Feedback: January 2021

by Patricia Pace Anderson, Essen Otu, Chrystal Richardson

Question: What were some critical first steps in incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion policies and practices into your business?

Patricia Pace Anderson 

Manager of Donor Program Development
Donor Network of Arizona
Sector: Healthcare

Recent events in our community and nation over the past year have brought the issue of diversity, equity and inclusion front and center for Donor Network of Arizona (DNA). We have been externally engaged with multi-cultural communities through our Multicultural Committee and outreach program on organ and tissue donation. However, more recently we realized that DNA had an opportunity to look inward and engage employees who may not have had an opportunity to express their voice and experience.

Next was ensuring DEI capabilities to support the initiative. DNA reached out to a consultant — Dr. Joel P. Martin, founder of Triad West, Inc. — to discuss ways to encourage open dialogue about diversity with staff and identify areas of improvement for the organization. With commitment from DNA executive leadership, we formed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee this year. 

We plan to create a team that reflects the communities we serve across Arizona and to better engage employees from all walks of life. I believe this effort will, ultimately, benefit our mission, our employees and our community.   

Patricia Pace Anderson has a master’s degree in Bioethics and has been the manager of Donor Program Development for six years at Donor Network of Arizona, the state’s federally designated organ procurement organization. With the organization for 22 years, she is a member of the Multicultural Committee, and serves as the chair for the newly formed Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee at DNA. 

Essen Otu 

Manager of Diversity & Inclusion
Salt River Project
Sector: Utilities

At SRP, we’re focused on accelerating the impact of our Diversity & Inclusion efforts. We recognize that building organizations where people feel like they truly belong is a journey.

Before we began incorporating D&I policies and practices at SRP, we made sure we had commitment to action from our leadership.  Without it, D&I efforts stall.  

Another step we’ve taken has been to elevate the voices of our employees through an annual D&I survey that provides us with a “culture check” and helps us better understand employee experiences, perceptions and beliefs relative to D&I.  We also utilize our Employee Resource Groups as another source of insights.  Those results and insights help us focus our efforts.  

Lastly, we’re constantly looking for the intersection of business goals and D&I efforts. We continue to communicate often with clear rationale about why D&I is important and what behaviors help us achieve our objectives.  

Essen Otu is the manager of Diversity & Inclusion at Salt River Project, where his team supports the organization’s efforts to build a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable future for SPR’s customers, employees and community. He is a graduate of Valley Leadership, a 40 Under 40 awardee and serves on the boards of the Arizona Community Foundation, Diversity Leadership Alliance and Vitalyst Health Foundation.

Chrystal Richardson

Managing Partner
CE Wilson Consulting, LLC
Sector: Consulting

2020 emphasized the importance of how we think about diversity, equity and inclusion. We examined three factors when looking at DE&I practices in our business. 

We acknowledged where we were and identified gaps. And we heightened our awareness level of DE&I. This included talking to clients and teams about how they’re feeling, identifying the need for company support and being available and open to difficult conversations.

We did not look solely at our team but also examined the diversity of our client base. We created a goal that seeks to maintain a portfolio representative of where our business stands on the principles of DE&I and an action plan to ensure this happens. 

Serving and supporting those in need are core values that are reflected in our business. We created ways for our company and teams to stay involved in causes external to our business that embrace DE&I. We actively include our team in developing creative ways to practice DE&I values.

Change is an investment that requires us to truly examine what to improve. We have made our policy come to life with action.   

Chrystal Richardson’s unrivaled passion for business management and consulting is what prompted her and her husband, Frederick Richardson, to launch CE Wilson Consulting, a business and IT project management firm. Her personal mission of growing and improving herself translates into helping her clients move the needle, generating significant business improvements in efficiency, cost containment and resource management for 23 years and counting.

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