Businesses are increasingly committed to cultivating diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It’s more than just a moral imperative; it’s good for business. Typically, gender-diverse teams and companies outperform single-gender teams, so cultivating and engaging the talents of women isn’t controversial, it’s common sense.
However, companies can’t just go out and hire a bunch of women professionals and be done with it. Diversity and inclusivity are not only about numbers. The challenge is to develop policies and support practices that help keep and cultivate a diverse staff, leadership and board. Inclusive organizations create an environment where women feel comfortable sharing their perspective with the knowledge that their ideas will be heard and valued, and that they are an equal and accepted part of the team. Organizations must be committed to raising the profile of women in their company internally and to changing the playing field in general.
At Salt Lake Community College, we have created structures that ensure women have access to the same level of mentors, advisors, information, education and advocates as their male counterparts. We hold ourselves accountable by regularly assessing diversity and inclusion metrics (for example position and climate). Additionally, we recognize the importance of networking for women within the college and with our counterparts in Salt Lake City and across the country.
Mentorship and networking with other women is an easy and effective way for organizations to invest in their employees and create a network of mutual support within the company. By connecting your female employees with peers through professional development and networking organizations, such as the Salt Lake Chamber Business Women’s Forum (BWF), you will not only increase the profile of your employees but your company as well.
Ultimately, hiring a diverse staff is a good start, but creating policies and supporting practices that make women full partners is the next step. Let’s work together to really make Utah the best state for women and business.
ABOUT JENNIFER: Jennifer Seltzer Stitt is director of community relations at Salt Lake Community College. She works to strengthen the College’s role within our community and facilitates support for a variety of college initiatives. She led SLCC’s successful bid to secure the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, one of only three community colleges nationwide named first time recipients in 2015. Jennifer earned her bachelors from Miami University and her masters from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
ABOUT THE BUSINESS WOMEN’S FORUM: The Business Women’s Forum (BWF) is a program organized by the Salt Lake Chamber where local women managers, executives and entrepreneurs meet to improve their personal development and networking skills through bi-monthly luncheons and mixers. For more information on BWF, visit slchamber.com/business-womens-forum/
The Next Business Women’s Forum Luncheon is May 15 on Personal Brand Building For Non-Marketers at 50 West Club & Café from 11:30AM-1:00PM. Register Here.