60 Powerful Quotes on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion from 2021 to Inspire a Better Company Culture (2024)

December 30, 2021

60 Powerful Quotes on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion from 2021 to Inspire a Better Company Culture (1)

While the year 2021 might have not been the easiest ride, we want to take a moment to acknowledge the bumps, but also the wins. The covid-19 pandemic has brought tremendous change and upheaval to all of our work lives. We embraced working remotely and flexibility. Another major change of this year has been the increasing push to prioritize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace.

DEI is certainly not a new concept in the business world. For many, the protests of summer 2020 shined a bright light on many of the racial and gendered inequities in our society and highlighted the need to carefully consider how diversity, equity and inclusion are navigated in the world of work.

With the end of the year upon us, we thought of collating 60 quotes on DEI from 2021 that we loved.

1.“Data is key to understanding whether D&I strategies are successful, as well as to identify ways to further develop our strategies or to identify areas that require greater focus and investment.” ​​—Keisha Bell, Managing Director and Head of Diverse Talent Management and Advancement at DTCC.

2. “Integrating into the work people do every day also helps it become more doable … more feasible. I think those are some of the messages and the ways I’ve seen it (DEI work) resonate with people.” —Angela Allen, Country Financial Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager.

3. “There are just some folks that no matter what you say you’re not going to convince them so you need to spend energy on people where you see some promise, you see some glimmers of change, of connection, of nudging them along.” —Rocio Rivadeneyra, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at ISU.

4. “The more accessible we make the opportunities, the more we will hopefully see a payoff in the diversity, equity, and inclusion aspect of hiring. Creating a more level playing field to offer access to these opportunities will bring more people to the government, and once they are in the government, more resources are available to them.” —Tracy DiMartini, Chief human capital officer at the General Services Administration.

5. “Data-informed decision making is so important, specifically when we are talking about DEI. Rather than just aiming for a quick fix to improve your numbers in terms of diversity, data-informed hiring allows for you to evaluate the physical characteristics such as ethnicity and gender, but also characteristics of diversity of thought, education, or experience that have immense value.” —Kimya Lee, Executive director, strategic workforce planning and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security.

6. “Supporting DEI in the workplace is a business imperative, not just the right thing to do from a societal perspective. He believes that, just like anything that matters in business, companies have to be willing to put money into DEI. If you’re not willing to pay for it, it’s not a real commitment.” —Paris Wallace, Co-founder of Ovia .

7. “There are a lot of unwritten rules in the entertainment industry that create racial exclusion, and at Color Of Change, we know that to change society you have to change the rules. This inclusion rider is a written rule that will change the culture of hiring at the Grammys, and will make inclusion the norm.” —Rashad Robinson, President at Color of Change.

8. “Leaders will more readily support the goals if they understand the big picture and the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive organization.” —Chris Walker, Chief Human Resources Officer & Corporate Services.

9. “Our commitment to drive accountability for DEI is embedded in our responsibility to living our values. We initially focused on metrics for culture and representation, but now aligning DEI goals to our business strategy allows us to not only hold executives accountable but ensures that every person in our company plays an active role in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.” —Reginald J. Miller, McDonald’s VP, and Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer.

10. “When employees can bring their authentic selves to work, they become better educated about different cultures, experiences and expressions, helping them to build trust as colleagues and provide better care for all their patients,” —Jackie Hunter, UVMHN.

Also read: #UngenderForms: 100 Companies Need To Choose Inclusion For Their Forms, Leave M/F Behind

11. “As today’s leaders attempt to address diversity and inclusion priorities and challenges, no matter how uncomfortable, they should encourage candid conversations to elicit actionable insights. Senior management, including boards and CEOs, should visibly stand for D&I, as demonstrating commitment is crucial to bringing others on the journey. —Kumar Parakala, GHD.

12. “The way to ensure team members have a voice is to create a corporate communication structure that reflects this goal. We have cross-functional team meetings to get input from stakeholders in every department, from sales and product development to marketing and applications engineering. We also have a tiger team composed of department leaders who convey the thoughts and opinions of their staff. ”—Julie Song, Advanced RF Technologies, Inc.

13. “The D&I subject isn’t new; 2020 was simply a wake-up call for companies. Advancing workplace diversity is more important today than ever before. I suggest focusing on talent and engaging professionals who can accelerate emerging technologies and solve complex problems. This will help drive diversity in teams and bring broad perspectives together, generating better business results.” —Azmath Pasha, Paradigm Technology.

14. “Employees willingly voice their opinions when they know they are not going to be judged, will not face any negative consequences when they speak up and their voices will be valued. As leaders, we need to nurture a culture celebrating diverse opinions, and that will ensure team members are more engaged in voicing their opinions”. —Vishwas Manral, McAfee.

15. “We developed a monthly forum called “Tech Thursday” that is open to everyone within the company to discuss technology and where we should position ourselves as an organization. We are an employee-driven, customer-focused company. We understand that our employees are the engine behind our excellent work. We encourage our employees’ input and participation in these forums because they understand our customers.” —Calvin Rhodes, IP-Plus Consulting, Inc.

16. “Ensuring diverse team members have a voice in the strategic direction of the company starts with intentionally hiring and developing diverse talent. It continues with promoting awareness of how much better we are as a company when teams of diverse people, perspectives and points of view work together on our most strategic initiatives.” —Nina Vaca, Pinnacle Group, Inc.

17. “I ask our business development and sales teams to create and test specific hypotheses every week, which we review in detail in a Thursday progress update. Constant awareness and stress-testing of assumptions keep everyone aligned on our core goals and KPIs while encouraging our team to think outside of the box to both meet and challenge those goals.” —Aidan McCarty, Unum ID.

18. “Our strategic discussions are a joint team exercise that explicitly goes through a phase to identify and gather input from all team members. This ensures we have surveyed the landscape and formed a full picture before narrowing the focus toward execution. We also collaborate with the product development teams and the diversity and inclusion office to create a “diversity by design” process.” —Arthur Hu, Lenovo.

19. “We run a transparent roadmap process with an open-door policy, encouraging feedback and input from customers and employees. We also proactively solicit input from the team via office hours and open lunches with leadership, including an anonymized Q&A. We believe operating a high-trust environment requires making space for potentially uncomfortable questions, but that’s how the best work gets done.” —Josh Koenig, Pantheon Systems, Inc.

60 Powerful Quotes on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion from 2021 to Inspire a Better Company Culture (2)

20. “There are many ways to improve diversity and inclusion, but one of the most important ways is to measure the inclusivity of team members. We conduct two surveys a year in which we ask each employee to rate their level of inclusion. We use that data to drive change in our hiring and onboarding and in the way we work.” —Brian Bell, Split Software.

Also read: #Ungender’s Guide To Understanding Diversity And Inclusion At The Workplace

21. “Diverse teams bring a wealth of perspective that is critical to long-term success. I believe in fostering innovation by embedding it at the cultural level in our core principles. This enables staff at all levels to feel empowered to share their insights. A key part of creating this culture of innovation is to measure diverse ideas through reviews, promotions, raises and rewards.” —Chuck Canton, Sourcepass Inc.

22. “A company embracing D&I needs to do a lot more than just recruit diverse candidates. D&I is a cultural journey, and it has to start with building awareness, imparting education and spotlighting cultural gains from embracing a more inclusive culture at the company. It should become a habit to focus on ideas instead of the person behind the idea. And ideas should become truly “colorless.” —Suresh Chintada, Subex.

23. “We operate by core values that include “radical candor” (as originated by Kim Scott) as well as our more original value, “Speak up, then commit,” which encourages earnest discussion during the planning phase and then full follow-through after decisions. All our values promote communication, teamwork and mutual trust. We are continuously building a culture of active participation where all voices are heard and respected.” —Alex Lyashok, WorkFusion.

24. “The most critical action leaders can take to promote diversity and inclusion over the long term is to model, through their actions, how to honor and respect the dignity of every single person. When a company instills a people-centered culture as the priority, it can leverage the strengths and voices of a diverse set of people in the development of strategies, products, and services. —David Dewolf, 3 Pillar Global.

25. “Sustained progress is what will become really important in order for us to be really confident that there’s change.” —Dr. Stacy L. Smith, the founder, and Director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

26. “Diversity is a given, inclusion is a choice, equity is a goal. Belonging is our ultimate endpoint. When you recognize those three things, you create a culture that is on fire.” —Camille Chang Gilmore, Boston Scientific’s Global Chief Diversity Officer.

27. “The best innovations can only come if our people reflect the world’s full diversity of individuals, opinions, and approaches.” — Alex Gorsky, chair and CEO of Johnson & Johnson.

27. “When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become wiser, more inclusive, and better as an organization.” — Pat Wadors -Wadors, Chief Talent Officer at ServiceNow.

28. “D&I needs to be something that every single employee at the company has a stake in.” — Bo Young Lee, Uber’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

29. “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” — Sundar Pichai.

Also read:#What is Workplace Inclusivity and How Does it Impact Employee Morale Behind

30. “If we hold up a mirror, if we act on what we know and if we persist despite our discomfort.” —Daisy Auger-Domínguez, Chief people officer at Vice Media Group.

31. ​​“Like any cultural transformation, there’s not a one-and-done formula. There are many levers that need to be pulled” —Mia Mends, Global chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer and CEO of Impact Ventures at Sodexo North America.

32. “Pit I before the D. You can create a diverse workplace if you create an inclusive workplace.” — Roberto Di Bernardin.

33. “People have to assess their context and understand what their current state looks like to figure out what’s the right future state for them”.—Cindy Owyoung,Vice president of inclusion, equity, and belonging at Robinhood.

34. “There is a tendency to copy what other people are doing, but you may not have the same problems they have. Take the time to understand your business and what makes sense for you.” —Fiona MacDonald, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at ANZ.

35. “Without accountability, you’re just relying on people’s goodwill, and goodwill only takes you so far.” — Cindy at Robinhood.

60 Powerful Quotes on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion from 2021 to Inspire a Better Company Culture (3)

36. “Diversity and inclusion are two interconnected concepts—but they are far from interchangeable. Diversity is about representation or the make-up of an entity. Inclusion is about how well the contributions, presence, and perspectives of different groups of people are valued and integrated into an environment.” — Matt Bush, Culture Coaching Lead at Great Place to Work.

37. “Every individual deserves equal access to opportunity regardless of skin color or zip code. For too long, communities of color have faced gross injustices and institutional barriers to their pursuit of the American dream, and we are proud to lend our voices and resources to build new engines of opportunity that empower, inspire, and create meaningful change.” — Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy, and Social Initiatives.

38. “Diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice we make every day. As leaders, we have to put out the message that we embrace, and not just tolerate, diversity.” — Nellie Borrero, Global Inclusion and Diversity Managing Director at Accenture.

39. “Many conversations about diversity and inclusion do not happen in the boardroom because people are embarrassed at using unfamiliar words or afraid of saying the wrong thing — yet this is the very place we need to be talking about it. The business case speaks for itself — diverse teams are more innovative and successful in going after new markets.” — Inga Beale, Business Executive and former CEO of Lloyd’s of London.

40. “We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored.” —Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook.

41. “Embrace diversity of ideas. Embrace the fact that you can disagree with people and not be disagreeable. Embrace the fact that you can find common ground. If you disagree on nine out of 10 things but can find common ground on that 10th, maybe you can make progress. If you can find common ground, you can accomplish great things.” —David Boies, Lawyer and Chairman of Boies, Schiller, and Flexner.

42. “There is a huge business case for diversity. You will be making products for people you don’t understand, you don’t interact with. If you don’t have an inclusive, diverse workforce, it makes you myopic.” —Renee James, Technology Executive and former President of Intel.

43. “When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive, and better organisation.” —Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer at LinkedIn.

44. “We have a very diverse environment and a very inclusive culture, and those characteristics got us through the tough times. Diversity generated a better strategy, better risk management, better debates, and better outcomes.” Alan Joyce, Business Executive and Chief Executive Officer of Qantas Airways.

45. “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” —Verna Myers, Inclusion Strategist and Author.

46. “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.” —Max De Pree, Business Executive and Writer.

47. “Inclusivity means not just ‘we’re allowed to be there’, but ‘we are valued’. I’ve always said: smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things.” —Claudia Brind-Woody, Business Executive and Vice President and Managing Director of Intellectual Property at IBM.

48. “Diversity and inclusion needs to be something that every single employee at the company has a stake in.” —Bo Young Lee, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Uber.

49. “The path to diversity begins with supporting, mentoring, and sponsoring diverse women and men to become leaders and entrepreneurs.” —Denise Morrison, Business Executive and former President of Campbell Soup Company.

50. “The value of a diverse team is its capacity to challenge the norm of groupthink and thus boost organizational performance and improve decision-making.” —Yrthya Dinsey-Flores, Culture and Operations Chief at Open Society Foundations.

51. “Diversity is the engine of invention, it generates creativity that enriches the world.” —Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.

52. “People may be said to resemble not the bricks of which a house is built, but the pieces of a picture puzzle, each differing in shape, but matching the rest, and thus bringing out the picture.” —Felix Adler, Professor of Political and Social Ethics.

53. “Our unity is our strength, and our diversity is our power. We reject the myth of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’. We are in this together.” —Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States of America.

54. “Inclusion and fairness in the workplace is not simply the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.” – Alexis Herman, Politician and Former US Secretary of Labor.

55. “Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.” —Jesse Jackson, Politician and Activist.

56. “We believe our diversity, our differences, when joined together by a common set of ideals, makes us stronger, makes us more creative, makes us different. From all these different strands, we make something new.” —Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America.

57. “The fact that societies are becoming increasingly multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-religious is good. Diversity is a strength, not a weakness.” —Antonio Guterres, Politician and Former Prime Minister of Portugal.

60. “Our workforce and our entire economy are strongest when we embrace diversity to its fullest, and that means opening doors of opportunity to everyone.” —Tom Perez, Politician, Attorney and Chair of the DNC (Democratic National Committee).

About the author: Vanita is a lawyer and Lead – Research & Communications at Ungender. She writes extensively on building inclusive workplaces, gender issues, social inequalities, and public policy.

Ungender Insights is the product of our learning from advisory work at Ungender.In our initiative to build inclusive workplaces for all individuals, we continue to educate and advise leaders on the same. Write to us at contact@ungender.in to know more about our advisory services.

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60 Powerful Quotes on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion from 2021 to Inspire a Better Company Culture (2024)


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