The pandemic and social upheaval impacting people and businesses around the world has led to cries for good news. DiversityGlobal Magazine is pleased to be a source of uplifting news as we introduce the 2022 Top 10 Influential Women in Diversity. These women professionals have been an unwavering source of strength through impactful events, such as the pandemic and growing awareness of entrenched bias in organizations. They are leaders who would not be deterred from their ultimate goal – developing organizations with a culture based on core values of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) in which all people have equal opportunities to succeed. The good news they bring is that their strategies, initiatives, relationship building efforts, communication efforts, and persistence are bringing positive change.
Embedded bias in organizations is difficult to eliminate. It requires changing the hearts and minds of people - which is never an easy task. The Top 10 Influential Women never waver in their determination to help people understand the inequities that bias produces and how systemic bias, ingrained in many organizations, supports ongoing discrimination against people of color, women, and others. As you read the short bios for the Top 10 Influential Women in DE&I, a common theme is their striving to remove the threads of bias and embed DE&I into the organization’s fabric.
Success requires a major, thoughtful and unrelenting effort. In some cases, it may require changing the organization’s culture. Most of the women leaders are turning to the very basics of talent management and evaluating existing policies and procedures on employee recruitment, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, training and development. They look for openings where organizational members can knowingly and unknowingly express bias and work to close the gaps. The women leaders also depend on developing positive working relationships with organizational members, so they can hold the difficult but critical conversations on the importance of DE&I to personal and organizational success.
The Top 10 Influential Women in DE&I have common end goals, but each develops customized approaches that work best in their respective organizations. Jacqueline Blount at Ahold Delhaize launched the company’s first DE&I strategy across 10 countries and builds authentic relationships for success. Alison Banks-Moore at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey develops diversity initiatives that strive to make DE&I a defining principal in the talent process. Cynthia Williams at Brown Forman developed a successful learning initiative that educates leaders and employees on DE&I.
At General Electric, Allison Pineau-Good encourages healthy open debate on topics such as bias and inclusion, and provides educational opportunities at all organizational levels. Dawn Frazier-Bohnert at Liberty Mutual Insurance focused on developing guidelines to increase communication and collaboration based on DE&I principles. Matilde Roman at NYC Health + Hospitals developed a D&I framework from the ground up, with the intention of improving employee and patient experiences.
At Riot Games, Angela Roseboro launched the first professional development program to increase the representation of minorities and women at all leadership levels. Dianne Greene at Verisk Analytics creates strategic DE&I programming to bring positive change in talent processes. Cheryl Kern at MillerKnoll developed a DE&I Master Plan to move people beyond emotions to making real change. Rosilyn Houston at Santander leverages participation in internal and external groups to promote social progress.
Each of these 10 women and indeed, all the other nominees are dedicated professionals. Whereas others would get discouraged, these women are always positive that change is possible. It is a matter of communicating the right message, making the right associations, demonstrating the harm that bias and exclusion causes, and connecting DE&I to organizational success. They are passionate about their work and understand they play a critical role in achieving social justice. Their reach extends around the world now, important in a networked world.
DiversityGlobal Magazine encourages readers to read through each short biography with a mindset of learning how they can embrace and leverage the ideas and approaches of the 2022 Top 10 Influential Women in DE&I in their own organizations. There is no one right approach. Each diversity professional and champion must determine the best actions to take to bring transformational change. Eliminating bias, key to achieving DE&I, may seem like an impossible goal, but these women professionals are likely to vehemently disagree. Their faith in the power of people to utilize their goodness and fairness is good news in a world where bad news makes most headlines.