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How Professional Standards Elevate Diversity Work

Diversity & Inclusion Credentials Are Quickly Becoming the Workplace Standard

Top 10 Reasons to Certify Your Entire Diversity & Inclusion Team

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, U.S., July 25, 2017 / -- Today, ANYONE can say that they are an "experienced" Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) leader. However, after burning through a substantial investment of time and treasury, companies are learning otherwise about some individuals who claim to be D&I experts.

Eight (8) years ago, the Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC)™ developed a professional safeguard to help companies ascertain how successful a potential job candidate, current employee, or consultant will be in their efforts to advance workplace equity, diversity and inclusion. Similar to a certification process for an accountant, doctor, fundraising professional or human resources executive, IDC designed a streamlined and rigorous system to assure employers that diversity and inclusion leaders are qualified to perform the job.

Professional qualification credentials from IDC means that a person has passed a standardized exam with an 80% or better, and the individual completed an external peer review process certifying that they are a legitimate and elite diversity and inclusion leader. Rita Holmes-Bobo, Executive Vice President of Diversity Equity and Inclusion at KVC Health Systems in Olathe, Kansas, achieved the CDE credential in June 2017. After completing the online preparation course, Mrs. Holmes-Bobo said, “I enjoyed the webinar classes and the creation of the project. The CDE class content should be required knowledge for every diversity, equity and inclusion professional.”

In fact, many organizations such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Postal Service, Federal Reserve Bank, Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, U.S. Acute Care Solutions, Mercedes Benz/AIDT, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Indiana State University, and others, have required multiple members on their D&I team to obtain Certified Diversity Professional (CDP)™ or Certified Diversity Executive (CDE)™ credentials.

These organizations turned to certified professionals because they wanted to:

1. Improve the consistency of Diversity and Inclusion outcomes.
2. Understand what population changes mean for recruiting, sales/marketing, students, volunteers, suppliers/partners and the board of directors.
3. Ensure management and employees focus on connecting the D&I strategy to organizational goals.
4. Increase efficiency, reduce waste, and save time.
5. Develop a professional culture and better team morale.
6. Serve internal and external customers better.
7. Benchmark their efforts against other industry leaders.
8. Experience quicker results from change efforts.
9. Customize their professional work submission to reflect real business needs.
10.Achieve international recognition as an industry leader.

Modern-day diversity and inclusion efforts are driven by globalization, competition, and changing demographics. In a recent Harvard Business Review article entitled, "How Royal DSM Is Improving Its Geographic and Gender Diversity", author Avivah Wittenberg-Cox asserts, "With the recent spate of firms in the news over sexual harassment allegations and charges of gender bias, it is obvious that an issue many in business had thought was “done” is instead far from finished. Fostering corporate cultures which make half your employees feel somewhere between unengaged and unsafe is becoming risky and unsustainable." Accordingly, Dutch-based Royal DSM is the perfect example of a CEO who leads a gender balanced team in a field that has been traditionally dominated by men. IDC's certification program explores best practices, research and case studies (such as the DSM case), that can be replicated in organizations around the world. This is why professionals throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Japan, Germany, and Poland possess CDP and CDE credentials, and it is also why IDC is currently working to offer the credentials in other nations abroad.

Today, there are hundreds of designees at Fortune 500's, government agencies, nonprofits and educational institutions. IDC recently conferred CDP credentials to: James Bowles, Madisonville Community College; Clinton Covert, Ed.D., Defense Contract Management Agency; Brian Jones, Shelter Insurance; Minny Deol Olson, Seva Diversity Consulting; Andreea Petre, Insight Canada; Brandie Roberts, University of Alabama Huntsville; and Susanna Speed, Trillium Health. James Bowles, CDP, Director of Cultural Diversity at Madisonville Community College, has used his new-found knowledge to contribute to the development of strategies and approaches that advance access, success, diversity and inclusion for students and employees at the college. After achieving CDP credentials, Mr. Bowles was moved to the President's Office to raise the profile of diversity on campus. This and other success stories have inspired some D&I professionals to pursue the Diversity Executive certification. For example, Gail Williams, Chief Diversity Officer at Hodges University achieved the CDP in 2013, and completed the CDE in May 2017. Since then Williams has been given increasingly more responsibilities and has led several high-impact initiatives, with the support of the campus President, Dr. Donald Wortham. Both credentialing programs empower diversity leaders to work more effectively with senior leadership, and to drive interventions that will deliver meaningful outcomes.

Other executives with newly conferred CDE credentials include: Ismael Acevedo, New York Life Insurance Agent; Clara Awe, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago; Jason Barnett, The Ohio State University; Rita Holmes-Bobo, KVC Health Systems; Kathryn Pullen, U.S. Air Force; Deepa Shankar; and Angelina Wilson, Dream Builders Communication.

IDC guarantees that its designees are more effective and better equipped to deliver sustainable solutions-- which allows organizations to experience greater benefits from diversity and inclusion work. The credentialing body offers ongoing resources and technical support through its professional membership arm, The Society for Diversity, to ensure that CDP and CDE designees exceed expectations. With thousands of individuals already using IDC's trademarked credentials, your organization can experience the advantage too. Call 1-800-983-6192 or log onto to learn more about IDC's revolutionary and competency-based equity, diversity and inclusion leadership program.

Leah Smiley
The Society for Diversity Inc.
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