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CEO Business Roundtable: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Business leaders discuss their continuing DEI journeys.

The executives below – all members of NJBIA’s CEO Business Roundtable – are tasked with leading the charge in implementing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at their respective companies. Discover their views and eye-opening realizations in their journeys towards an inclusive environment that does not just encompass employees, but clients, customers and local communities.

Naomi Barrett, Director of Global DEI, Eisner Advisory Group LLC

What many don’t realize when starting a DEI journey is that DEI evolves almost daily. There is a continuous need to learn more. I think that is one of the largest struggles for organizations. As leaders, we need to be creative in how we further our own education and the education of our teams. That knowledge enables us to scale a sustainable culture of inclusion.

Harris Freier , Partner, Co-head of DEI Initiatives, Genova Burns

There has been significant enthusiasm for DEI initiatives, which we did not necessarily expect. Even in this hybrid working environment, attorneys have embraced the DEI events we have implemented, whether it is our mentoring partnerships with certain clients, our partnership with the Rutgers BLSA, participation in Mid-Sized Mansfield Activities, attending DEI lunch and learns or other speaker series events, or filling tables at affinity bar group events.

Nick Rafanello, President and CEO, Eastern Janitorial

Our DEI initiatives have fostered new perspectives when blending age, gender, thought and background. Inclusion has broadened our access to new labor pools and customer networks as well as improved decision-making across the company. One eye-opening revelation has been the success of our neurodiverse initiative within the autistic community. It has led us to hire high-performing associates in a historically under-represented group.

Avonia Richardson-Miller, Sr. VP, Chief Diversity Officer, Hackensack Meridian Health

We have tremendous buy-in from the entire organization because of our CEO’s commitment to DEI, which is a strategic business imperative. We are ranked No. 1 in the US on The Diversity Inc. “Top Hospitals & Health Systems” list. We are creating a culture that embraces change, fostering the type of sustainability that benefits our patients, communities, team members and business strategies.

Mike Sebring Sr. VP, Head of DEI, Citizens

Embracing inclusion has made us stronger, and helps enable better decision making, risk management and unlocks greater innovation. Whether internally with our colleagues, or externally with our customers and communities, it all serves … to make everyone feel seen, heard and respected. This framework will ensure that we are creating more opportunities in a … purposeful way while supporting a healthy workplace.

Karen Surgent, COO/CFO, Davison Eastman Muñoz Paone, P.A.

A mid-size law firm, we onboard and employ for expertise, dedication and passion for excellence. We demand a culture of pro-active communication, professional respect, and courtesy to and from all. We encourage creativity and the sharing of ideas. No person is more important than the other. Collaboration for client success is what we’re all about – it’s the cornerstone of our decades of success.

Interested in learning more about the CEO Business Roundtable? Contact NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka, at [email protected]

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