2020 brought social justice issues to new light and brought multiple companies under scrutiny for their diversity makeup and their responses to racial injustice.
As a company under the leadership of one of the few Black female CEOs of a publicly-traded company, we at Adtalem wanted to set the standard and lead by example on diversity, equity and inclusion practices for global companies and give our employees the resources and support they needed during an emotionally charged time. Adtalem, and our family of organizations, are united in our stance of being an anti-racist organization — one that stands for equality and social justice — and against violence, hate and supremacy of any kind. This commitment isn’t just in the words we say, it’s reflected in the actions we take.
In response to the racial tensions of 2020, Chairman and CEO Lisa Wardell held multiple town halls on social justice, inviting discourse from employees and bringing in experts to discuss issues such as microaggressions, implicit bias and more. In addition, employees were given a social justice toolkit with supplementary materials such as documentaries and book suggestions that employees could explore on their own time. We also instituted implicit bias training for all employees and created Diversity and Inclusion taskforces at all our institutions.
Employees now undergo training on diversity, equity and inclusion annually. Our institutions are partnering with minority-serving programs and schools including HSIs and HBCUs to offer pathways for underrepresented communities into healthcare, veterinary medicine and financial services. We reaffirmed our commitment to DE&I, which is posted to our website. Additionally, we publish diversity statistics for our board, leadership and U.S. employees which are updated quarterly. We are committed to championing diversity and inclusion. We do this by ensuring we have diverse representation at every level of our organization, cultivating leaders who are committed to creating a sense of engagement and belonging, and embedding our TEACH values into programs and policies that assures our culture and community embrace equality for all.
We have had difficult conversations in the Adtalem community. I recognize that we all have witnessed these events through a different lens, but if we are kind to each other – and have the difficult conversations about race and social justice and about what we can do as individuals and as a company to change – that will go a long way towards changing our communities. Let’s make sure that this is a moment in time where we can be part of the solution and not part of the problem by remaining silent.