Leading Out Loud: DEI

We ask an industry expert about the importance and benefit of implementing DEI initiatives into an organization

November 16, 2023 Photo

[Editor's Note: The following content is sponsored by Pete Fowler Construction Consultants.]

Why is diversity, equity, and inclusion a necessary and noble goal to pursue for organizations? How do DEI initiatives benefit organizations and employees? And finally, how can you incorporate DEI into your organization in a way that generates involvement and excitement among your staff?

What does diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) mean to you and your organization? Why, in your view, is it a necessary and noble goal to pursue?  

Jennifer Briley, Pete Fowler Construction Consultants: As a company, we understand that a variety of backgrounds and experiences will only strengthen our team and improve our success and longevity. Acting with integrity is one of our core beliefs, and we feel that having a strong DEI awareness and program is a central component to managing our internal operations with integrity. It’s so important that we penned a DEI policy several years ago, and it begins with this statement: 

“Our company understands that unconscious bias exists in the world, and therefore, in the workplace. In order to ensure that bias does not affect the positive work environment of each and every team member, we strive to evaluate our policies from diverse perspectives, celebrate the mosaic of differences within our team, counteract bias through continuous learning and engagement, ensure the fair treatment of all members of our team, and ensure that there is an equitable, level playing field. Our intent is to focus on solutions, not to shift blame such that the bully becomes the bullied; rather, we desire open communication that encourages equitable treatment for all.”   

What are some DEI initiatives you have implemented, and what has been the benefit to your organization and its employees? 

Jennifer Briley, Pete Fowler Construction Consultants: Workforce diversity—we purposefully recruit from a diverse, qualified group of candidates to increase our diversity of thinking and perspective. One small way that we help ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion in our hiring practices is that our process begins with a one-on-one phone call to help reduce any unintended bias that can result from the first encounter occurring in-person. This allows us to focus on the person’s skills and qualifications in determining whether the candidate will advance for further consideration.

Workplace inclusion—we purposefully foster a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness to enable all employees to achieve their full potential and increase retention.

Sustainability and accountability—we seek to identify and break down systemic barriers to full inclusion via diversity, equity, and inclusion in policies and practices. Further, our intent is to equip leaders with the ability to manage diversity and be accountable for the results via third-party training opportunities and internal mentorship.

How have you gone about incorporating these DEI initiatives into your organization’s culture? How have you generated involvement and excitement among your organization’s staff?

Jennifer Briley, Pete Fowler Construction Consultants: Several years ago, a team member was engaged to serve as our internal subject matter expert on DEI. Mikala Glaza did an impressive job of researching common practices and pitfalls that served as the foundation for her recommendations that were incorporated into our DEI policy. She consults with us internally on DEI issues based upon our stated policy. Further, Mikala has worked with both internal team members, clients, and industry colleagues to prepare and present a phenomenal webinar series on DEI topics. She also participated in CLM’s Focus event last year via a panel discussion entitled, “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: A Beginner’s Guide to Allyship in Law, Construction, and Insurance.” K

Jennifer Briley is Director of Operations – People & Brand for Pete Fowler Construction Consultants. jennifer.briley@petefowler.com


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Through education and action, CLM’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee advances the mission of inclusion, and identifies and supports practices that demonstrate leadership in common core values. The committee offers unique opportunities to help strengthen CLM’s partners and perspectives.

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