Building the Best Workforce Through Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Inspirational Women 2022
(ClareM -

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) emerged as one of the hottest topics in corporate America in 2020, as large corporations raced to hire heads of diversity and set in place formal standards for creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. During the last two years, we’ve learned lessons as a country, and as a company we have identified four pillars of our own DE&I strategy.

Inspirational Women 2022
Sarah Quinn, Co-Founder, Connect Media


1. We’re Privately and Minority-Owned
Connect Media isn’t governed by outside shareholders focused on driving profits because we are a minority-owned, privately held company. The company has been staffed for growth and service. Our founder and CEO is a proud Latino and brings a distinct lens to the growth and operations of the company compared to corporate America’s C-Suite. The leadership of Connect focuses on building a culture of collaboration and hard work by a team that is committed to rolling up their sleeves and doing the most, no matter what it takes. This mindset leads the way that we operate as a company and is passed along to our clients every day.

2. We’re Woman-Led
Connect’s leadership team is comprised of 50% female leaders, and 56% of our overall team is female. There is no place for misogynistic views in our team, from clients or at our events. This balance and female leadership exemplify the ways that we are helping to change the thinking in male-dominated industries every day.

3. We Believe in Balance
In 2020, many large companies were surprised when they looked at their diversity numbers. When we looked at our team, we saw a diversity of background, as well as representation with 36% of our staff being visible minorities. We strive to have a balance of backgrounds, schools of thought and experiences represented on the team - that leads to the creation of better work across everything we do.

4. Adjusting as We Go
In the last two years, we have shifted from a company with a few corporate hubs across the country to a nearly fully remote workforce. Our leaders realized we needed to find innovative ways to connect and drive culture without being together in the same office. Examples include break-out rooms on Zoom calls to get to know new members of the team or department team summits built into larger Connect conferences. No matter how well our DE&I statistics look, as the company has grown, the leaders understand they must continue to work hard to make sure that this experience, diversity and mindset meets a dispersed workforce and culture.

Advising our Clients and the Industries We Serve
The last few years have not only prompted us to look at our own culture, diversity and operations to better understand how our DE&I successes have driven our business growth. We have found those pillars allow Connect to provide the best news, creative services, continuing education and events for commercial real estate, legal and financial services industries. But the DE&I approach we have adopted can also be used as a model to help our clients create their own DE&I strategies. We’ve found that the best strategies include:

A Dedication to Action: A pledge is simply a pledge until it is executed upon. The amount of talent that can be actively recruited is boundless, and we’ve found that until a pledge is acted upon, even in the smallest step, very little moves forward. A company must commit to incorporate purposeful steps toward improving diversity, equity and inclusion. It must be willing to track progress and honestly evaluate how it is doing toward achieving those goals. That dedication to action, and true execution of it, drives DE&I successes.

A New Way of Thinking: Many firms focus on the diversity aspect of DE&I. That makes sense since it is the most visible way to track metrics. We understand there is more to consider. Equity of opportunity for all employees, equal opportunities for advancement, inclusive voices at the table for leadership and equitable pay are all strategies for DE&I that have meaningful impact for companies of all sizes. We have discovered, in a time of turbulence in the financial markets and in the job market, driving engagement through these tactics leads to more stability and successes in the long term.

A Strong Communications Strategy: If a company has undergone a significant shift or investment in their DE&I commitments or has achieved organic DE&I successes, the smartest thing that can be done is develop both internal and external communications strategies to enunciate their wins. What does this look like? Showcasing employees internally and externally creates a barbell effect. Not only is the company profile elevated, but employees see that they are valued and that the company is investing in them and cares about highlighting them. A strong communications strategy will also drive recruitment, making potential candidates aware of your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and how important execution is to your company.

As a strategic communications firm, Connect Media works with clients of all kinds to shape and share best practices, as well as our own DE&I experiences.

Those successes form the foundation on which a communications strategy and plan can be developed. DE&I initiatives can be leveraged to create more opportunities for exposure for a wide array of employees. We’re all in the infancy of the DE&I journey. Connect Media envisions constantly adapting our strategies for communication and exposure for ourselves and our clients, as we work to build a workplace that attracts the best talent and produces the best work.