Leading Through the Ever-evolving World of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In November of 2021, I stood before the membership of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association© (HFPA) to address them for the first time in my new role as the organization’s first-ever Chief Diversity Officer. I looked around the audience and was struck by the many manifestations of diversity before me amidst this body of Golden Globe Awards voters. It was ironic. I was appointed to this position to lead the HFPA through a time of major controversy and setback – the organization had recently been very publicly and justifiably exposed for under-representation, more aptly no representation, of Black journalists among their membership. Yet, I was seeing the faces and feeling the presence of over fifty countries represented, reflecting racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, age, and geographic diversity, as well as diversity of language, gender identity, and sexual orientation. This was one of many such oddities that the world of DEI can present – vast diversity, yet not diverse enough.

Now, the HFPA has Black journalists included among its members, as well as Black board members. Beyond this, through a combination of prioritization, initiatives, focus, intentionality, and execution there are now sixty-two countries represented among the Golden Globe Awards voting body which is currently 52% female and 52% non-white.

It would be inaccurate to consider any organization that embarks on a long-term DEI journey as suddenly “fixed” – this is a word meant for inanimate objects that require repair, and it falsely and dangerously conveys a ‘finish-line’ that simply does not exist in this work. Organizations are living, breathing, and dynamic entities. So, it is more accurate to say that the HFPA is evolving, continually growing in both number and mindset to elevating its identity around DEI values. This is how change gets rooted, nourished, and sustained for long-term transformation.

My attachment to this work is my deep belief in inherent equal human value. My approach is rooted in my ever-expanding awareness – I am constantly learning. My action is tied to my Inside Diversity© philosophy.

  • Get INSIDE the true meaning of ‘diversity’, ‘equity’, and ‘inclusion’. Take the time to clearly define these terms within the organization.
  • Recognize that while there are continually emerging ‘norms’ throughout the DEI landscape, the organization must confidently determine its own DEI pursuits and goals that align with the critical elements of its identity. DEI identity can and should be unique to every organization… an INSIDE-out approach.
  • Make DEI an INSIDE job. Work to create, develop, and sustain an ever-increasing level of organizational self sufficiency so that it can rely on continuously nourished policies, procedures, expectations, behaviors, commitments, and culture to pursue and achieve desired markers of DEI identity. I encounter many recurring themes in organizational DEI expansion and transformation.

1) A deep and unwavering commitment to DEI matters must be made, clearly defined and articulated, and publicly declared, both internally and externally. This must be done initially and routinely by the organization leaders and then must become adopted and echoed by others, beyond the titled leaders.

2) The effort must be comprehensive. Every aspect of the organization operation and functioning must be examined through the lens of equitable opportunity, representation, voice, and impact.

3) Any and all goals pertaining to DEI expansion and transformation must reach far beyond avoiding controversy or escaping it. There must be a higher purpose than merely staying out of trouble.

4) It is beneficial to always consider and tap existing relational assets and resources – clients, partnerships, etc. – and to consider opportunities in these areas. An organization is always attached to entities beyond itself.

5) The work must be undertaken by the entire organization, not just those with DEI or other such terms in their title.

Embrace organizational DEI expansion and transformation as an opportunity, as well as an obligation.

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