North Shore Chamber holds forum on positioning DE&I
in the workplace
DANVERS -- The North Shore Chamber of Commerce was honored to host an all-star panel of experts on January 13th who discussed how their organizations are positioning Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the workforce.
Members, business leaders, and guests gathered virtually to explore DE&I best practices from top leaders who are answering the call for inclusion.
The panel consisted of Dr. Nate Bryant, interim president of North Shore Community College; Kathleen Henry, Eastern Bank’s general counsel and EVP Human Resources; and Dean Murray, Electric Insurance VP Regulatory/CCO & Chief Diversity Officer.
The North Shore Chamber would like to thank Eastern Bank, the exclusive sponsor of this morning’s event. In his opening remarks, Eastern Bank President Quincy Miller offered this message to the Chamber:
“The dialogue on this issue is critical for businesses now more than ever. DE&I is not only a social justice issue, but it’s the right thing and smart thing to do, to represent the communities you serve, that make up your membership. We are proud to support the North Shore Chamber in your efforts on building awareness around DE&I.”
The full video of the Jan. 13th DE&I forum is available via this link:
A summary of highlights are as follows:
Dean Murray, Electric Insurance:
• Electric Insurance coined the phrase “EIC For Everyone,” (pronounced “Ike” For Everyone). This conversational term is now used throughout the company. Murray explained that “EIC for Everyone” means looking at DE&I through the lens of customers and key stakeholders.
• Electric Insurance named “champions” whose responsibility is to ensure DEI compliance for the company. These champions engage with all employees, especially for new-hire referrals, and report to the CEO monthly and Board of Directors quarterly.
• The company created four pillars for DEI, which are (1) Expansion of Recruiting Pipeline and Representation; (2) Inclusive Culture; (3) Community Engagement & Business Focus Areas; and (4) Customers and Product Perspective.
• As a for-profit company, it is important to balance DEI -- like all initiatives -- with return on investment. This means asking three questions: (1) Can we do it? (2) Will we do it? (3) Will we sustain it?
Kathleen Henry, Eastern Bank:
• A guiding principle for Eastern Bank is for its “staff to reflect our customers and community.”
• DEI starts at the Board leadership level, “which gives our whole organization a lift.”
• “We can look up and lean up on our leaders.” Led by CEO Bob Rivers, Eastern Bank has created its “Road to Equity,” which is a roadmap to become an even more equitably diverse company.
• Prior to last summer, Henry explained, DEI had always been a north star for the company -- “our boards, our leadership team, in our workforce, products, suppliers and charitable foundation.” A subsequent deep-dive into the workforce, however, showed areas for improvement. “Where are our women? Where are our colleagues of color in leadership? Our Road to Equity has (led us to) become an even more diverse, equitable and inclusive company.”
• Henry noted that data is critically important, and that all key managers must understand the diverse makeup of their departments. “Know your metrics. Study it. Own it.”
• Henry explained: “We can’t move the needle to where it needs to be without knowing the data of where we were. If you go up to our officer level from the non-officer level, the number of women goes from 67% to 25% and the same trajectory goes for ethnicity. We had to do something more.”
• Regarding DEI, education is very important, especially for middle managers who do most of the hiring.
Dr. Nate Bryant:
• Making DE&I a priority must come from the leadership of the organization. “It starts at the top!”
• The college employs a Chief Diversity Officer. Bryant recommends this important position for all larger organizations to ensure there is one person – with a seat at the leadership table – focusing on how all decisions affect DE&I.
• He also recommends assigning “diversity champions.”
• Optics are important, but actions are bigger.
• Perform climate studies and audits “to get a sense of what the campus is thinking. It informs the work.”
• Review both hiring and retention practices. For example, consider retaining employees by mentoring, providing career ladders and professional development opportunities, and/or affinity groups.
• Act quickly and be thoughtful. But realize, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Thank you to the many business leaders who attended the Chamber's first conversation on 'Diversity, Equity & Inclusion’ in the workforce. We value your feedback greatly. Please take two minutes of your time to provide feedback on the program with this brief survey.
Please take our 2-minute DEI Forum Survey -
The North Shore Chamber of Commerce believes that celebrating diversity, championing equity and cultivating inclusion are key to creating a vibrant economy in the North of Boston Region.
The Chamber supports an environment that fosters and represents the special talents, expertise and knowledge of all backgrounds and perspectives. To better serve and represent our membership, we are committed to seeking an equitable, transparent and inclusive board, membership, work force, business environment and community. We demonstrate these values through our policies, practices, membership services and community engagement, and we support our members and partners as they do the same.
About the North Shore Chamber of Commerce
The North Shore Chamber, established in 1918, is one of the largest chambers of commerce in Massachusetts, with more than 600 members. The Chamber serves as a regional entity representing organizations within more than 30 cities and towns located in northeastern Massachusetts. Dedicated to shaping policy and events so that decisions by business and government result in a better North Shore as a place to live and work, the chamber serves as a platform for business and opportunity to meet, grow and succeed.
Karen Andreas can be reached via email at email@example.com or by calling (978) 774-8565.
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