One year ago, CCS purposefully affirmed our commitment to racial justice and our efforts to foster a more inclusive and equitable world. The senseless killings of George Floyd and countless other Black lives ignited the desire to firmly stand in solidarity with our colleagues and communities of color. Systemic racism and discrimination have no place in our society. We actively condemn violence and aggression directed at anyone based on their race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or gender.
Today, CCS remains dedicated and steadfast in pushing this commitment forward. While there are no words to describe the anguish and frustration as these injustices persist, CCS continues the work to create change both within the firm and beyond. We are a firm comprised of passionate, mission-driven people with a dedication to making the world a better place, and we recognized that this work needed to importantly start from within.
An important first step in advancing our commitment was creating our DEI Mission Statement to establish CCS’s core values. Through inclusive and challenging conversations amongst leadership and staff, CCS developed our guiding principles to hold ourselves accountable for creating a respectful, inclusive, and equitable company culture for all employees. Leadership listened, adjusted, and committed to growth to stimulate this cultural change.
As a firm, we also acknowledged that we have much to learn on this journey and made the decision to partner with professional consultants who have expertise in areas related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We began our partnership with Nadia Jones of Culture Cipher, who led us through the development of firm-wide training and education, as well as guidance in the key early decisions on our DEI journey. CCS also partnered with Holistic to conduct interviews, small group conversations, and a firm-wide survey to understand key factors of job satisfaction, growth, and belonging. Additionally, Holistic underwent a deep analysis of our recruitment pipeline to help us understand opportunities for more inclusive practices from the moment a team member applies.
Resulting from these initial steps forward, CCS committed to taking specific, measurable actions in the areas of:
- Fostering leadership training and growth through regular conversations and meetings to prioritize DEI as a principle interwoven throughout our operations.
- CCS overhauled its governance structure with new Board of Directors made up of nearly 50% women.
- This new Board of Directors will also include two new external independent Directors – with diverse candidates already identified and their onboarding imminent – prompted by the intention to bring about greater perspective and diversity to the governance of the firm.
- All CCS Partners have engaged in a series of trainings on centralizing DEI to all aspects of our business, from recruitment to retention and the way we serve our clients. Trainings will continue through the end of the calendar year and beyond.
- Valuing inclusivity by encouraging the development of several internal outlets which offer a supportive and diverse network of voices for the CCS community.
- The CCS DEI Working Group is comprised of 24 dedicated employees across all staff levels, geographies, and backgrounds. The group meets regularly to guide CCS’s work across three priority areas, including: internal enhancements, client services, and external engagement.
- 44% of CCS staff are members of our Employee Resource Groups which, among others, include: People of Color and Multicultural Network, Aspiring Allies, PRIDE at CCS, and Working Parents.
- We have hosted a series of firm-wide safe space listening sessions for employees to have a forum for discussion and learning around sensitive topics.
- In addition to our firm-wide efforts, we formed 4 regional DEI committees throughout the firm to explore key concepts, engage in honest talks, and continue our growth.
- Strengthening recruitment strategies across new avenues of inclusive hiring and upholding the re-affirmed company values, making this a desirable working environment for potential employees of all backgrounds.
- Through a concerted effort to change our demographics, 32% of new hires brought into the firm in 2021 identify as BIPOC.
- CCS began the search to recruit a Vice President for DEI, who will lead, coordinate, and facilitate CCS’s efforts in DEI moving forward. Encouraging progress is underway with a diverse pool of candidates.
- A series of anti-bias trainings has been tailored to all staff involved in recruiting.
- Prioritizing professional development by ensuring equitable access to trainings, tools, and leadership opportunities which promote career growth.
- CCS staff across all levels and tenure have been invited to participate in educational sessions on topics such as anti-racism and unconscious bias, as well as opportunities to learn from speakers across an array of multicultural backgrounds. CCS has hosted 8 of these firm-wide sessions over the past year.
- Increased mentorship and coaching by leadership is a priority to foster an inclusive and supportive work environment.
- Creating a vibrant client community by developing tailored resources for underserved nonprofits and offering our services to those most in need.
- Our DEI Working Group is currently piloting the launch of a free public resource library and expanding pro-bono service to benefit this community.
- The group also implemented a regular set of DEI-focused planning standards for webinars, publications, and communications that reflect our values, as well as those of the diverse client base that we serve.
We have made important and necessary progress in this past year, but we recognize that this is an ongoing journey, and our work must persist.
We will continue to develop resources and assess our operational practices to foster advancement and a positive environment for all employees, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, parental status, national origin, different abilities, age, veteran status, or other invisible traits. We know that as a firm, we are only as valuable as our people, and that there is strength in diversity.
CCS commits to learn and grow through compassion, humility, and accountability as we partner with organizations across the nonprofit community and beyond.
Click the video below for our DEI Mission Statement from the CCS team.