WittKieffer: Chief Diversity Officers: Strategies For Success In The Current Moment

In the past few months, WittKieffer spoke with just under 40 Chief Diversity Officers about their challenges and hopes in the present moment. Many of their thoughts are reminiscent of opinions expressed in a 2017 WittKieffer survey report of CDOs. These leaders pivot with grace and courage, and have amplified their intellectual and emotional muscle exercised day in and day out in the face of uncertainties on campus intensified by the pandemic.

With the understanding that institutional support is absolutely critical, below are some key factors to success underscored by reflections and statements from sitting CDOs:

  • A seat at the leadership table and a voice that is valued and respected are essential, as is knowing what inclusion initiatives the president and provost will support.
  • Diversity and inclusion strategy needs to be integrated into the university’s stated goals, with clear objectives, metrics and accountability.
  • It is important to balance real-time responses to crises as they emerge while also being strategic and visionary for the long term.
  • A lack of resources can be the greatest challenge.


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Charlene Aguilar
Thought leadership category