Diversity Series: Driving leadership commitment to D&I with Erickajoy Daniels│Ep. 36

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On the latest BizTimes MKE Podcast, Beth Ridley of The Brimful Life talks with Erikajoy Daniels, the chief diversity and inclusion officer at Advocate Aurora Health.

Their conversation focuses on the need for leadership commitment to D&I efforts while also offering some specific tactics those looking to improve organizational diversity can use to build momentum.

“The dialogue is probably the richest opportunity and the most important ingredient for driving any kind of diversity and inclusion work and that doesn’t take a position, title or budget to do it,” Daniels said.

She said an early important step for companies is to define what diversity means for their operations.

“An enterprise needs to understand why this work even matters and what are they going after,” Daniels said.

“It really starts with a personal learning, which is often skipped but is one of the most critical things, because a company should that if they really want to tackle diversity and inclusion, are they ready for the challenge that it takes,” she added. “It’s not hard work, but it can get to a place where you have to be comfortable having uncomfortable conversations.”

Daniels said there is nothing wrong with grassroots efforts to build diversity within an organization, but said leadership support to limit the chances that grassroots efforts are stalled or hampered.

Ridley’s conversation with Daniels is the first of four podcast BizTimes is posting this week on diversity and inclusion. Look for episodes with Grady Crosby, Chris Rowland and DeVona Wright Cottrell in the coming days.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.