Compared to the DEI inundation of 2020 and 2021, this was a slow year. We saw fewer inquiries about DEI consulting in 2023.
But to be honest, I was happier with the work.
As a result of the Black Lives Matter awakening, the volume of RFPs in ‘20/’21 was incredible—in both senses of the word. It was an amazing display of interest. And so many of them weren’t credible.
“We want to end systemic racism! What can you do in 60 minutes?”
Yes, that wave of interest—or perhaps “bubble” is the more accurate word—has burst.
But, the organizations that are still engaging with DEI are doing so because they know it matters. They aren’t just responding to peer pressure or public relations anxiety. They’re responding to an internal demand, with support from leadership and from across the organization. With clients in that mindset, you can make real progress.
So I want to say a special thank you to the clients we worked with in 2023: the ones who have continued to do the work in spite of “DEI fatigue,” budget cuts, and Supreme Court decisions. Thank you for trusting Fletcher Consulting to partner with you in your DEI work.
DEI workshops sometimes get a bad rap for not being “effective,” and that is probably true if they’re one-offs. Impact doesn’t come from workshops alone, but from the work the organizations do in the months between sessions. So we’re particularly grateful for clients who took us up on our offers of learning series, such as Housing Partnership Network, Social Finance, Analysis Group, and the Mayor’s Office of Housing Stability.
We were also pleased to support several clients as they broadened their DEI work to include different groups like operations staff, boards, and cohorts moving into supervisory roles for the first time: clients like WilmerHale and the New Bedford Whaling Museum come to mind.
And the clients who focused on affinity group programs, such as AltmanSolon, or bias-proofing systems such as interviewing or professional development, like Mintz and Columbia Law School Administration.
We were fortunate to work again this year with many clients who have engaged with us over multiple years, such as Addison Gallery; Allen & Overy; Arrowstreet; Berkeley School of Law; Bernstein, Litowitz, Berger & Grossman; Boston Bar Association; Columbia Law School JD & LLM Programs; Fordham Law; Harvard Global Support Services; Institute of Contemporary Art; Mount Auburn Cemetery; Museum of Fine Arts; Office of Senator Elizabeth Warren; St. John’s Law; UVA Law; and Yale Law.
And to welcome new clients this year: CFAR, Curriculum Associates, Disability Rights Advocates, Form, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, Morse, and Trailstone Management Corp.
As we enter the new year, we look forward to continuing the work with our existing clients and to engaging with new clients who are early in their journey.
Best wishes to all as we close out 2023 and get ready to ring in the New Year.