The March 20 session of CCSR (spring 2019 cohort) focused on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) as a key element of any Corporate Social Responsibility program. Companies often pursue CSR because their leaders recognize the potential for business to function in a way that serves all stakeholders well, not only shareholders. Businesses can start by committing to a diverse and inclusive work environment, to create an economy that enables all people to thrive, now and in the future.

Student prepared by taking at least one assessment offered by Project Implicit, a non-profit organization whose goal is to educate the public about hidden (implicit) biases.

Demesha Hill, the Community Relations Manager for Janus Henderson Investors, was the guest speaker for this session. She is also the Managing Director of the Janus Henderson Foundation, and the Board Chair for B:CIVIC.

Drawing on data from McKinsey and others, Demesha made the business case for a strong D&I program. She talked about diversity in the customer base of most businesses, and how women and people of color now influence the majority of spending decisions. She provided data showing that companies who pursue gender and racial diversity consistently outperform those who don’t, in terms of both revenue growth and profit.

One of Demesha’s key points was that, while gender and race are important aspects of diversity, they are far from the only kinds of diversity that matter. Sexual orientation and gender expression, difference in abilities, age and many other characteristics of people are relevant when we think about creating a diverse team. She also emphasized that if we fail to consider the conditions and practices that foster inclusion, diversity efforts are much more likely to fail. She presented some of the practices that promote inclusion and lead to equity – conditions where everyone can thrive.

D&I will be covered again in the fall 2019 cohort, which is open for admission and registration now.