NEW President and CEO Sarah Alter joined 70 leaders from business and academia at the first-ever CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion summit in New York, November 10. NEW and many of its partner companies are members of CEO Action, a coalition of hundreds of businesses, NGOs and universities advancing diversity and inclusion.
This session was designed for CEOs to identify short- and long-term actions business leaders can achieve in their own organizations and as a collective coalition to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
“This truly felt like a watershed moment,” Alter said. “The power of the organizations represented, the high level of the attendees, who were all presidents and CEOs, and the commitment shown was incredibly impressive. I was pleased to see so many of our partners here. It is clear that business is ready to take action in transforming the workplace and advancing diversity and inclusion.
“A key takeaway was gender equality and diversity and inclusion isn’t just a project. D&I can’t be a separate initiative, led by a separate executive with a separate team. It should be embedded in the culture."
NEW partners represented
NEW partners in attendance included Julie Sweet, CEO North America for Accenture Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte US; Stephen Howe Jr., U.S. Chairman and Americas Managing Partner for EY; Frédéric Rozé, CEO of L’Oreal USA; Randy Day, CEO of Perdue Farms; and David Taylor, CEO of Procter & Gamble.
“This work is vital because our employees, communities and college campuses are continuing to face complex and escalating issues. We are committed to ensuring that our organizations can make positive and sustainable differences in the areas of diversity and inclusion. The only way to do that is to have the difficult conversations that address our differences and learn how to do this work together,” said PwC Senior Partner and U.S. Chairman Tim Ryan, chair of the CEO Action Steering Committee.
At the closed door session, signatories discussed advancing the diversity and inclusion agenda with a focus on key issues around gender, race and measuring impact. They also strategized how to implement actions within the CEO Action pledge collectively and within their own organizations. The CEOs will continue to communicate effective programming and measurement practices to strengthen commitments and serve employees and society as a whole better.
The coalition also announced the formation of the CEO Action President’s Circle to help translate the CEO Action pledge into actions that engage students, faculty and administration around diversity and inclusion to drive lasting change for the future workforce at college campuses across the country.