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Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) How KC Area Businesses Stack Up

Study after study shows that those businesses and organizations committed to diversity and inclusion (D&I) are more innovative, creative, profitable and successful. For KC companies and nonprofits, there’s both good news as well as opportunities for growth and change.
That’s the conclusion of a survey commissioned by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and released this morning at the Chamber’s annual POWER of Diversity Breakfast.
Among the findings:
  • 81 percent of those surveyed say their CEOs/Senior Management teams actively project a commitment to D&I.
  • 57 percent have a formal D&I policy, strategic plan, or mission statement.
  • 62 percent say their senior management demonstrates D&I commitment in key operations from recruitment to retention.
  • 71 percent report their offices reflect D&I policy in their every day operation.
  • 78 percent regularly evaluate their facilities/operations for disability access.
But there’s room for growth:
  • Only 48 percent of large businesses said 25 percent or less of their senior management is diverse.
  • 58 percent of large companies said 25 percent or less of their corporate board is diverse.
“It’s not the Golden Rule anymore,” said Chris Brassell, National Director in the PricewaterhouseCooper Office of Inclusion and Talent Management. “It’s the Platinum Rule – treat others as they would like to be treated.” Change in an organization, he said, needs to be at three levels:  behavioral, cultural, and institutional. “You need to practice being uncomfortable.”
“The marketplace is shifting. The workforce is shifting,” said Karen Daniel, Chair of the Chamber and CFO at Black & Veatch. “Our businesses won’t grow, can’t grow, without diversity.” And she promised that it was the Chamber’s mission to lead the KC community to be the best that it can be.
The Chamber plans to use results of the survey to create new D&I programming and to share best practices gleaned from the survey. Planning for next year’s survey is already underway.
The full survey report is available at
In addition, the Chamber presented its annual ACE Awards, honoring three mid-to-senior level diverse managers who are having a positive impact on their company’s profitability, as well as a Supplier Diversity ACE Award to a manager accomplishing dramatic growth in supplier diversity.
ACE Award winners include:
  • Amanda Beaver, Manager/Audit, KPMG
  • Michael Gonzales, Diversity & Inclusion Director, Hallmark
  • Debra Johnson, Department Vice President/Operations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
ACE Supplier Diversity Award:  Terry Hedrick, Director of Generation Engineering, KCP&L