By: Emma Hamlet, Senior, Marketing.
The Not So Diverse Reality of Corporate America
After graduating with an MBA in Marketing from the Kelley School of Business, Julie Kratz took off into the corporate world. Of course, this was the expectation for her post-graduation plans – the same expectations that many students feel the pressure of today.
While working with this company, it didn’t take Julie long to notice that there was little to no diversity in her workplace. In a business run by white men, she didn’t see herself reflected in the top leadership. Julie quickly realized that she had a different calling in the business world: to be a voice of change for creating more diverse and inclusive organizations.
Fast forward to today, Julie has been the founder and CEO of Next Pivot Point for last six years. She specializes in training and advising companies on how to be more diverse and inclusive. The face of Corporate America is quickly changing from wealthy white men to people of every race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability.
Be the Change
Being a catalyst for change requires a lot of passion and work, as well as a deep knowledge of the research and methodology that goes into changing business as we know it. When teaching companies about diversity, Julie uses the ‘DEI’ training strategy. DEI stands for diversity, equity and inclusion.
According to Julie, “Diversity is about different types of people, inclusion is about people feeling heard, seen, and belonging at work. Equity is about treating different people equitably so that we can increase diversity, rather than equal treatment which tends to give everyone the same resources despite different levels of privilege.”
Reading this definition, you may think that this initiative is just common sense. It may be for Kelley students, alumni, and faculty. However, outside the walls of Hodge Hall, some companies are years behind. For this reason, Julie advises students to take time to broaden their horizons as far as possible. Whether it means doing research, traveling, or connecting with people virtually, it is more important than ever to take the opportunity to better understand diversity. The workplace needs leaders to help it move beyond an exclusive work environment that has been created by centuries of bias.
Diversity in the workplace means more success. When team members have different backgrounds, viewpoints, and experiences, better ideas are generated. To be specific, Julie explains that “organizations with more inclusive management teams make 87% better decisions, are more innovative, and in general achieve 19% higher revenues with 20 to 40% higher profitability rates.” Diversity is a win-win for everyone.
How Can I Be a Catalyst for Diversity?
Change happens one person at a time. Whether in the classroom or in the office, consider these tips and resources to be more accepting of and inclusive to all people.
- Reach out to someone in classes that you don’t know.
- Research different religions, cultures, sexual orientations, and cultural backgrounds in your free time.
- Show genuine interest in and listen to what others have to say.
- Check out this page for more information on racial issues, culture, and diversity education through Indiana University.
- Keep up to date on the news surrounding your nearest town and city – what protests and rallies are happening around you?
- Support businesses that are owned by people of diverse backgrounds.