Business: Legal Services
SVP, COMMUNICATIONS SHANDARESE GARR Shares Her D&I Views
“Malcolm Forbes said, ‘Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.’ This quote really speaks to my philosophy that dedicating ourselves to raising awareness and educating our employees regarding diversity and inclusion, while embracing the differences among our employees, clients, and communities, drives innovation, creativity, and business growth.”
A Two-Pronged Approach
“The opportunity for greatest impact within our organization is two-fold. First and foremost, our D&I program gives employees a voice and ensures that they know their opinions, their dedication to the success of our organization, and their motivation to do great work are valued.
“Second, GCG’s D&I program continues to lead the industry in caliber and reach. As the trendsetter in our industry, we have a big opportunity to leverage our knowledge and start partnering with our clients on new D&I initiatives that will benefit our industry and the communities we serve.”
How My Role Has Changed
“My role has changed significantly over the past five years. When I first took responsibility for formalizing our D&I program, my focus seemed to be on the various populations of employees within our different office locations. Much of my experience was informed by the time I had spent in those locations, and my knowledge of the differences in each particular office culture. But in recent years, I have focused on the strength our organization can find from operating as ‘One GCG’—regardless of geographic location.”
Mentoring for Success
“In 2017, I formalized GCG’s mentoring efforts via a mentoring circles program, in which employees from across the company progress together via a series of group mentoring sessions with a member of senior leadership. Each team is provided guidelines and best practices for roll-out, milestones, and program wrap up. Mentors and mentees also receive resources to help them maximize their program experience and contribute to the group.
“Upon conclusion of the program, we look at several factors to gauge impact, including each mentee’s familiarity with GCG’s mission and values, his or her demonstrated use of new skills, and in some cases, a group commitment to improving a specific organizational process. On a company level, we measure success by tracking changes in mentees’ knowledge, behaviors, and beliefs. Most important, we have seen that mentees are more confident about becoming mentors.”
Looking Ahead to Next Year
“A key D&I objective for 2018 will be to pursue our vendor diversity goals and objectives. This will enable us to evaluate opportunities for GCG to formally enter into meaningful supplier diversity partnerships.”