DIVERSITY, EQUITY, and INCLUSION FROM THE INSIDE OUT
DR. LEROY NUNERY II
Founder and Principle, PlūsUltré LLC
Last year, Graham Company engaged Dr. Leroy Nunery, Founder & Principal of Plūs Ultré LLC, to help accelerate our diversity initiatives. We are proud to work with Dr. Nunery on our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, working to enact real change within the industry.
Tell us about the work you are doing with Graham Company in terms of DEI.
I am working with Graham, as a consultant, on the company’s DEI efforts. Just as Graham approaches its work with clients, I admired the way the company took on DEI with the same motto in mind – “Actions Matter.®” At the onset, Graham was very serious in actually doing the work, not just talking the talk. That attitude made all the difference in my world and why I agreed to come on as a consultant.
Can you speak to some of the DEI initiatives Graham has been working on?
Progress is key; as we all know, nothing happens overnight. Graham has made meaningful progress since the start of our work. The first step of our engagement was an all-employee survey assessment, followed by executive interviews and HR consultations to build a strategic road map for what the new DEI program would look like at Graham. Now, the company’s DEI Champions are leading small group discussions to bring different issues and solutions to the table. In addition, Graham has developed new relationships with minority-owned agencies, and today they have some mutually beneficial contracts together. The company is also measuring the impact of this work through a regular internal survey – something other organizations are just beginning to talk about.
How would you describe Graham’s approach to DEI?
In the time I’ve worked with Graham, I’ve seen that the company’s entrepreneurial, go-getter attitude pervades just about everything. In my experience, there are so many other companies with no juice inside to take on this difficult issue. As an employee-owned company, DEI is even more important to Graham because their employee owners take responsibility for moving the needle and recognize this is more than just marketing play. The benefit of DEI being a top priority rebounds to everyone in the company, but so would the risk if it weren’t done well.
What advice would you give to other organizations looking to make their workplace more inclusive?
Getting started is the first step. It may seem daunting but, as I said before, progress is key. It’s also about being authentic and wanting to put in the work. As in most sectors, there’s a tight labor market. What we’re finding is companies that can expand their way of thinking and their cultures, are going to be more attractive overall. The forward look is about how to incorporate DEI in the business on a regular basis, not just as a one-off. Getting started can be as simple as building connections with diverse trade associations, industry experts and potential employees.
What are your hopes for the industry in the next 5 to 10 years from now?
I hope the momentum continues and we’ll see more women, people of color and people with physical disabilities or different sexual orientations on boards and in senior roles. While it’s the right thing to do, data reinforces it also make sound business sense, with companies that embrace diversity outperforming their peer sets, according to research from McKinsey. I think that DEI is rising to prominence at the board table and in conference rooms, and in 10 years, I hope we just expect it to be on the agenda.