Chicago United works to change look of corporate America through diversity, inclusion

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More local companies are making a push to make more diverse hires in this new year, which company leaders say will benefit everyone.

Chicago United is helping to change the look of corporate America.

The organization works with companies on diversity, inclusion and talent management.

Chicago United CEO Tiffany Hamel Johnson said company leaders have to make diversity a priority.

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"The barriers have been around, not having - I believe - accountability outside of just saying we are bringing them in, but how do we keep them and how do we move them through," Johnson said.

According to Chicago United, between 2012 and 2020 Black, Latino and Asian representation in the C-suite at Chicago's top 50 companies increased by more than 10 percentage points.

Chicago United offers Corporate Inclusion Institute, a program that gives companies the tools to transform their culture with the hopes of more employees from underrepresented backgrounds rising up the corporate ladder.

Stan Jones, a demand planning engineer for Nicor Gas, completed the program last November.

"The whole goal of the program is to first, identify where you are with respect to diversity and inclusion, equity," Jones said. "And then also identify if you have any gaps, in which I did have a gap, surprisingly."

Johnson said after the events of 2020, more company leaders are thinking about their workforce. She said having a diverse staff benefits everyone.

"When you have diverse representation of people of color at the table, your shareholder value increases," she said. "So it is just not moral imperative."
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