NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / November 10, 2022 / Earlier this year, the National Diversity Council recognized Virginia Nguyen, Chief Diversity Officer at Qurate Retail GroupSM, as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the United States. The National Diversity Council is a leader in convening the private, public and non-profit sectors to advance multicultural environments.
We sat down with Virginia to learn more about how the diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) space has evolved over the years and where we are heading on this important journey.
1. What does diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) mean to you?
DE&I is all about thriving - as individuals, as teams, as a business and as communities. In the workplace, it represents a feeling of safety and encouragement to come as we are, to feel empowered to do our best work, and to have equal access to the resources and opportunities that allow for personal and professional growth. It's about being seen and heard, as well as acknowledging who's not being seen and heard and understanding why and how to address these issues. Ultimately, DE&I is characterized by cultural and structural change, which requires a certain level of boldness and boundary-pushing. Being uncomfortable with others - where we can hear and absorb their experiences, beliefs and perceptions - is a powerful experience and the space in which meaningful progress happens.
2. Why is DE&I important for everyone?
DE&I isn't a zero-sum game. DE&I benefits everyone - as humans and as businesses - which means DE&I is everyone's responsibility. It takes a collective effort to create the culture we want, and we all have an exciting role to play in modeling and driving the behaviors that will foster empathy and belonging, engagement, collaboration and high-performance.
3. You've had an impressive tenure in DE&I - how has the field changed from when you initially started?
When I entered this field over 15 years ago, most DE&I programs were centered around compliance-driven efforts, gender diversity strategies, and U.S.-centric initiatives. Since then, there's been a broadening of the definition of diversity to include other dimensions of identity and a growing body of research that clearly illustrates the business case for DE&I. In addition to that, the DE&I space has increasingly shifted toward the importance of inclusion and the need to examine and redesign systems and structures to mitigate bias and ensure equitable outcomes.
In May 2020, the murder of George Floyd and rising calls for racial justice changed the entire conversation around DE&I on a global scale. For the corporate world particularly, Floyd's murder laid bare the longstanding inequalities in America and abroad. Organizations could no longer ignore these issues, which meant a focus on DE&I was no longer optional.
During that summer of racial reckoning, we saw companies take public stances and declare commitments to social, racial and economic justice - many for the first time. This reflected an acknowledgement that there is not only a business imperative for DE&I, but a human and societal imperative as well.
4. Two years on, is this deeper focus on DE&I continuing?
It will take time, effort, patience and dedicated resources to sustain this momentous shift, but I believe we, as a society, are finally on the necessary path that will drive meaningful and long overdue change. What's more, expectations have changed among employees, job seekers, customers and investors. Everyone is paying attention to what companies are doing like never before, and not just within DE&I, but regarding all material environmental, societal and governance topics.
Accountability has also become embedded in the conversation - stakeholder groups are paying attention not only to what organizations are saying and doing, but also to how transparent they are when it comes to measuring progress and impact. This is a positive change that ensures companies don't just go through the motions but deliver on their promises.
5. How are you and your team helping Qurate Retail Group move ahead on its DE&I journey?
Our DE&I team is a mighty group of talented individuals, but we're keenly aware this journey needs to involve everyone. DE&I can't be delegated to a handful of people. Our team works in close collaboration with other teams throughout the organization - talent acquisition, learning and development, workforce analytics, legal, communications, merchandising, brand, procurement, corporate responsibility, and more. Everyone plays a critical role in advancing our enterprise-wide DE&I agenda. Real change hinges on cross-team collaboration and happens through everyone's incredible work and input.
And we're so proud of the recognition that we've received for our culture - we have been included in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index for several years now, we joined over 400 other companies on the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, and this year we were also designated as a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion by Disability:IN.
6. Which initiatives at Qurate Retail Group excite you the most?
We continue to make good progress against our five-year DE&I goals and commitments, and our team is excited to keep building on our momentum. I'm particularly proud of a few initiatives. Our team member resource groups (TMRGs) - which are our voluntary, team-member-run groups that advise and work on topics that matter to our communities - just keep growing and increasing their impact. We've greatly expanded our DE&I learning programs on topics like unconscious bias, microaggressions, allyship and racial equity, and we're close to achieving our goal of 100% participation by our leaders and team members. We've implemented diverse candidate slate requirements for our leadership roles, and we're finding new ways to better reflect and resonate with our diverse communities of customers.
In other words, we're just getting started!
Virginia Nguyen was named Chief Diversity Officer for Qurate Retail Group in January 2022. In this role, she leads the company's global initiatives to cultivate and promote inclusive environments that provide equity and a sense of belonging for every stakeholder. This includes guiding Qurate Retail Group's commitments to support and advance underrepresented groups on the company's leadership team and across its workforce, vendors/suppliers, customers, and communities. She joined Qurate Retail Group in September 2020 as Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I).
Virginia has more than 15 years of experience managing DE&I initiatives for a range of organizations. As Director of DE&I for Nike, she prepared and provided testimony to the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). She also served as Director of DE&I for Activision Blizzard, and she led her own DE&I consulting firm, which supported startups and national brands.
Spokesperson: Qurate Retail Group
SOURCE: Qurate Retail Group
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