Case Study: DEI Strategic Planning

Leveling up the DEI Strategic Plan

The Challenge:

Hired as the inaugural Senior DEI Leader at a tech company, I was tasked with elevating the company’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives to new heights. The company had seen early successes from their initiative DEI initiatives and were ready to increase their investment and expand their success.


The first step I took was to begin a comprehensive three-month listening tour, meeting with every senior leadership team member to understand the organization’s goals and culture. By reviewing data, attending meetings, and assessing demographic changes over time, I identified strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for DEI advancement. Out of these observations, I drafted a DEI strategic plan.


Next, I presented the draft DEI strategic plan to senior leaders, making sure to help them understand the connection between an investment in DEI and company outcomes. The senior leaders gave valuable feedback, and through multiple presentations and conversations, the strategic plan was refined to truly align to the company’s culture, language, and values. The final result was that the senior leadership team bought into the strategic plan, largely due to their active participation and engagement throughout the process.


The implementation phase saw the introduction of key initiatives aimed at fostering a more inclusive workplace culture. A diversity pledge was made to increase underrepresented talent by 2%. After discussions with the Legal team, a self-identification system was launched that allowed employees to share anonymous information about themselves. This information would allow the company to advocate for them. Policy updates, including inclusive hiring practices, were integrated into the employee handbook, ensuring alignment with DEI goals.

Monthly conversations with engineering leadership focused on accessible design principles, ensuring software products catered to diverse user needs. Through collaborative efforts, software accessibility features were enhanced, accommodating users with vision impairments and motor challenges.


The implementation of DEI Strategic Plan 2.0 yielded tangible results. Notable achievements included public recognition through winning new awards (like Best Global Culture, Happiest Employees, and Best CEOs for Diversity), a 1% increase in underrepresented talent within a year, and a fivefold increase in self-identification participation within three months.

These outcomes underscored the company’s commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace environment and marked significant progress in its DEI journey. By continuously monitoring and refining strategies, the organization remains dedicated to driving sustainable change and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion across all facets of its operations.