By Catie George, Manager, Communications and Storytelling
Moving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) theory into a steadfast organizational practice was the focus of a recent talk given by Gerry Altamarino, Senior Manager of Workplace Diversity at AMN Healthcare, to Dallas Region business leaders.
“A common pitfall I saw in my consulting experience is that organizations fail to define what DEI means to them,” said Altamirano at the Dallas Regional Chamber’s DEI Leaders Connect meeting, adding that DEI work should be embedded in an organization’s policy, practice, and culture. “It’s not just about making commitments and goals, but also having metrics to measure when you’ve achieved those goals and when you can move on to advance the next goal. Measurement is critical.”
It’s important to continually evaluate not only progress, Altamarino says, but also other factors, such as potential bias within a company.
“We can approach DEI work through a systemic lens to address the inequality that inevitably and undoubtedly exists within all of our organizations by virtue of our organizations existing in the context of broader America and the context of humans perpetuating biases that get institutionalized,” he said. “We love to think that neutrality is a thing, but spoiler alert, neutrality does not exist.”
Altamirano encouraged each participant to walk away with a plan to formalize a DEI strategy for their business so they can move along the path from awareness to action in the DEI space.
“Once you have a strategy, you’re able to see how DEI work is good for business because it reduces attrition. It enhances our brand awareness,” said Altamirano. “If we are not proactive in our DEI approach, then how could we advance our work in meaningful ways when it matters the most?”
Altamirano concluded by emphasizing that each of the 25 companies represented consider the Dallas Region in their DEI plans.
“You’re ultimately also wanting to support your local community,” said Altamirano, “and you want your diversity to reflect the population that you serve.”
If you want to learn more about the Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement work the Dallas Regional Chamber is doing, visit our website.
To contribute to our work, please participate in our Disability Inclusion Toolkit Survey to help us understand your efforts toward disability inclusion.