by Jeff Miller
16 Sep 2020
Giving voice: the future of D&I at Cornerstone
Earlier this year, Cornerstone conducted a company-wide survey to find out how our 3,000+ employees felt about our efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion. We were happy to find out that a majority of our employees felt we had a moderate to strong focus on these incredibly important topics. But in May of this year, when the murder of George Floyd occurred—and people across the globe became hyper-aware of social inequities—we decided it was time to reexamine our approach to DE&I. Like so many companies, we realized there was a lot more we could and should be doing to dismantle the systems that perpetuate racism in the workplace today. While I don’t think we have done a poor job, it was clear we needed to do more, that we could be better.
I’m proud to say that over the past few months we’ve started to plan and add new DE&I initiatives across our company. This past spring, we took a first step and pushed out a training course to all of our employees on how to identify and remove unconscious biases. We reinvested in our “Cornerstar Resource Groups,” or CRGs, and established a Diversity Leadership Counsel. These online collectives are a place where Black employees, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, women or other minority groups can congregate, discuss and voice concerns. We hope that these programs will not only help promote the career development of these individuals, but amplify their voices and concerns throughout the company.
We’ve started to make progress. But in order to ensure the success of any new DE&I program, we needed accountability. So, my colleagues and I set out to address this blind spot and began a search to hire someone dedicated to leading our DE&I programs and ensuring we remain accountable. After a thoughtful search, we hired Noel Hornsberry, a seasoned leader in the DE&I space who is now our Senior Director of Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Prior to Cornerstone, Noel helped lead diversity and inclusion initiatives at several companies, including industry behemoths like Kellogg Company and U.S. Cellular. At Cornerstone, Noel will examine and measure the effectiveness of every aspect of our DE&I efforts: from budgets to programming decisions.
With Noel’s experience and guidance, we plan to reshape some of our programs to be more didactic and holistic. For example, we’re in the process of establishing executive sponsors for every CRG. This was a change Noel suggested in hopes that it will foster better communication between CRGs and Cornerstone’s leadership in order to more effectively address the concerns.
We also recognized the need to increase our efforts in developing more diversity in our talent pools and hiring pipelines globally. Currently, we’re working with LATech.org, a program that places community college students in Los Angeles in internship programs at different technology companies in the area. Noel will work closely with the talent acquisition team to reshape our external outreach in order to improve our work here.
The Road to Conscious Competence
It’s been roughly four months since many organizations, people and leaders woke up to their unconscious incompetence in the face of Floyd’s murder. Most of us didn’t notice our implicit biases or the systems that have allowed oppressive ideologies and tendencies to persist for so long until we sat down to examine them. Over the past months, our world has moved towards conscious incompetence—and that’s progress. We’re becoming more aware of how our actions, words and decisions can either dismantle or reinforce systemic oppression. Looking forward, the goal for everyone, Cornerstone included, should be to become consciously competent and commit to actions, messages and systems that reinforce anti-racism.