May 25, 2020, began as an ordinary spring morning in Minneapolis, but the events that unfolded over the course of the day would turn out to be anything but typical. That evening, news of the murder of George Floyd swept the country, sparking important questions and conversations about systematic racism and racial injustice in America.
Senior leadership at Central Insurance recognized a clear opportunity to do more and do better. As a company and culture rooted in caring for and about our people, it was no longer enough to just talk about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We were ready to go all-in on prioritizing inclusivity and opportunity throughout the organization to ensure everyone at Central felt comfortable being their most authentic selves. To accomplish this goal, we knew we’d need a dedicated group of people excited to help make it happen. From there, assembling a group of individuals dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace became a top priority—and Central rose to the occasion.
A DEI Committee is Born
The initial call for DEI committee applications was met with an outpouring of interest. What we initially anticipated might result in a few hand raisers turned into dozens of employees from diverse backgrounds and different departments wanting to know how they could get involved. From the large number of applications received, nine Central employees were selected to launch the team and lead our internal DEI efforts.
Click through the slideshow below to meet the members of Central’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team and learn a bit about what inspired them to get involved.
Central’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goals
When it comes to DEI, we’re all learning together. We’re working hard to foster a greater sense of internal comfort and vulnerability so those critical conversations can happen. Though our DEI committee is still in the early stages, its impact is already shifting mindsets and driving internal improvements. Ultimately, the goal is for all our employees to come to work with the confidence they can be their authentic selves while feeling respected, valued, included, and welcome. The more people, perspectives, and experiences we bring to the table, the stronger we become as a company.
“Central has made leaps and bounds when it comes to having honest conversations, which contributes to a culture of increased openness and respect for our differences. That’s what success looks like; an environment where everyone feels they can be their whole self.”– Nicole Rhooms, DEI Committee Member
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The Future of the DEI Committee at Central
“Right now, it’s about raising internal awareness and getting buy-in,” said Nicole Rhooms, HR & Administrative Manager. “We’re recognizing awareness months and sponsoring activities that engage everyone across the company in thinking about diversity, equity, and inclusion. We’ve even partnered with Central’s social team to share some of that with our external audiences. We’re also working hard to understand our recent Gallup results and how DEI can support a more diverse overall work environment. That includes reconsidering everything from how we integrate new talent into our culture to our training process to geographical diversity as more work goes remote.”