May 2022

2022 Diversity in Business Awards: Here are our 6 Outstanding Diversity Organizations

Courtesy of Columbus Business First
By Doug Buchanan
May 13, 2022

Corporate American has gotten the message that diversity, equity and inclusion are good for business.

The number of companies hiring for DEI directors and officers has jumped dramatically, and not just in the wake of the social unrest in summer 2020.

According to a Business Insider analysis of job listings on LinkedIn, the number of people with the title ‘head of diversity’ more than doubled over five years. And the number with the ‘director of diversity’ title grew by 75%, with chief diversity officers expanding by 68%.

There’s no doubt that many organizations looked internally in 2020 and realized they were lacking in their diversity efforts. But the LinkedIn data shows that many others already were there well before the national reckoning on race following the killing of George Floyd. These forward-looking organizations understand that diverse businesses perform better when they look more like the country.

And if you don’t have a DEI strategy, you could find yourself falling behind those that do, particularly in the all-important practice of attracting and retaining talent. Increasingly, it’s not just customers that feel companies’ values are important – employees are thinking this way, too. Simply put, being diverse is good for business and it’s good for winning the war for talent.

In recognition of the people and organizations doing outstanding work in the DE&I field, Columbus Business First is honoring another class in its Diversity in Business Awards program. This is the seventh year for our awards program that highlights excellence in encouraging diversity in age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, race and religion at local workplaces.

We’ve highlighted the eight individual Diversity in Business honorees here.

And here are the six recipients named Outstanding Diversity Organizations:

Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County
Top Officer: Lark Mallory
Top Diversity Officer: Lark Mallory
How is your organization showing leadership in combating inequalities in Central Ohio? The lack of affordable housing is a national crisis that is the root of many societal challenges, from infant mortality to poor school performance – and the problem affects people of color disproportionally. The Affordable Housing Trust is making big moves, such as: Developing its first private investment fund, a $100M revolving loan fund; reaching out to minority-led development companies; not only funding more housing, but better housing with social services like daycare and financial education courses.

Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority
Top Officer: Charles D. Hillman
Top Diversity Officer: Sidney Childs
How is your organization showing leadership in combating inequalities in Central Ohio? Through our various subsidy programs, we serve 250,000 individuals throughout the state of Ohio and Washington D.C. Over 70% of the households we serve are African American or Black. CMHA serves on the Franklin County Public Health Equity Advisory Council, Equity Now Coalition, Digital Equity Coalition, the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio, Columbus Early Learning Centers, Future Possibilities, MORPC, and many other boards that work toward serving underrepresented populations.

Gamma Iota Sigma
Top Officer: Grace Grant
Top Diversity Officer: Grace Grant
How is your organization showing leadership in combating inequalities in Central Ohio? Through intentional programming, outreach and initiatives, GIS has equipped thousands of college students, which includes 40% of its membership base from underrepresented groups, with career connections, professional development, scholarships and leadership growth opportunities. GIS’s DEI initiative, GammaSAID, which stands for Solutions for Authenticity, Inclusion and Diversity, focuses on bringing the industry and college students together through engagement that leads to better prepared and supported students entering the workforce.

Grange Insurance
Top Officer: John Ammendola
Top Diversity Officer: Priscilla Hammonds
How is your organization showing leadership in combating inequalities in Central Ohio? In 2021, Grange made a special $1 million pledge to local nonprofits to advance DEI-based initiatives. This special commitment is in addition to the nearly $1 million Grange already planned to give to nonprofits in 2021. The donations include: $100,000 to Central State University for scholarships and internships; $100,000 to the Columbus Urban League for financial empowerment workshops for disenfranchised groups; $100,000 to the Center for Healthy Families for youth enrichment programs in partnership with the Commission on Black Girls.

Top Officer: Abdul Akel
Top Diversity Officer: Jennifer Kaser
How is your organization showing leadership in combating inequalities in Central Ohio? Increasing the diversity of a workforce is a constant journey. Re-evaluating periodically what diversity means through different lenses, for both internal and external stakeholders, is a great start. It is also important to solidify DEI goals in a measurable, achievable strategic plan. Because increasing diversity is an evolving process, we plan on conducting periodic audits to measure the progress of particular DEI goals. This involves conducting employee DEI roundtables and revisiting the strategic plan to analyze what’s working and what isn’t.
Granville Pride

Top Officer: Mark Carr
How is your organization showing leadership in combating inequalities in Central Ohio? Granville Pride has brought the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion to the forefront of discussions and awareness in a community that in the past has been reluctant to self-reflect and accept change. Granville Pride has illuminated misunderstandings, misinformation and mistrust, which have become polarizing. In addition to Granville Pride’s mission, the group’s vision is to create greater community unity. Granville Pride hopes to create an environment where visitors recognize that Granville is a welcoming community. The organization knows that an accepting community is one that is good for tourism, for business, and strengthens the broader local economy.

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