Nina Godiwalla on How Inclusion Improves Corporate Diversity Programs

In Chapter 11 of 22 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, author Nina Godiwalla answers "Why are Corporate Diversity Programs More Necessary Than Ever in the Workplace?"  Godiwalla notes how workplace culture is far more diverse than ever before and how organizations are able to recruit entry-level and mid-level talen but rarely retain them long-term.  She finds inclusion programs complement diversity hiring programs and pushes to shift the conversation toward inclusion programs and the culture they can create.  Godiwalla is the author of "Suits: A Woman on Wall Street". She is also a public speaker on workplace diversity and founder and CEO of Mindworks, where she teaches mind-based stress reduction techniques to help organizations improve employee wellbeing.  Godiwalla holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, an MA in Creative Writing from Dartmouth University and her BBA from the University of Texas at Austin. 


Erik Michielsen:  Why are corporate diversity programs more necessary than ever in the work place?

Nina Godiwalla:  If you look at something 30 years ago, we might not have had a whole lot of people that were different but now, we’ve even got people in the environment and one of the challenges I think is the part that I would call inclusion.  So you’ve got, there are so many organizations that are able to bring people in.  They typically stay at lower levels, maybe make it to the middle levels and then they’re gone and it’s almost mysterious to companies I feel when they talk about it is, “What happened?  I mean we put so much money behind it.”  And it’s frustrating on the their part of I don’t get it, why are these people not staying and so I think the focus needs to be a little bit more on diversity and inclusion and we’ve heard that term, some of the programs have actually changed their name to diversity and inclusion and the idea is, is it’s not you just bring people in and hope that they survive. 

The reality is when you have an environment that tends to be so closed off to any type of people that are different, thought processes that are different, to values that might be different.  If the culture is that intense and that closed, it becomes hard to keep somebody feeling happy and welcome in that culture and I think there’s more work that needs to be done around inclusion.  I actually don’t think it’s that challenging to bring in somebody.  I think it’s challenging to make it a place where somebody wants to stay.