CEO Action Group Holds Regional Summit to Further Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Within the Lehigh Valley
About 120 regional CEOs and executives gathered to advance and integrate diversity and inclusive excellence.
By: LINC Lehigh Valley
"The CEO Action Regional Summit sought to begin DEI discussions at the CEO level and encourage a more inclusive workforce and community," stated Donna Cornelius, CEO and Executive Director, LINC. "A diverse and vibrant community not only assists with talent recruitment and retention, it benefits the entire Lehigh Valley as well."
Tim Ryan, U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) kicked off the Summit by tasking attendees of the virtual event to come together to build stronger, more diverse workforces and communities. He was followed by Shannon Schuyler, Chief Purpose and Inclusion Officer at PwC, and also Chief Operation Executive for the national CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ consortium.
Schuyler reported a 400% increase in CEO Action signatories in response to recent societal issues that have brought long-standing racial injustices to the forefront of commerce, media, government, and personal conversations. According to Schuyler, participation in CEO Action has the ability to reach across industries to build change. She noted that by 2044, the majority of the US workforce will be People of Color and now is the time to build a structure of inclusion.
A few of the local CEO Action signatories taking part in the Summit included Jean-Claude Dubacher, Chairman and CEO, B. Braun of America.; Dr. John Simon, President, Lehigh University; Julien Sauvagnargues, President, Olympus Corporation of the Americas; Vince Sorgi, President and CEO, PPL Corporation and Donna Cornelius, CEO/Executive Director, LINC. Bill Spence, former Chairman and CEO of PPL Corporation moderated the panel discussion and was an early adopter of CEO Action, signing on in 2017. At that time, the pledge was endorsed by only 150 or so other companies nationwide. It has now grown to over 1,600, a strong indication of the desire for and commitment to change. The need was reinforced by the Summit's CEO panel. Significant themes included:
A DEI practitioner discussion panel, led by Orville Trout, Executive Vice President Human Resources at Crayola, featured Mindy Fitzpatrick, Talent Brand at Air Products; Dr. Donald Outing, Vice President for Equity and Community, Lehigh University; Kristin Leayman, Senior Manager, People Experiences, Olympus Corporation of the Americas; and Kristine Maciolek-Small, Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Talent Management, PPL Corporation. Participants discussed challenges and successes around their organization's DEI plans.
"It's edgy work," stated Fitzgerald. "When a company sets public metrics and goals, people start talking about it. Tough conversations at the top levels of organizations start happening and only activities that have direct impact and lead to change become part of the strategy."
Outing recommended to attendees, "Self-development is the key to success. Seek out scholarly writing on diversity and equity to be better equipped to advocate for change. It will position you to launch and lead in this difficult space."
Lehigh Valley CEOs interested in becoming CEO Action signatories and/or joining the LINC's regional CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, CEO Share Group, the DEI Roundtables and other LINC programs click HERE.
LINC is a non-profit organization that focuses on supporting employers, relocated employees and the community in matters of partner career, integration assistance and diversity and inclusion. For more information, visit their website.
Page Updated Last on: Feb 11, 2021