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In no other American corporate construct do we tend to celebrate effort over impact like in the context of DEI. How did we get here? And more importantly, how should we move forward with authentic purpose and not as a means to simply check off another box?
Diversity, as a commitment vs. a compliance undertaking, hit the Fortune 500 stage in the early 1990s. Thereafter, around 2012, inclusion entered the scene. Between 2012 and early 2020, most companies spent much of their precious resources debating such impactful imperatives like whether the “I” should precede the “D” in D&I and how much more broadly they could define their diversity statement, ever careful to ensure all are included and no one felt left out. Meanwhile, minority employees were just hoping that the DEI work could just focus, for a while, on their particular plight.
Corporations far and wide yanked an “E” from the sky and affixed it right next to the D and the I and cemented it all with a “Black Lives Matter” banner on their websites. Some of these organizations were operating entirely out of fear or a perfunctory obligation to appear sincerely invested in allyship and attracting, retaining, and amplifying its minority talent base. Some, on the other hand, were quite earnestly and authentically committed.
What if neither motivation matters?
Speaker: Nikki Lanier
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