top of page

When it comes to creating equity in the office, are the right people putting in the work?


Happy Friday.

Earlier this week, I wrote a column that shared fresh insights into the lives and concerns of DEI professionals. It generated a lot of mail, and I appreciate everyone who reached out.

Here are a couple of highlights of what’s on your minds, and a request for help.

LeNaye Willis-Lloyd, Senior Vice President and Executive Lead, Diversity Equity and Inclusion at Avantus, raised important questions about the job at hand:

  • We talk about tired DEI leaders, however, our employees of color who are often the leaders of employee resource groups and other DEI-related initiatives are also exhausted.

  • I am obsessed with metrics…how do I quantitively and qualitatively measure the success of DEI across my company?  I wonder how other practitioners collect data and measure success?

  • Our business (professional services/government consulting) [work in] a hybrid environment, but some employees work on client sites where they are unable to participate in DEI programs. How do we continue to reach them?

Francesca Weems, Senior Vice President, Director of DE&I, and Global Lead of the Race & Culture Media + Platforms Team at FleishmanHillard talked about how the massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde, and the somber commemoration of the murder of George Floyd, underscored the precariousness of the moment we’re in.  

“For me, as a DEI comms practitioner, I am reminded daily of the world feeling like it’s unraveling,” she wrote.  “What keeps me going is the belief that companies will step up to positively change the world. I am blessed to work with some of the biggest brands in the world—companies with immense power. So, every time I feel defeated, or that I cannot make a difference, I think about the fact that I am in rooms with global leaders who have the power and resources to do something.”

And finally, Elizabeth Bennett, who works for transportation and environmental planning and design firm VHB, could use some help from y’all.

“I’m a DEI professional who reports to our Chief People Officer,” she wrote. “She asked me for a style guide for using the proper/best language pertaining to diverse representation in the workplace so we can agree on the language we use. Is there one style guide that you recommend in particular?

Thank you in advance for your assistance. Please use subject line: Inclusive Style Guide.

Don’t forget, I’m reviving raceAhead’s private LinkedIn group for DEI experts, which went fallow during the pandemic. I’m hoping to use that as a resource for smart reporting and necessary solidarity going forward.

I’ll end on one personal note:

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Wandy Felicita Ortiz, who has been a stalwart in the Fortune newsroom, editing and processing our growing portfolio of newsletters. Like for so many of you, raceAhead is personal, and she put her whole foot into it from day one. She improves everything she touches, and I will miss her—though I’m hoping to entice her back with the occasional guest essay every now and then.

Wishing you a weekend filled with micro-moments of joy.

Ellen McGirt


This edition of raceAhead was edited for the very last time by Wandy Felicita Ortiz.

39 views0 comments


bottom of page