Blog Culture/Agency Life

Let’s Push on the DEI Gas Pedal This Diversity Month

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Phil NardonePresident & Chief Executive Officer

In case you weren’t aware, April marks Celebrate Diversity Month. This month, it’s more important than ever to reflect on the progress and setbacks in our journey toward building inclusive and equitable workplaces. I recently came across this Axios article that highlights startling statistics of corporations scaling back their DEI initiatives. It’s extremely disheartening to see the enthusiasm and commitment once displayed toward creating diverse and inclusive workplaces fade under the pressure of political backlash and litigation fears. This graph tells the whole story: 

Mentions of "DEI" or "diversity, equity and inclusion" in quarterly earnings calls depicted in a graph showing quarterly data from the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2024

This is a stark reminder of the declining commitment to these values in corporate America. It also reinforces the need for leaders to stand firm in their dedication to these principles. As we continue throughout what’s sure to be a polarizing election, I unfortunately expect to see even more setbacks by way of DEI in the workplace.   

Although PAN has evolved, and so has my management style, I’ve never lost sight of encouraging employees to bring their whole selves to work. As an openly gay CEO, I am very passionate about accepting others in DEI and belonging. My responsibility as a CEO is to help make those in a minority group feel welcomed and accepted. DEI remains central to all we do at PAN – guiding how we build teams, cultivate leaders and engage with our clients and their stakeholders.  

This commitment is not just about maintaining the status quo. It’s about actively pushing forward, even when it’s easier to pull back. As we continue to be dedicated to this, its been remarkable and rewarding to see the transformative power it brings to our work and the way we serve our clients.  

You can learn more about PAN’s DEI journey here, but rest assured we’re always trying to learn and grow in this area. I’m also happy to share that we’ve just opened an internship program in collaboration with the four Historically Black Colleges and Universities we partner with.  

This Celebrate Diversity Month, it is no better time for corporate leaders to innovate in how we uphold and promote these values. Whether it’s through transparent communication, continuous education or revised policies that ensure fairness and equity, our actions will demonstrate our true commitment to the cause. 

As we move forward, let’s remember that the diversity of our people is the most valuable asset we have. Let’s use this month to reaffirm our commitment to diversity, not just in words but through actions. And let’s not take our foot off the gas pedal as we move beyond Celebrate Diversity Month – because we all thrive when we stop looking at DEI as an optional accessory, but as a driver of long-term business success.  

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