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Authenticity, Empathy Are Key to Successful DE&I Programs

diversity, equity and inclusion

What are the steps involved in creating such a program? The Channel Partners Virtual session, “The Importance of Creating a Successful Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy” on March 3, offers insights from Five9 on how they created their program, their goals for the program and what they learned along the way. This fireside chat will feature Kelli McMillan, channel sales manager-partner advocate; Genefa Murphy, CMO; and Rowan Trollope, CEO.

McMillan, founder and chair of Xposure Inclusion & Diversity Council, will also participate in the “Diversity & Inclusion Meetup” earlier in the day.  

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, McMillan and Murphy give a sneak peek into some of the insights on creating a diversity program they will be sharing during their session.

Channel Partners: What do you think is the first step that should be taken by any organization in creating a DE&I program?

Five9's Kelli McMillanKelli McMillan: When an organization is looking to create a DE&I program, they should create goals that reflect their company culture or the culture they are trying to create. To do this, they should seek feedback from across their team. Whether it’s with an anonymous employee survey or a dedicated meeting, leadership can gain valuable knowledge and direction by listening to the team that this program will directly impact.

Genefa Murphy: Often companies can be quick to rush to do something, but in doing so they don’t take the time to listen. 

CP: What do you see as the biggest challenge to establishing a DE&I program?

KM: Once the executive team has feedback, the biggest challenge is what resources to leverage. My suggestions for resources include: 1) looking at businesses in your industry with successful DE&I models, 2) curating an internal employee panel for guidance and 3) seeking third-party organizations that focus on DE&I programs, as a start.

What does the channel community actually look like? We have created a survey that will help us find out. And we want your input! Click here to access the survey.

Five9's Genefa Murphy

GM: The biggest challenge can often be how to turn feedback into action in a meaningful way that will not be a one-time thing, but which will evolve, grow and gain momentum. Commonly, resources can be a challenge. Who will sponsor the program? Who will drive a regular cadence? if you want to help bring education to the team, where and how can you carve out the dollars needed?

CP: What do you see as the biggest reward?

KM: Hands down, the biggest reward is the increased employee engagement which results in a happier and more cohesive organization. Having a fully engaged employee positively impacts your company culture, which results in employee retention and increased customer engagement. The connections fostered within your organization go even beyond the workplace by impacting our everyday interactions with our community.

CP: Any program success stories you’d like to share?

KM: The reason why our program has been such a success is because our entire organization embraced the opportunity to learn more about each other. You will hear more about this during our presentation at Channel Partners Virtual.

CP: Anything else you’d like to add?

GM: The key to a successful DE&I program comes down to be empathy and authenticity. To be successful, the program has to be something that people can feel personally invested in and accountable to.