A Diverse Customer Base Ignites Diversity on Boards - Karen Walker Johnson

Karen Walker Johnson, a compassionate healthcare advocate actively works toward a more equal workspace — one that is diverse and all-inclusive. The American people are fed up with the ever so apparent racism caused by our country’s institutions, and it is the job of every individual to make an effort to undo the false narratives of people of color that our country has made. Karen is doing this in her own community, by bettering her company.

“In my market, 71% customers are nonnative English speakers. We recognized that to provide a first class customer experience and differentiate ourselves from the competition, we had to be more intentional. We staffed up with a diverse workforce that was reflective of our membership. We developed our material to be culturally sensitive and targeted strategies to celebrate our diverse market. With that, we outpaced our competition in growth with double digit, year over year growth, for the last four years, exceeding our company’s Net Income targets for our market.

“There has never been a more compelling reason for corporate boards to be good corporate citizens. The civil unrest has awakened a societal firestorm of activity. There is a need to be vocal about the need to address institutional racism. Boards need to ask the following questions — are they cultivating diversity? Are they ensuring that companies have robust and solid plans, regarding diversity recruitment, and commitment to the communities and markets they do business in?

“Further, as a Board, it is important to develop strategies that address: enhancing the talent of the company, in particular those employees of color; having a supplier diversity strategy; development of mentorship and sponsorship programs for their diverse, high potential employees. The board should also have diversity and inclusion on their board meeting agendas consistently.”

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