May 25, 2020 began as a typical spring morning in Minneapolis, but the events that unfolded during the day would prove to be anything but typical. That evening, news about the murder of George Floyd swept the country and raised important questions and conversations about systematic racism and racial injustice in America.
Senior management at Central Insurance saw a clear opportunity to do more and do better. As a company and culture rooted in caring for and about our people, it was no longer enough to just talk about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion. We were ready to go all-in to prioritize inclusion and opportunity across the organization to ensure that everyone at Central felt comfortable being their most authentic selves. To achieve this goal, we knew we would need a dedicated group of people who were excited to help make it happen. From there, gathering a group of individuals dedicated to promoting diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace became a top priority – and Central rose to the occasion.
A DEI committee is born
The first call for DEI committee applications was met with great interest. What we initially expected could result in a few raises turning into dozens of employees from different backgrounds and different departments wanting to know how they could get involved. From the large number of applications received, nine core employees were selected to launch the team and lead our internal DEI work.
Click through the slideshow below to meet the members of Central̵7;s Diversity, Equality and Inclusion team and learn a little about what inspired them to get involved.
Central’s goals for diversity, equality and inclusion
When it comes to DEI, we all learn together. We work hard to foster a greater sense of internal comfort and vulnerability so that these critical conversations can occur. Although our DEI committee is still in its early stages, its impact is already changing mindsets and driving internal improvements. Ultimately, the goal is for all our employees to come to work with the confidence that they can be their authentic selves while feeling respected, valued, included and welcome. The more people, perspectives and experiences we bring to the table, the stronger we become as a company.
“Central has made great strides when it comes to having honest conversations, which contributes to a culture of increased openness and respect for our differences. This is what success looks like; an environment where everyone feels they can be themselves.”
– Nicole Rhooms, DEI Committee Member
The future of the DEI committee at Central
“Right now it’s about raising internal awareness and getting buy-in,” says Nicole Rhooms, HR and administrative director. “We recognize awareness months and sponsor activities that engage everyone across the company in thinking about diversity, equity and inclusion. We’ve even partnered with Central’s social team to share some of it with our external audiences. We also work hard to to understand our recent Gallup results and how DEI can support a more diverse overall work environment. That includes rethinking everything from how we integrate new talent into our culture to our training process to geographic diversity as more work goes remote.”
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