Take charge of your DE&I initiatives

PARK CITY, UT—The theme of diversity, equity, and inclusion sits squarely at the intersection of governance and social vectors. Last week at GlobeSt.com’s national conference of influential women, we heard from some of the people and companies that are raising the bar and learned how to make those efforts multidimensional, from hiring to training, board, trade associations and more.

When panelist Lisa Hurd, chief investment officer at RADCO, started in the industry, she started out as an analyst and there were very few women at her level, she said. “At the time, I had very little exposure to other women at my level. I am proud to say that I have now had the opportunity to build a team of my own and have hired some diverse ethnicities. I am proud to see where my dream started and where we are now.”

Hurd explained that it’s important to be intentional about who you’re recruiting. “For us, we had to branch out and think about where we can recruit from… It’s been great to see it evolve.”

According to Hurd, if you submitted a job posting today, 99% of the applications you receive are incredibly talented, but it’s still important to balance qualifications with a desire for diversity. “You have to be intentional about finding those candidates even when things are growing fast. You have to figure out how to maintain that intentionality and that discipline to really focus on making sure that our team has different aspects, different points of view and different ideas.”

The best people in the right seats are a diverse group of people, says Hurd. “As we do that, we also need to think about how we elevate diverse people within our organizations,” he said. “You have to talk to your team about the issues that they are really facing today. And instead of looking at how things used to be, you should think about who you want to be.”

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Speaking to the more than 300 powerful women in the audience, she said that 10 years from now, “she would love to see us come together because we want to, not because we feel like we have to come together to get what we want.”

Panelist Nashunda Williams, head of diversity, equity and inclusion at JLL, said there was an opportunity this year to take diversity to the next level and treat DE&I like a business. “I got the job and reported to the CEO and there is recognition that this is serious,” she said. “JLL is committed to this change and to advancing our DE&I journey.”

He explained that the firm has made serious investments and has invested in early careers globally. “We are seeing that our interns and entry-level people are more diverse… We are making better investments in our people.”

Follow-up is key, he added. ‘You have to look at whatever aspect of DEI you focus on, you have to track it and measure it. If you don’t track it, it will be out of sight and out of mind.”

In addition to tracking it, he said, you must have the dialogue. “Without having that conversation, you will not progress. You have to have a dialogue to discuss what works and what doesn’t.”

Giving yourself grace is also key. “This is a space where you say the wrong thing, so they don’t say anything… We have to change that culture,” Williams said. “You have to have a dialogue… This next generation is also aware and expects those conversations.”

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