The rise of the Chief Diversity Officer

The rise of the Chief Diversity Officer

It was recently in the news that Facebook’s chief diversity officer, Maxine Williams, will now report directly to COO Sheryl Sandberg instead of to the VP of Human Resources. This means a higher profile for Williams, and more emphasis on her role.

But the news prompted plenty of people to think quietly to themselves, “What the heck is a chief diversity officer?”

The CDO’s job is to root out inequality and effect real change within their organizations. Not every company has one, but those that do are intentionally demonstrating a commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion within their organizations.

Ideally, CDOs align their efforts with business outcomes, and help create policy change and stronger organizational culture. They also address specific issues that face demographic populations within the business.

Along with the news about Williams’ promotion, Facebook also used Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., as an opportunity to create learning within the organization this year. Likewise, Twitter and Square announced that from now on, Juneteenth will be a company-wide holiday.

Based on my 20 years as a recruiter, I can say with confidence that change can be found in the business world.

By Michael Barros, Managing Partner, Prestige Scientific

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