I recently had an epiphany about the true essence of diversity. During the past year, I have written articles on the importance of having a diverse legal department and diverse outside counsel. Recently, it dawned on me that although striving for diversity is good, diversity is not meaningful if it does not entail inclusion.
The success of diversity efforts is often measured by assessing numbers listed on a sheet of paper. When it comes to determining whether diversity is real, we must look beyond the numbers. If the diverse group cited in the numbers is actually isolated, ignored, dismissed, second-guessed, or excluded from meetings, key assignments and advancement opportunities, then diversity is a sham. Inclusiveness is what truly drives a diversity program.