Case Studies

Smart DEI strategies help organizations improve productivity and performance while avoiding risks like lawsuits and public relations crises. Read more about how organizations are leveraging DEI to succeed as well as the cautionary tales that demonstrate the consequences of ignoring DEI.

The Birmingham Airport Authority (BAA) reaps the benefits of a diverse workforce by focusing on recruitment strategies that reach candidates regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic background. This includes adapting its traditional recruitment tools to include platforms like Facebook and Instagram to tap into diverse candidate pools. BAA has an outreach and community engagement effort to share its successes with other small businesses in the Birmingham area and throughout the state of Alabama.

Read more here.

SAP, a $135 billion multinational software corporation, topped the Forbes list of Best Employers for Diversity in 2020. The company uses its data-collecting capabilities to promote diversity and inclusion within its own workforce. SAP has successfully closed its gender pay gap and uses a data-driven approach to find inefficiencies and gaps, answer questions about SAP’s workforce demographics, track the progression of underrepresented groups through the company’s career pipeline, and build inclusion into SAP products.

Read more here.

The Child & Family Network Centers (CFNC) of Alexandria, Virginia, serve families in the community that cannot afford private preschool. They asked Diversity Works to evaluate their DEI efforts and help them create their first DEI strategy to codify their practice and allow for future measurement and reporting. Diversity Works found that CFNC embodies many DEI best practices even though it lacked a formal strategy. They are now working to implement a number of recommendations including adopting a storytelling culture and seeking new community partnerships.

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Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, an international reproductive rights and health organization, often finds herself the lone woman among leaders in a field that is dedicated to improving women’s health. She doesn’t doubt the commitment of her overwhelmingly white and male counterparts but has called on the international nonprofit community to do more reflection on the fact that racial, gender, and class power struggles that apply in the wider world are also on display in the nonprofit world.

Read more here.

In 2017, a group of African-American leaders of the medical device industry met to discuss ways they could increase opportunities for people of color in their field. They founded a new group, MedTech Color, which aims to build a community that sponsors and mentors young engineers of color in the medical device industry, to increase the number of African Americans who enter and stay in the industry, and to foster meaningful conversations about the value that leaders of color offer to an industry that serves a diverse patient population.

Learn about MedTech Color here.


In late 2013, Tracy Chou, then an engineer at Pinterest, posed a question to the tech industry: what is the demographic composition of your workforce? Less than a year later, Google had released the industry’s first diversity report, which found that its employees are overwhelmingly white and male. Reporting diversity data publicly helps make companies accountable for their diversity goals and allows them to measure progress. In 2020, Google is slightly less white than it was in 2014, but it has barely moved the needle on gender. In 2019, Google’s parent company Alphabet added a third woman to its board, improving the gender gap of its top leadership.


Lisa Carter, the former executive director of Child & Family Network Centers (CFNC) in Alexandria, Virginia, hired Diversity Works to help her evaluate the organization’s DEI performance. During the process, she thought a lot about what equity means in the workplace and realized that she had not always been equitable about how she delivered one valuable asset: her time. She gave more of her time to employees who asked for it while not spending as much time with quieter or more introverted employees. As a result, she made a deliberate effort to check in with all employees on a regular basis to make sure everyone felt heard and that they had equal access to her ear.


Longtime DEI educator Verna Myers says, “Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Having a diverse team of talent doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone feels welcome or valued. One McDonald’s franchise owner in Canada trains his staff to view every customer as a potential colleague and every colleague as a customer. As a result, his staff feels responsible for bringing in new hires and are constantly reminded of a high level of customer service. His restaurant has the highest employee retention rate among McDonald’s in Canada.

In late 2018, the luxury brand Prada removed a line of monkey-like figures from its stores and displays after a woman walking past a store in New York City pointed out their striking similarity to racist imagery in a public Facebook post. It seems unlikely that the design would have been approved if the company had more racial diversity among its decision makers.

Sometimes the problem stems not from a lack of diversity among decision makers, but a lack of employee training around serving a diverse customer base. Starbucks had repeated problems with employees calling the police about African American customers in its stores. In May 2018, the company closed all of its stores for a day to conduct company-wide racial bias training.