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What I learned from talking to 20 diversity, equity, and inclusion experts

I’ve worked in DE&I for nearly a decade, but I know I still have a lot to learn. So to prepare for 2021 I wanted to hear directly from my colleagues on the ground. I wanted to know what their pain points were and how they were innovating anyway.

I made a list of over 150 DE&I experts. The list spanned industry, company size, and tenure to ensure a broad perspective. I specifically targeted folks who are the owner (for better or worse) of their companies’ approach to DE&I. I facilitated the conversations like a researcher—attempting to stay unbiased, asking open-ended questions, and focused on listening. I started with broad questions such as “What’s your biggest pain point?” or “What keeps you up at night?”, then eagerly went down any interesting rabbit hole that came up. By the end of the month I’d ended up having 27 conversations with 20 leaders. I noticed some common themes and emerging trends. Here’s a little bit of what I learned:

DIVERSITY EQUITY AND INCLUSION IS OUTGROWING HUMAN RESOURCES

DE&I leaders are eager to increase their scope and impact on the business. This shift requires bigger teams, stronger relationships with non-HR and recruiting functions, and a new vision for where the function sits within an organization.

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