Michele Meyer-Shipp Quoted in Diversity Woman on Importance of Diversity

Diversity Woman, in its article “Why Diversity Matters,” has quoted Michele Meyer-Shipp, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Akin Gump, discussing the importance of diversity in the workplace. The article notes that many companies make diversity and inclusion a priority, despite a growing public backlash against it.

Responding to critics of diversity programs who argue that they amount to little more than extensions of federally mandated affirmative action programs, Meyer-Shipp points out that diversity management “is not a federal mandate but rather a commitment by an organization to ensure that their workplaces are reflective of the diverse communities they work in and/or customers they serve.”

With demographers estimating that by 2044, more than half the U.S. population will be non-white, diversification affects companies, the article points out. Meyer-Shipp said diversity matters because “work environments that are diverse and inclusive foster feelings of belonging, engagement, and security, which, in turn, drive employee satisfaction and retention, and drive innovation.”

Meyer-Shipp added that diversity and inclusion leaders must be prepared to help employers deal with any workplace tensions that arise relating to race, religion and gender. “D&I leaders,” she said, “will need to spend more time facilitating conversations across differences, raising awareness about unconscious bias, and equipping leaders with the skill sets they need to be more intentionally and consciously inclusive of others at a time when people are hesitant and sometime afraid to confront issues of difference.”