Diversity Is Dead? Not According to PwC

A colleague I hadn’t seen in awhile began the conversation with these words, “Are you still talking about that diversity stuff? No one does that any more.”


A colleague I hadn’t
seen in awhile began the conversation with these words, “Are you still talking
about that diversity stuff? No one does that any more.” I told her that I was working with my
clients to create workplaces where employees love to do their best work and
customers love to do business, and
that a key component was leveraging diversity, to build an inclusive culture.


She looked shocked when
I told her that the most successful organizations knew that inclusion was an
ongoing process, and did not end with a few training programs. I told her about
some of the organizations I work with, as well as some of the leaders I’ve
interviewed for my “Inclusionist,” business news segment on SWIRL radio.

One of those people I
interviewed is Niloufar Molavi, who is the U.S. Chief Diversity Officer for PwC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers.) She is very proud of the diversity and
inclusion work of PwC.

When I asked Niloufar
which of their programs, policies or processes were the most innovative, she
said, “At PwC we’re proud of all our diversity efforts, but if I had to choose
one to highlight, it would be our white male strategy. Men comprise over
half our firm and it’s critical to engage them in the dialogue about

While some people who
don’t know any better, still think that diversity and inclusion is just
affirmative action, or is designed to exclude white people and white men in
particular, PwC, understands that diversity and inclusion is essential for
business success and everyone plays an important part.

Niloufar told me that
at PwC they are not afraid to
how race and gender influence all of our experiences.


“Ultimately our
goal is to build the cultural dexterity of all our people so they can work
effectively with colleagues who are very different from themselves.”

I’ve also observed
organizational leaders that are not long term thinkers use the economy as an
excuse to eliminate programs and discussions that promote diversity and
inclusion and employee engagement.

When I asked Molavi
about practices at PwC during this economy, she said, “Even in the midst of the
downturn last year we hosted a Diversity Leadership Forum called “Bad
Times Don’t Last Good People Do.” The discussion was about how to
maintain a long-term view regarding talent despite short-term economic
pressures. We firmly believe companies must focus on diversity
regardless of the economic climate in order to remain competitive.”

Another one of my colleagues recently insisted that
diversity and inclusion were just issues in the US, and no one else thought it
important. Since PwC is global, I wanted to know their thoughts and asked
Niloufar. She answered “The global network of PricewaterhouseCoopers firms –
each of which is a separate and independently owned, have a myriad of different
programs around the world to help fulfill our common commitment to diversity
and inclusion. It’s not just a U.S. imperative.”

June is known as Gay
Pride month, so I asked her whether they included lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender people in their diversity and inclusion initiatives.
She went on to say, “I recently attended a
recruiting event at my Alma mater the University of Texas. I was sitting
next to a potential new hire who made a point to tell me how much he
appreciated PwC’s commitment to inclusion, particularly our focus on GLBT
initiatives. This experience underscored how important diversity efforts
are to attracting and retaining the best people.”


So next time, some “know
it all,” tells me the conversation about diversity and inclusion is dead in
corporate America or in the workplace in general, I’ll tell them to check out
PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and google Niloufar Molavi, if my word isn’t good enough.

 Simma Lieberman 

“The Inclusionist” 

Creating workplace cultures where people love to do their best work and customers love to do business

Simma Lieberman Associates 
Fax: 510.527/0723 
1185 Solano Ave. PMB 142 
Albany, CA 94706 

Author of  the book, Putting Diversity to Work, how to successfully lead a diverse workforce 

Available soon  “StoryBricks; building diverse communities one story at a time “

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