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What is Diversity and Inclusion at Stern?

Picture an organization with a lot of “walls” that pop up for certain populations. Walls come in many forms, and different populations experience different walls. A “wall” can present itself in big ways: being passed over for an interview, being ignored in a meeting, not being included in a decision.  And in more subtle ways: not having access to a lactation room, being subtly judged for taking paternity leave, not being addressed with the right pronouns. The list is long.  Organizations with a lot of “walls,” in effect, block its members from contributing at their potential. At Stern, we want to be an organization without those walls. We want our employees to feel comfortable contributing. We want our faculty to optimize the range of voices in the classroom.  We want our students to strengthen in all areas of EQ so they go on to contribute at their highest potential and therefore be sought after by employers.

How do we create a "no-wall" environment? We will take an “ecosystem approach.”  We want this culture and mindset to grow in every pocket and process of the organization and in all populations, leaving no one behind.  An ecosystem approach ensures that all elements of the organization work together to first fully envision its ideal future state, and second, thoroughly assess where it is today. And third, plan a cohesive set of actions to help close the gap.  When D&I is threaded through the entire ecosystem, change is not reliant solely on individuals’ awareness, motivation, or competencies to overcome both individual and systemic bias.  Change can become more automatic and feel less threatening.  And it is set up to last. It will no longer be considered a stand alone “thing.” It will be hard to point to “D&I activities” because they will be everywhere.