Senior Consultant for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Antonio L. Cortes, PhD (pictured left) and Consultant and Project Manager for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Je’Nai Talley Jackson, LMSW (pictured right) conducted ABGC's DEIJ Certification Assessment
What is the mission of Nonprofit HR and how do they assist organizations like ABGC?
In 2000, Nonprofit HR opened its doors to help drive growth for the social impact sector in a way that is rewarding and motivating. Today, it is the country’s leading and oldest firm focused exclusively on the people management needs of mission-driven organizations, nonprofits, associations, charities, foundations and social enterprises. Our clients have national and global missions that are driving massive change in areas such as healthcare, education, human and social services, arts, culture, faith, policy, civil rights, women’s rights, environment and beyond. We focus our consulting efforts on the following practice areas Strategy and Advisory
, HR Outsourcing, Total Rewards
, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Search
. Whether organizations need to build a compensation strategy, find a new leader, reinvigorate culture or plan for a workforce of the future, Nonprofit HR consultants and business experts have the sector experience and human resources expertise to help create and achieve people management goals. Every aspect of our work is anchored in our commitment to be impact driven, results focused and values led. Over the past 22 years we have partnered with C-suite leaders, including Chief Human Resource Officers, to customize solutions that allow them to keep their people first.
Were issues around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice always an area of focus of the company? If not, how was this interest and expertise developed?
Nonprofit HR is committed to thought partnering with nonprofits, associations, philanthropy and other social impact organizations to be more equitable places of work. Nonprofit HR has always approached our work through a lens of equity and in 2019 conducted our first Nonprofit Diversity Practices Survey to understand the priorities and challenges organizations were facing. Our survey results confirmed that organizations needed an expert partner who could help them create comprehensive solutions to meet their diverse workforce needs and to create inclusive cultures that champion diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. We decided to increase our DEIJ consulting capacity in alignment with the firm’s 2021-2024 strategic plan which factored in this significant growth in demand. We anticipated that we would provide more services to social sector organizations. However, the impact from global protests in response to George Floyd’s murder created a renewed sense of urgency and immediacy for our firm and the organizations that we serve. Since then, we have attracted a passionate, experienced and driven team of DEIJ consultants who partner with clients across the nation on their DEIJ priorities.
What is the benefit of having an outside organization like Nonprofit HR conduct a DEI assessment, rather than conducting one internally?
Many organizations lack the expertise or staff to conduct a thorough self-assessment in relation to DEIJ considerations. Similar to other professional practice areas, expert-level DEIJ consulting requires years of training, intentional experience and an understanding of complex social issues and how they manifest within organizations. While self-assessments can help identify some areas of opportunity, a broad consideration for DEIJ issues from a systematic standpoint is not a common area of general knowledge. Additionally, third-party organizations can function as neutral evaluators of information since they do not have a personal stake in the outcomes of the assessment process.
How did you approach your evaluation of ABGC?
Consistent with most organizational assessments, Nonprofit HR incorporates a document and process review of organizational systems to understand how the organization operates and to assess potential areas that can be strengthened. Since the focus of the ABGC assessment was on the genetic counselor certification process, it meant reviewing all aspects of the assessment, including the certification standards that ABGC is held to; how assessment items are created, tested and incorporated into the certification process; and the evaluation of stakeholder concerns about the experience of the certification process. In addition to these areas, Nonprofit HR also evaluated relevant comparable organizations to understand efforts that are being deployed to improve DEIJ within the genetic counselor profession. All of this information is evaluated to understand potential differences in experience of various populations to determine areas of strength in the certification process, as well as areas of opportunity.
What advice do you have for organizations looking to be more diverse, equitable and inclusive?
There are many ways organizations can work on becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive. One of the most comprehensive things to do is to begin devoting time and resources to understand where an organization is today. Organizational assessments are a great way to obtain tangible information on where an organization excels and where there is room to grow. Organizations may also consider conducting introductory DEIJ training with employees since a common language will allow more staff to engage in discussion, reflection and growth with their colleagues. If an organization does not have internal expertise on DEIJ topics, partnering with an expert in the field can also provide great benefits as organizations explore what they might begin doing differently to become more diverse, equitable, inclusive and just. Regardless of the path chosen, beginning the journey in some concrete way is a good first step.