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Healthy Disruption Can Lead to
Authenticity and Impact in DEIJ Efforts

At the 2022 virtual C2HR CON, Cox Enterprises Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity Erin Mitchell Richeson will moderate a panel titled, “Advancing DEIJ Beyond Words to Meaningful Impact.” Leveraging her experience supporting Cox’s efforts Erin Mitchell Richesonaround diversity recruitment, employee engagement, diversity learning and talent development, she will lead the discussion challenging organization leaders to build and sustain successful diversity initiatives that thrive long after the news cycle’s spotlight fades. 

Two years ago, as the onset of the pandemic intersected with a season of heightened social unrest in the country, “companies started a different type of diversity, equity and inclusion journey,” explained Mitchell Richeson. “Some of the common questions asked then and now are: Is this sustainable? Is there going to be lasting power? Are we going to just take this as a moment of ‘clarity and awakening’ and leave it there? Or are we really going to put initiatives into practice to address our social inequalities?” 

Three industry DEI leaders will join Mitchell Richeson in this panel dialog:  

Matthew Harrison, SVP of Talent & Development & DEI, Jackson Healthcare 

Melanie Miller, Inclusion Strategist, Melanie Miller & Associates 

Mari Sifo, CHRO, SWM International 

The panel will address four overarching themes of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, beginning with a question around diversity accountability: Who is the decision-maker behind an organization’s diversity initiatives? 

Many companies create employee resource groups (ERGs) targeted at recruiting and empowering specific underrepresented populations, but, Mitchell Richeson believes, these groups’ efforts are maximized when they work collaboratively with the HR team.  

“You can't put it all on employee resource groups, on talent acquisition, or on inclusion and diversity teams to fix equity problems,” says Mitchell Richeson. “You have to think about the role that everyone in the organization plays.  HR leaders and business partners manage many of the critical moments in the employee lifecycle — from onboarding new hires, to promoting and developing managers to how we’re evaluating performance in the workplace where progress toward inclusion, diversity and equity goals can be optimized.” 

When it comes to addressing equity, Mitchell Richeson will ask panelist to explore how organizations have been looking within and being transparent about their invisible barriers to growth and opportunity, particularly for employees of color.  

She acknowledges that there's no one right answer or blanket approach to being transparent and opening yourself up to discomfort or liability. 

"Without discomfort, we don't really grow,” says Mitchell Richeson. “We’re able to just stay in our little bubbles and continue to exist. So, you have to ask yourself what a healthy amount of discomfort looks like for your company, and whether your organization is ready for that healthy disruption. Whatever you do has to be authentic to your organization.” 

As she explores the issue of inclusivity, Mitchell Richeson expects to hear about how leaders are promoting intersectionality and allyship across their marginalized employees, all while challenging existing implicit and explicit biases.  

Knowledge CenterAs for a company’s role in advocating for and exemplifying justice, Mitchell Richeson knows that every organization may differ in their public- or employee-facing expressions. How are organizations, then, instilling confidence in their employees who may hear their leaders’ silence and assume there’s no equity work being done behind the scenes? These are only some of the compelling thought-starters Mitchell Richeson plans to leverage to give session attendees meaningful insight that they can put to work in their organizations.  Register now to take advantage of this dynamic session and all that the 2022 virtual C2HR CON has to offer! 

For related resources on the topic of DEIJ, please visit the HR Knowledge Center, a curated collection of timely articles and webinars.  




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