The challenges facing Chief Diversity Officers at this moment are significant. At our annual Top 50 event, Kim Jenkins, Special Advisor to the CEO at Fair360 (formerly DiversityInc), spoke to leaders about how to navigate those challenges and keep progress moving forward from the CDO’s office.
The session began with Susan Stith, retired Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at The Cigna Group (No. 14 on the 2023 Top 50 Companies list), giving a talk about diversity fatigue and how to avoid burnout. She discussed the evolution of DEI over the past 20 years, highlighting the shift from policies focused on non-discrimination and EEO to DEI as a driver of innovation, growth and strong business results.
Stith also discussed the emotional, physical and mental toll that DEI work can take on practitioners, especially when met with resistance to initiatives, changing priorities and employees expecting immediate action. She stressed the importance of DEI work, not just as the right thing to do, but also as a competitive advantage for companies, leading to more profitability, innovation and growth.