Board Engagement guides Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Progress at Boeing

Allen University President Ernest McNealey speaks at the Boeing-Allen University partnership announcement. The $1.5 million donation established the Institute for Civility, part of more than $15 million Boeing invested in 2020 to help fund organizations such as the Equal Justice Initiative, United Negro College Fund, DC College Access Program, The Mission Continues and the Chicago Urban League. Through 2023, Boeing has committed a minimum of $25 million to support programs and partnerships that will create a range of opportunities for racial minorities and underserved communities.

In more than three decades as a Human Resources executive, I’ve had the opportunity to work within a variety of industries. Throughout my career, I’ve seen firsthand how instrumental a board can be in shaping an organization’s path forward – both as an HR professional and a board member myself.

Since joining Boeing last year, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with our board members, who bring strong oversight, expertise and passion to their roles. We share a belief in the power of equity, diversity and inclusion, and a desire to advance these principles at Boeing and beyond. In ongoing discussions around the work we are doing to build an inclusive culture where everyone is valued and respected, our board asks challenging questions, provides valuable insight, and keeps this important work front and center.

Every eight weeks, our board of directors reviews diversity results for specific sites and for the entire company. With full transparency, they see where we are making progress and where we still have room to improve. And with their oversight, we uphold a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination or harassment of any kind. This work is influenced by our employee-led Business Resource Groups and the Racial Equity Task Force, a diverse group of employees who are helping to make inclusion a top priority and responsibility for every teammate. We established the task force last year with full support of the board. The task force partners with our Global Equity, Diversity & Inclusion team and meets directly with members of our Executive Council to review proposals designed to advance equity.

We are clear-eyed in our vision for a more equitable future and realistic about the work that lies ahead of us. With the board’s encouragement, we released our first Global Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Report this year. We’re not satisfied with the levels of representation across our industry and company, including our leadership team and the board itself. Regularly sharing our progress will hold us accountable to our aspirations, which include increasing the Black representation rate in the U.S. by 20%, closing representation gaps for historically underrepresented groups, and achieving parity in retention rates among all demographics, as well as specific goals related to inclusion.

To help us drive sustainable change, we’re focused on habits we call Seek, Speak & Listen. This means seeking out the places where things aren’t going well, ensuring every team member feels safe to speak up, and co-creating an open and respectful environment in which every voice is heard. We’re making these habits actionable across our global team and embedding them into our performance management processes.

Beyond our facilities, Boeing’s board understands the larger role our company serves in the communities where we live and work. This is evident in the company’s community investments, which last year included more than $15 million in donations to nonprofits working to address racial equity and social justice in the U.S. We also announced a $1.5 million partnership with Allen University, establishing the Boeing Institute on Civility to advance civil discourse around the globe.

You can see our board and Executive Council members’ dedication in their work and the ways they use their voices. Chair of the Board Larry Kellner and President and CEO David Calhoun are passionate about equity, diversity and inclusion and regularly engage with company leaders and employees on the topic. Board member and thought leader Ron Williams, like many of our directors, is known for his advocacy in this area. He has written insightful opinion editorials that have heightened C-suite focus on diversity’s positive impact on the bottom line: “Parity of opportunity will require action across multiple fronts, including boards of directors, CEOs, C-suites and stakeholders.”

All of us, including me, my fellow teammates and our board members, have a role to play in making our workplace more inclusive. Creating a sense of belonging is foundational to our collective success. By continuing to build an environment where every Boeing employee brings their most authentic self to work, we not only provide an opportunity for all teammates to flourish, but also move our company and industry forward.

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