Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory

Diversity, equity and inclusion impact results

Countless studies and statistics have been published showing the positive impact that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace have with respect to performance, creativity and innovation and superior financial results. Yet, even in this age of increased awareness of diversity issues, not all companies know how to approach diversity and inclusion programs effectively.

There is also a shortage of executives with real-world experience leading initiatives in this rapidly-evolving space. In a recent survey of chief diversity officers (CDOs) published in Hunt Scanlon Media:

• 53% reported being in their first job as a chief diversity officer.
• 62% said they were the first person to hold the role at their company.
• 84% reported that there was no strategic plan in place when they began.

Add to that the shifting perspectives on the definition of diversity itself, and it’s easy to see why so many companies are seeking strategic support on their DEI programs.

Transformational talent – when you need it

We fully understand the transformative power of great talent, and its ability to turn potential into success. To meet this growing need for experience and advice, we have created Caldwell Advisory Councils, a solution that partners exceptional advisors from our broad network of executives with client companies looking for strategic support.

Our councils can help deliver long-term value by providing strategic insight, external accountability, and expert guidance in developing strategy and programs, and aligning goals, people and processes.

The DEI business connection

Diversity, equity and inclusion’s greatest value comes when it is embraced not only as a set of HR initiatives, but also as a holistic business program. Linking your strategy to include business and financial management leaders and influencers creates this connection to ultimately deliver increased performance and financial value. Your DEI council can guide you.

What are DEI advisory councils?

We leverage our relationships with established sitting executives and renowned thought leaders to deliver a bespoke council tailored to your unique culture and goals. We combine multiple advisors with complementary niche expertise to deliver evolving solutions. New and relevant advisors are rotated on your council as your program grows and needs change, encompassing:

  • DEI strategy and implementation guidance
  • Organizational design
  • Talent acquisition
  • Workplace advancement programs
  • Employee/business resource groups (ERGs/BRGs)
  • Global workforce and public policy
  • Coaching and mentoring (CDO/CHRO/management)
  • Legal landscape and advice
  • Training programs

Councils are created across our entire network, so are tailored to your specific industry, size and current DEI program maturity:

  • Companies start at the top where DEI support matters most with public board/private owner education sessions.
  • PE/VC companies leverage your council’s flexibility for benefits at both the fund level and within your portfolio of companies.

Sample applications

DEI Advisory Councils take on different roles and responsibilities, depending on your company’s needs:

  • You plan to promote an existing high-potential employee into your first CDO role and want to ensure their success in helping them design and deliver world-class programs.
  • You’re a PE firm having difficulty attracting and promoting women and under-represented groups at the fund level and crafting initiatives at the portfolio level.
  • You’re not ready to commit to a full time DEI role, but want someone to help your CHRO or HR director on best practices and implementing a women’s return to the workplace program.
  • You’ve heard of employee and business resource groups (ERGs/BRGs), but aren’t sure how to establish, promote and maintain them.
  • You’re a seasoned CDO with a robust DEI program, but would like peer-to-peer best practice guidance adding a specific program such as inclusion of adults with intellectual disabilities into your workforce.

Steering Committee

Caldwell welcomed three pioneering leaders in the diversity and inclusion space to a steering committee to oversee the offering and advisory network and contribute to the advancement of DEI and its connection to business:

Subha Barry, president, Working Mother Media. Subha oversees Working Mother magazine, workingmother.com, Diversity Best Practices and the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE). Prior, she was senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Freddie Mac and MD and Global Head of D&I at Merrill Lynch. Subha additionally serves on select boards aligned with her passions – education, cancer research and the advancement of women and girls.

Dionysia Johnson-Massie, shareholder, Littler Mendelson. With over 1,500 attorneys in 80 offices, Littler has the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management. Dionysia is a founding member and past Co-Chair of Littler’s award-winning Diversity and Inclusion Council, founding Co-Chair of its Women’s Leadership Initiative, and strategic contributor to its Diversity and Inclusion practice group. She focuses on federal and international employment discrimination litigation and matters and also strategic compliance issues, including diversity and inclusion strategies with executives and Boards.

Todd Sears, founder and principal, Out Leadership. Out Leadership knows that LGBT+ inclusion positively impacts business results, and that including LGBT+ people at the most senior level of executive leadership is powerfully beneficial for business bottom lines. Todd’s prior roles include the Americas head of diversity and inclusion at Credit Suisse and head of strategic initiatives, office of diversity at Merrill Lynch.

Our steering committee oversees our DEI Advisory Council offering and contributes to the advancement of DEI and its connection to business in the following ways:

  • Guidance for advisory councils on consistency of best practices in various DEI areas.
  • Participation in advisory council updates and discussion of issues being faced in the DEI space.
  • Sharing relevant DEI knowledge and stimulating conversation through thought leadership.
  • Participating as direct client advisors on select opportunities.

Forward momentum, backed by Caldwell

To learn more about how DEI Advisory Councils can accelerate execution of your strategy, please contact inclusion@caldwellpartners.com.


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