WOCA 2022: Leading a DEI Culture Worthy of a Legacy

Ameren President and CEO Martin Lyons shared the actions his company is taking to advance women of color at all levels in the workplace at the Women of Color and Their Allies event (WOCA).

This WOCA session, titled “CEO Fireside Chat: Leading a DEI Culture Worthy of a Legacy,” featured a conversation between Lyons and Carolynn Johnson, CEO of Fair360, formerly DiversityInc. The two CEOs discussed ways to not only implement strategies for women of color, but also ensure that this work will endure in the future.

Part of Ameren’s mission is being a company that people want to work for and continue working for. Building strong values based on diversity, equity and inclusion as well as respect, teamwork, integrity and excellence is at the organization’s foundation. When employees sense this, passion for their work and connection to the company grows.

“The demographics of our organization should match the demographics of the community that we serve, really at all levels of our company,” said Lyons. “We’re very much focused on recruiting, retention, development and a culture that supports a diverse and inclusive environment.”

The tone starts at the top, with the board of directors. Then it stems down to the executive leadership team, who makes sure that diverse, equitable and inclusive standards are met throughout the company.

“We’re making sure that as we go down through the organization, we have the recruiting, the retention and the cultural aspects that foster a diverse workforce, and really allow that diversity to thrive — so women of color are being given the support and opportunities to thrive in the organization.”

Ameren offers multiple programs to ensure that diverse talent is both sought out and retained, especially women of color. The company supports women who have left the workforce and would like to return but aren’t necessarily ready or able to commit to full-time or 100% in-person positions. The programs include upskilling and confidence-building, which allows women of color to return to the workforce at a comfortable pace.

Within the organization, Ameren also offers opportunities for leadership development. These programs help women of color have access to the training, network and exposure they need to reach the next level in their careers.

“We make sure that we have diversity not just in the early parts of careers, but in our pipeline of promotions and in the leadership development program. We’re trying to leverage programs from recruiting all the way through development and retention.”

Watch all the sessions from our 2022 Women of Color and Their Allies event here!