In addition to the ToolKit, a compilation of resources specific for CEOs and business leaders to start their journey to a more inclusive organization, the Colorado Inclusive Economy Corner contains additional articles, studies, and news surrounding the DE&I space. More importantly, there are highlights from Inclusive Economy organizations that are doing the work to create a more inclusive organization, and thus an economy that works for all people.
The Colorado Inclusive Economy (CIE) started in the midst of a national awakening to the persistent and growing inequalities experienced by people of color in our country. The nationwide protests ignited the collective conscience about the need for real change in our country, and the pandemic laid this inequity bare in terrible new ways.
By April 2020, 35% of the lowest-income workers were unemployed. In contrast, just 9% of the highest earners experienced job loss due to COVID. And these job losses inordinately impacted people of color.
Like so many of you, these figures shocked and appalled us. We firmly believe that there is no economic freedom without a job and that there is no job-creation machine like business. Business-led solutions are at the center of this work, and business leaders have a moral duty to work together to build an economy with equitable access for everyone.
With your support, CIE envisioned a Colorado that would be a national leader in building a more equitable economy. And we committed to doing something about it.
In our first year, we’ve made tremendous progress:
- By August, CIE had recruited over 50 volunteers to plot out the framework, learning journey, and outreach plan for the movement.
- CIE developed its three pillars: employers, future workforce, and the business environment.
- We raised over $120K to establish the movement.
- By late 2020, CIE formally established itself under the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center (CNDC).
- Many leading DEI professionals volunteered their expertise to help build a digital toolkit of 38 lessons for an inclusive economy.
- Through op-eds and other outreach, CIE built its first cohort of 28 leaders — CEOs, Executive Directors, and others — committed to setting and reaching goals for themselves and the state. This group represents businesses large and small, across multiple industries throughout Denver.
- The second cohort of 20 Leaders begins its journey in March 2021.
The movement continues to evolve in response to our committed business leaders, the needs of the business ecosystem, and the ongoing state-level response to COVID relief and economic inequity.
In 2021, the Colorado Inclusive Economy plans to hire a Chief Executive Officer, launch three cohorts, and partner with other Colorado organizations invested in driving change in business, policy, and beyond. Together, we can turn Colorado into a state where people of all races and ethnicities can thrive.
Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to this movement,
The Colorado Inclusive Economy Leadership Team
We stand together with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in grief and outrage against the brutal murders of the six Asian women in Atlanta. We decry the acts of violence and hate against the AAPI community and reaffirm our commitment to building a Colorado of shared prosperity and inclusion for People of Color. Let us not forget that Denver’s first race riot erased Chinatown. Colorado Inclusive Economy asks that each of you use your voice to stop all forms of violence against our AAPI family, friends, loved ones, and neighbors.
Learn more about the history of hate and violence against the AAPI community:
The annual Colorado Talent Pipeline Report identifies areas of growing demand and opportunity, key features of the current labor force, and strategies to balance the supply and demand equation for talent. It also highlights the Top Jobs in Colorado — jobs with high annual openings, above average growth, and a good wage.
– Colorado Workforce Development Council
In a recent The New York Times article by Steve Lohr, he writes about current research that shows:
“As many as 30 million American workers without four-year college degrees have the skills to realistically move into new jobs that pay on average 70 percent more than their current ones. “
Building an economy that works for all means rethinking how skills are measured. Read the full article here.
[Excerpt from the original article in the Catholic Health World here.]
President and chief executive of SCL Health, Broomfield, Colorado
The renewed urgency around racial equality and social justice has prompted Lydia Jumonville to look inwardly at what she and her health system are doing to promote diversity, equity and inclusiveness and at what more they can do. “I think it’s caused us all to pause and say, ‘Are the things that we’re doing helping move this along in as appropriately expeditious a way as possible?'” she says.
In response to the calls for change, Jumonville over the summer joined 29 other chief executives who became founding members of Colorado Inclusive Economy, a group that describes itself as committed to rebuilding the state’s economy “in a way that works for all.” She says she and the group’s other leaders “are really dedicated to envisioning and operationalizing a Colorado that is more equitable and inclusive.” The leaders will share best practices and provide an open discussion toward that goal.
Within SCL Health, Jumonville and her leadership team are sharpening their focus on health disparities and how best to address them. They are now at work on a five-year strategic plan that she says will focus on how to best measure health disparities and from there act with intention on how SCL Health can help impact and create more health equity in the communities the system serves.
Jumonville says the overhang of health disparities was evident in the uneven impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the illness slammed the Native American population in Montana, SCL Health leaders worked with tribal leaders to provide education about the disease and care for those who were stricken in a culturally sensitive way. As the surge in cases pushed the system’s resources to the brink, dozens of SCL Health associates in Denver volunteered to go to Montana to help out.
“I’ve seen incredible collaboration and many positive things coming out of our response to COVID,” Jumonville says.
— LISA EISENHAUER
[Read the full article and the other professional’s perspective in the Catholic Health World here.]
In an article earlier this year, VP of Student Affairs & Campus Diversity, and Distinguished Professor of Education at San Diego State University, J. Luke Wood, PhD, writes about how implicit bias training is not a cure-all for workplace inclusion:
“Implicit bias training must be combined with other strategies, such as inclusive job announcements and search criteria, pool certification for representational diversity, diversity advocates on search committees, evaluation of teaching demonstrations based on the use of inclusive pedagogies, cluster hiring, systems of accountability, and clear support from campus leaders.”
[As written in the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce November 2020 Newsletter]
As a leader—as an American—these recent months have been a time for self-reflection. I’ve been examining my own beliefs and behavior as well as my company’s. It’s crystal clear to me that business leaders need to prioritize combating racism and fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our own workforces and use our platforms and influence to develop an inclusive economy in our great state.
My board and I are proud of our company and believe we set a good example of fair employment practices and good corporate citizenship both inside and outside our walls. But are we as good as we want to be? The answer is “not yet.”
In June, I sent an email to our 650 employees, talking of the need for positive action using as a metaphor the Jewish responsibility of “tikkun olam” or “heal the world.” The email generated an outpouring of responses from our employees, most of whom were hungry for dialogue and action. However, a sizable minority asked why a successful company like ours needed to change or saw DEI as a political issue we shouldn’t touch in the work environment. It became so clear that we needed to continue to listen—to address employee beliefs and pain points directly as we move ahead.
In the meantime, we’ve made some immediate changes to our recruiting and hiring practices, are building more diverse supply chains, and are providing training and resources to support our employees’ understanding. We know that this is just the beginning. I’m also thinking more broadly how to build initiatives that will support communities across Colorado and make this work have a lasting impact.
As this work evolves, we may make some decisions with which all of our employees do not agree. If we do so transparently and respectfully, in faithful pursuit of clearly articulated goals and actions, I believe that we can play a part in healing the world. That calling has never been more urgent.
Phil Kalin, President and CEO, Pinnacol Assurance
Kaiser Permanente announced this week their commitment of a $1 million grant to the American Heart Association Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund.
Bernard was on a determined mission to transform health care in America, and through his leadership helped bring issues of equity into the mainstream. He touched so many lives, and I know through his legacy he will continue to touch lives,” said Greg A. Adams, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. As we have seen with COVID-19’s disproportionate health and social impacts on Black, Latinx, and other underserved communities, it’s clear that there is far more work to be done. We are proud to honor Bernard’s memory and help continue his life’s work with this contribution.”
The Inclusive Economy Movement is devoted to promoting black voices, leaders, and workers. Today, we wanted to share some insight from Dr. Tiffany Jana (they/them) of TMI Consulting, Inc., in an interview with Chris Marquis, a contributing writer for Forbes. Jana is a leading voice in justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) work, saying,
“We look to expand people’s cultural fluency, because a lot of the negative behavior that we see has to do with a lack of exposure.
After the death of George Floyd and so many others, countless companies issued statements of support for the Black Lives Matter campaign. While these statements were a step in the right direction, actual change is — for the most part — still needed.
A USA TODAY analysis shows that “while corporations and boardrooms have added African Americans over the decades, the executive suite has not, even at companies that have diverse boards.”
This reality is in dire need of correction. If we want to bring about an Inclusive Economy, we must work to have Black people in every space of the corporate hierarchy. The report also found that “Of the 279 top executives listed in the proxy statements, only five, or 1.8%, were Black, including two who recently retired.”
We must do better. What does your C-Suite look like?
Social determinants of health (SDOH) are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of life-risks and outcomes.
For example, for many people in racial and ethnic minority groups, living conditions may contribute to underlying health conditions and make it difficult to follow steps to prevent getting sick with COVID-19 or to seek treatment if they do get sick.
There are countless factors that can impact a person’s health, and this website from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sheds light on it all.
EVERFI, an E-learning company, is another tool that CEOs and leaders can use to promote DEI in their businesses. What should you measure? Simply put, “Measure what matters.”
Here are 6 simple questions to ask yourself about the DEI initiatives in your company. We hope you use this as a stepping stone to think about what your company can do more of to truly build an Inclusive Economy.
COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the world. In the U.S., the impact of the coronavirus on minorities and historically disenfranchised people is even greater than on white people. In an investigative essay for Economic Policy Institute, Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman dissects and explains the importance of lifting up black women, writing:
“Black women are the core of the nation’s economy, holding the front-line jobs and running small businesses, and they are more often the single heads of households in their communities. If they are elevated through policy, including everything from paid sick leave to stimulus programs targeted directly toward them, the economy at-large will benefit.”