International Women’s Day presents an opportunity to unite and galvanize communities around a shared vision to Press for Progress towards equality for all. Yet, I think many people would agree that this is only one day, among 364 others, that reminds us that we should be working towards a universal goal for gender equality and women empowerment. Shouldn’t every new day be a reason to think, act, and be inclusive?
To some, it may feel like we’ve had a lot of ‘Women’s Days’ as of late. While women’s issues dominated media coverage over the last year, social media helped to amplify these issues around the world starting with the #metoo movement – which gained momentum and ushered us into the #timesup era. I feared and speculated that this special moment in time might create a backlash. I sat in silence and listened to story after story until I decided that time is indeed up and I shared my personal pledge to get more involved in creating change.
Building a Culture of Inclusion
The professional services industry has historically experienced a gap in both gender and ethnic diversity. West Monroe is no exception. However, as a firm, we are committed to building a more inclusive environment in order to welcome more diversity into our workforce. Our journey began last year with the creation of an Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Council, comprised of a diverse group of eighteen colleagues and leaders at all levels of the organization to help inform our strategies on inclusion and diversity matters. We created more flexibility and support by extending our parental leave policy for both primary and secondary caregivers. We focused on building awareness by conducting Inclusion Workshops across our offices exploring what inclusion means, what it looks like, and how to be more inclusive in day-to-day life. We created partnerships with organizations such as FairyGodBoss and Girls Who Code to help us attract more diverse talent to West Monroe. We invested in a strategic partnership with Ellevate Network to create opportunities for the next generation of our women leaders to help them build their personal and professional networks, establish their personal brand, and elevate the West Monroe employer brand in the markets where we live and work to meet potential recruits, and develop relationships with client and prospects.
Steps in the Right Direction
While we’re still early in our journey, we’re proud of the progress we’re making.
We hired 25% more women new joiners into our firm in 2017 versus the prior year. The future is bright with 49% of last year’s summer internship class comprised of women. Beyond the quantitative metrics, I am inspired by my fellow colleagues who are so passionate about promoting equality for all. I admire the employees that are active in our Women’s Committee and I learn from those that share their own stories in articles published on our West Monroe Blog, and other channels such as the Huffington Post and Forbes. Here are a few worth reading:
- A Conversation About Inclusion & Diversity, Part 3: Breaking Down Barriers by Brian Paulen
- Embrace The Chaos: Navigating The C-suite As A Working Mom by Casey Foss via Forbes
- 5 Steps To Combat Gender Disparity In The Workplace by Susan Stelter via HuffPost
- Growing a Passion into a Successful Business: Lessons Learned from the ACG Women’s Forum by Roger Yang
- See to Be: Takeaways from WMP Seattle’s Women’s Networking Event by Julia Ko and Karen Wisniewski
- Leading from the Next Generation: Four Simple Ways to Stop Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes in the Workplace by Terri Mackay via HuffPost
- What I Didn’t Expect When I Was Expecting: Confronting Societal Norms as a Working Parent by Nicole Shaver via HuffPost
As a leader amongst many of my colleagues in our Inclusion & Diversity efforts, I am determined to continue to press for progress on equality. I celebrate with you and ask you to join us.