Inclusive leaders believe company employees must have a voice, according to Brookdale President and CEO Cindy Baier. As a panelist at an event for the Nashville chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) this week focused on Overcoming Hurdles to Governance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Baier said that diversity is a “business imperative." Her advice for companies: be intentional about having a diverse slate of candidates for open positions, prevent unconscious bias by removing identifiers for gender and ethnicity, and be open to networks that may not at first be obvious to you. Baier pointed out that diversity benefits companies through: increased creativity and problem solving ability, improved profits, higher employee engagement, and a better company reputation.
Baier said that inclusive leaders make sure everyone has a voice and that leaders take advice and implement change based on it. They strive for a culture where people can be authentic. Employees aren’t afraid to be their “real” selves at work. Baier also focused on the importance of companies having the right career ladders and progression in place for employees, regardless of gender or ethnic background.
In addition to Baier, the panel included Veronica Biggins, Managing Partner and Board of Directors Practice Leader for Diversified Search Group and Alfred E. Osborne, Jr., PhD, Senior Associate Dean and Professor at UCLA Anderson School of Management and Faculty Director at the Price Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The panel was moderated by Jan Babiak, Independent Board Member and member of the NACD Nashville Advisory Board.