Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy
The Wakeman Agency’s 18 years of work in social and racial justice has prepared us to help clients reimagine their organizations through the lens of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI). As an agency deeply committed to social change, our work has always centered on justice and equity, as we seek to upend systems of oppression, in order to accelerate progress on important social issues.
The global pandemic and racial reckoning of 2020 laid bare the many inequities that exist in our country, prompting an international outcry for systemic change. For us, this long overdue focus on JEDI and social justice represents a critical moment for organizations to evaluate who they are and what they stand for.
We do our most effective work with clients that are ready to make authentic and lasting systemic change, with a resilience to receive and act on uncomfortable truths that are typically revealed during the process. Having served as strategic advisors on a number of JEDI engagements with nonprofit and corporate clients in recent years, our agency facilitates and empowers organizations to navigate the journey to equity. The process can be complex, messy and nuanced. Despite the challenging work at hand, the end results are often transformative for organizations.
Our expertise with crisis management has shaped our approach to working with organizations as they embed JEDI into their culture and ecosystem. We are able to quickly assess the barriers to equity, exposure to risk, and identify how to authentically communicate an organization’s challenges and successes, making us a strong partner in the essential work of dismantling systemic racism. Our work centers on people and systems, both of which have the power to either create harm or to advance a just and fair future for all.
While each of our engagements are designed to meet the needs of the specific client, most of our JEDI works falls into these four areas:
We provide strategic counsel services to leaders who need support integrating JEDI into their organization. Our advisory services include working with CEOs who need proactive or reactive guidance, to serving as a thought partner to Human Resources in strategizing JEDI work. In some engagements, we also provide coaching to Board members and members of leadership teams.
Communications Planning and Execution
We work with Communications or Public Affairs teams to support their efforts. Our goal is to make sure that messaging is inclusive, representing all stakeholder groups. This can include preparing internal updates to staff about ongoing JEDI efforts, crafting equity charters and supporting leadership in conveying their vision to internal and external audiences.
As communications experts, we know firsthand the role that language plays in advancing systemic racism, or creating awareness and actions toward equity. In both the nonprofit and corporate sectors, there are a number of examples that illustrate the way power dynamics are perpetuated through language. Our lexicon engagements help organizations evaluate how to best reflect their JEDI commitments through their use of language. During this exploration, clients have an opportunity to see where there is a disconnect between their intentions and language used in communicating internally and externally. We help organizations remove inherent power dynamics in relationships by creating language and community agreements that reflect the desired connection with stakeholders.
Using our Foresight framework, we help clients assess their current workplace environment and build the appropriate structures and checkpoints to create a better future. We begin by examining the organization’s current environment. Having extensive experience in crisis management, our assessments and audits seek to uncover areas of risk for organizations quickly. Through surveys, facilitated meetings, and data collection, clients gain an understanding of their environment and culture. This allows us to then build a foundation from which they can explore the future state of the organization through a JEDI lens.
If you would like to learn more about how we can support your organization in JEDI work, please contact Jennifer Lynn at [email protected] or 212.500.5953, x113, for a confidential consultation.