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Understanding the Basics of Your DEI Journey in DSM

DEI Basics

In the second session of the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Beginning Your Inclusion Journey series, Sanjita Pradhan, director of diversity and inclusion at The Partnership, along with 2021 Partnership Inclusion Council member Timothy Perkins, spoke with panelists about understanding the basics of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) program. The webinar panelists included Greater Des Moines (DSM) business leaders, all at different places in their DEI journey, including:

History of DEI

In the 1960s, Equal Employment Opportunity (EOO) focused on eliminating discrimination for protected classes. Through the 70s and 80s, affirmative action promoted EOO and in the 90s, promoting diversity moved to broaden the definition of equal opportunity to include religion, LGBT and cultural backgrounds. Today, DEI programs work to enhance innovation and find the best talent by making the connection between accessing workplace and marketplace opportunities and encouraging diversity. Perkins touched on major milestones throughout history, including the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, among others. He also discussed setbacks, including the banning of preferential treatment of minorities at different points in history.

Diversity in Your Organization

The DEI webinar also focused on setting up a framework for your organization, including foundational, capacity building and strategic integration opportunities. Ask yourself: Where is your organization on the following points?

  • Compliance
  • Workforce Diversification
  • D&I Business Case Adoption
  • Inclusive and Collaborative Culture
  • Diversity as Competitive Advantage

Hoang shared why diversity in the workplace is important, touching on how it fights unconscious biases, increases employee morale, appeals and connects to wider target market and offers an opportunity to spark fresh ideas and understand consumer needs.

Panelists also discussed the difference between equity and equality, key drivers of DEI in the workplace, globalization, inclusive culture and how DEI are the key to a healthy business in the future.

The next Beginning Your Inclusion Journey session will take place on Thursday, August 26, followed by the Inclusion Summit on Wednesday, November 10.

Watch the entire webinar below:


Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 400 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.