VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & INCLUSION
LeaderPROMOS Marketing Agency
Why We Lead with DEI
In recent years, businesses have seen an increase in initiatives for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). As a wholly woman-owned company, the importance of DEI has long been a focus at Leaderpromos, even before there was a renewed interest across corporate culture.
Derrick Hamilton, Leader’s Vice President of Business Development & Inclusion, shares his perspective on why DEI should be central to any business.
What DEI Means To Us
Derrick explains that the components of DEI are complementary but separate. “From a diversity standpoint, it’s the makeup and demographics of your team around gender, ethnicity, age, etc.” he said. “Diversity is making sure your team looks like your community, reflecting a variety of identities and groups.”
“Equity is a little bit different than equality,” Derrick says. “Equality is more about everyone starting at the same place. Equity is meeting a person where they are. If you have been disadvantaged in a certain area, it’s about how we can help you bridge that gap and get to a level playing field.”
“Inclusion is making sure everyone is a part of what a company is doing,” says Derrick. “One of the most profound statements I’ve heard is from UC law professor Joan C. Williams: ‘Diversity is mandated, but inclusion is cultivated.’”
Why It Matters
Companies like Leader who are fully committed to embracing DEI principles aren’t just doing the right thing. They’re doing the smart thing for their internal culture and their business.
“I think some companies are thriving because they have really embraced it,” Derrick says. “They’ve leaned into what diversity can not only do for that company, but for individuals.”
He also states it’s important to have diversity in a sense that empowers members to feel free to speak up, citing a recent example of an advertising campaign that received backlash for being racially insensitive.
“I guarantee you when they made that decision, they probably had a diverse person in the room who didn’t have a strong enough voice or failed to recognize the issues with the campaign,” Derrick says. “That’s not the right type of diversity. You want someone who’s going to speak up and say, ‘Hey, this is not a good idea, and here’s why.’”
“That’s the diversity you need. You can’t all have the same viewpoint and expect to grow.”
Why We Lead With Pride 365
In a climate where some companies are facing some backlash for their support during Pride Month, Derrick feels it should be embraced without apology.
“I love our approach of Pride 365 because it’s saying, hey, it’s more than just June, it’s more than just a party,” he says. “This is life.”
“From an LGBTQ standpoint, you want people to come to work and be who they are, no matter who they love or how they identify.”
And when you authentically support that, you’ll attract more and more talent. “No one wants to go to an organization where they feel they can’t be their authentic selves,” Derrick says.
How We Can Help Support Your DEI Initiatives
Derrick believes a lot of promotional marketing initiatives focus on employee business resource groups (BRGs) and give visibility to company celebrations like Pride and Black History Month.
But another way to show your employees you’re truly dedicated is to showcase where the items are sourced.
“Let’s say a company is focused on diversity, and we’re helping create a story of diversity,” Derrick says. “We can create a campaign around these products to highlight that this is 100% sourced from a minority-owned business or all the items in this kit were curated from women-owned businesses.”
And that commitment can bolster true pride in your company’s diversity commitments. Derrick believes “those are the things that can build the loyalty you want.”