be a long-term journey towards diversity. Reframing diversity as a life-long journey has allowed us to focus on developing the concrete action steps for the next year that will keep moving forward in our journey without treating this as something that can be ‘accomplished’. Having these facilitators help all board members reflect on their own experiences and share together made it possible to take general support and translate it into formal commitment with specific actions.
Inclusiveness of all aspects of human diversity is specifically one of our published guiding beliefs as one way to affirm our commitment as an organization. Our new strategic plan also now has diversity, equity and inclusion as a core strategic principle that also has specific action steps for the board to incorporate into board recruitment efforts. While we are still in the early stages of our journey, we have established a formal organizational commitment to diversity and created actionable steps to continue this journey.