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Virtual Think IT Panel Event Recap: Beyond Technology: The Human Experience Part II

Yesterday, we hosted a Virtual Think IT Panel Event on Beyond Technology: The Human Experience Part II, Perspectives and Strategy from IT Leaders. This was a follow-up meeting from our last DEI event on Beyond Technology: The Human Experience. A huge thank you to our panelists Rich Walker, Senior Director at Johnson Brothers Liquor Co, Rahul Deep, Sr. Director, Marketing & Digital Technology at Allianz Life, TK Balaji, Vice President Information Technology at Post Consumer Brands, Salim Omar, Manager, Enterprise Service Management at Medica, and Astrid Benedetto, Assistant Vice President, Global Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Strategy Manager at U.S. Bank for sharing their companies DEI efforts. Thank you to everyone who joined us as well! 

What initiatives are working well, and which are proving to be a challenge? 

Working Well  Challenges 
Different resource groups  Being a big company and thinking you are doing DEI the correct way 
Diverse recruiting efforts  DEI being newer to smaller companies that are now growing 
Diversity and Inclusion council  Making DEI meeting effective- everyone needs to be on board 
Embedded hiring acquisition as they onboard new team members  Finding diverse talent 


What are some challenges you faced when kicking off your DE&I efforts? 

Companies get caught up in assumptions, and being in a bigger corporation; you may think you are doing DEI right. The panelists agreed that you need to dig deeper into your company to understand what your employees are feeling in terms of DEI efforts. Also, it’s important to realize that what might work for the corporate office might not work for their other offices. The panelists are working on being self-reflective to figure out what problem they are trying to solve. Even if your company is diverse numbers-wise, meaning you have the correct percentage the media says is correct, make sure your employees feel safe and comfortable.  

How have your DEI commitments/efforts changed in the Twin Cities since more eyes are now open to the large racial inequities here? 

Companies are now looking at the questions- how can we close the racial wealth gap, and how can we make a difference in our communities? They are looking into having more open dialogue with their teams and are investing in technology that they can use to engage with their team around DEI. Companies want their employees to feel like they are more than just a number. They want them to feel safe and included in their organization.  

Continuing the conversation around DEI will only help other companies who are trying to improve their efforts within their teams as well.