diversity award
General Business

Presenting the NJ Diversity & Inclusion Award

The New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), the Capital Region Minority Chamber of Commerce, and New Jersey Business magazine are proud to honor two companies with the inaugural NJ Diversity & Inclusion Award. BASF and Lyra Lender Services are being recognized for their activities in support of D&I. 

These companies realize that the workforce is changing; that focusing on diversity alone is not enough to engage and retain diverse talent, grow and expand market share, support diverse communities, and overall, positively impact the bottom line. Inclusion must also be part of the strategy to help the business drive innovative results. 

Please enjoy the respective company profiles below. These businesses will be recognized at the upcoming “ROI of D&I: Diversity and Inclusion Summit,” to be held later in the year. 

BASF Corporation 


Wayne T. Smith, Chairman and CEO of BASF, as well as member of the BASF SE Board of Executive Directors. 

Promoting and valuing diversity across all levels and dimensions is an integral part of BASF’s business strategy. It is embedded in the company’s corporate values and code of conduct. In order to deliver the diversity in its workforce required to innovate and offer the best solutions to customers, BASF requires 50% of the people interviewed for all roles to be diverse. Additionally, 50% of the people doing the interviewing must also reflect the diversity the company seeks in the market. BASF established new standards for hiring manager behavior, ensuring that the full spectrum of opinions is considered in all hiring decisions. It is equally strategic, deliberate and intentional in leveraging the value of diversity through inclusion, according to the company. Rigorous programs are in place governing leader action and accountability, and efforts to ensure the proper infrastructure is in place to support inclusion, education, awareness and communication. 

Lyra Lender Services 


Shannon Jefferson, President & CEO 

Lyra Lender Services is a woman-owned-and-operated company. Its mission is to help community and regional banks develop profitable and efficient government-guaranteed lending programs so that they can provide capital to the small businesses that need it most. These loans open the doors to new businesses, create jobs, and spark economic growth. Lyra supports its lenders in helping small business owners – especially people of color and women (who both have had difficulty obtaining financing) – start or grow their businesses. Lyra is particularly proud of its participation in the SBA’s Community Advantage program, which prioritizes funding for new businesses and businesses in low-to-moderate income communities. 

Lyra puts a tremendous value on open communication, a flexible work environment, and supporting employees’ commitments to the community. The institution makes annual contributions to charitable organizations chosen by each employee, and allows employees the flexibility to adjust their schedules so that they can take part in the community activities. 

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

Related Articles: