Scott Vowels
Angela Cooper
Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer
Mutual of Omaha

Angela Cooper Strives to Develop Psychological Safety at Mutual of Omaha

Using her collaborative skills as the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Mutual of Omaha, Angela Cooper developed the successful Mutually Inclusive Allyship program. The program is a collaborative effort between her company’s nine employee resource groups (ERGs) to cultivate a brave space for complex, difficult conversations. It promotes developing and using deep listening skills to better understand, advocate for, and support people who have identities they do not share. Ultimately, listening means applying the whole self to hear another person and value them without solutioning, explaining away, or judging. The impacts include a workplace that has more inclusive teams and greater psychological safety.

Angela employs three best practices. One is establishing accountability as a key cultural concept, beginning with regular executive review of demographics, inclusion measures, and results of action plans. She also promotes use of ERGs as venues for developing talented diverse leaders and for generating innovative ideas to enhance organizational effectiveness. Third, Angela incorporates intentional change management activity in the D&I program, supported through frequent, high-quality, and purposeful communication.

Favorite Quote:
“In times like these, there is no work more important than the work of bringing people together. Everything we strive for depends on it.” — Angela Cooper