As part of our commitment to exploring the intersections of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and sustainable practices, three of our leaders will take part in discussions on the topic next week at SB'19 Detroit.
Caesars Entertainment is proud to be the official sponsor of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) topic at Sustainable Brands 2019 Detroit next week. As part of our commitment to exploring the intersections of DEI and sustainable practices via our PEOPLE PLANET PLAY Corporate Social Responsibility Framework, three of our leaders will participate in the following conference workshops and breakout sessions:
Lora Picini — VP of Strategic Initiatives, Gender Equity & Philanthropy — will be a panelist in the “State of Gender Equality and Inclusion Inside Companies” workshop on Monday, June 3rd, at 10:30am.
Wendy Bagnasco, Sustainability & Responsible Business Manager, will participate in the “Cultivating the Business Leadership Required for a More Sustainable, Inclusive, and Equitable Economy” panel on Thursday, June 6th, at 11am.
DEI Strategy Director Courtney Moore will participate in the “Leadership in Supplier Diversity and Inclusion” discussion on Thursday, June 6th, at 1:30pm.
Keep reading to find out more about how Picini, Bagnasco, Moore; and Gwen Migita — our Global Head of Social Impact, Equity & Sustainability — reflect and offer insights on the intersections between DEI with Gender Inclusion, Business Leadership & Innovation, Supplier Diversity & Inclusion, and Corporate Social Responsibility.
First and foremost, we want to frame what sustainability and DEI looks like here at Caesars. According to Picini, “From the gender equity perspective, sustainability means providing women with the right tools so they can serve as leaders in their workplace and in their communities from now into the far future.
“By doing so, by putting women into positions where they can impact policies and make change, they will also be open to actions that will improve both environmental and social sustainability,” she says. “We will all benefit from that.
“DEI is about acknowledging that everyone has something different to bring to the table, whether they come from different ethnic or racial backgrounds, have differing abilities or different cognitive perspectives,” she adds. “We believe that by including everyone and making the world more equitable for all, we all benefit. We all receive the gifts of greater creativity and innovation, and the friction of differing perspectives meeting each other.”
Once we ground our understanding of how sustainability and DEI can intersect in our organizations, another essential element is to understand how integration can help make us stronger organizations that contribute to a better future for our planet.
Caesars prioritizes these synergies because, as Moore states, “Integrating DEI and sustainability is important. The challenges facing future generations are of such significance that they will impact people of all backgrounds. Therefore, the path to identifying and implementing solutions to those challenges and ensuring the quality of life for future generations should be comprehensive and include a panoply of individuals from all backgrounds, communities and geographies. The greater and more diverse the pool of individuals working to reverse the negative trends related to sustainability challenges, the greater the likelihood for a more wholistic and impactful resolution.”
While defining sustainability/DEI and integrating these two crucial business priorities are important starting points, progressive sustainability champions must also determine how to measure the effectiveness of their efforts. How do we know if we’re doing a good job?
Moore suggests using actionable, incremental frameworks like the TEN Cycle (transparency, engagement, networking) developed by Adam Werbach, the first CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S. According to Moore, The TEN Cycle is “a proven model to identify sustainability performance. Firms successfully fusing DEI and sustainability use transparency to share their challenges outward.”
Moore also advocates clarifying those challenges at the onset and emphasizing engagement as crucial components of a successful integration strategy. She advises champions to “Engage your employees so that they are right at the center of your sustainability initiative. You should be able to cut open a business and make sure everyone knows what sustainability is, how it affects them, and how it affects the core business challenges. Next, you need to develop a network. Find experts who are not in your business. Leverage nonprofit organizations/NGOs to help you run a better business. Participation in their surveys, benchmarking indices and ranking exercises provide the appropriate level of objective feedback to assess your organization’s performance. Lastly, we can measure at the bottom line: Both DEI and sustainability efforts have been proven to drive revenues and decrease costs.”
A core component of Caesars’ Sustainability and DEI approach is envisioning success. We ask ourselves what our organization will look like in five years if we’re on the right path. Bagnasco predicts that “We will have a more strategic community involvement strategy, more equality at different levels of the company, and programs in place that make everyone feel safe and welcome. This will be reflected in employee engagement surveys and increased retention.”
Identifying and measuring tangible progress is essential to ensuring ongoing support for your sustainability & DEI integration initiatives among different stakeholder groups. Picini connects the dots between generating internal support and external social impact: “We will have the greatest minds — of all genders, backgrounds and cognitive perspectives — working together to solve our world issues around sustainability (both environmental and social). We will have engaged employees who want to come to work and want to be involved in any Corporate Social Responsibility-related projects and volunteer opportunities we present, and we will all make a difference in our local communities because of it.”
While all of this great advice from Caesars’ leaders emphasizes why sustainability and DEI integration is so important, we also want to offer practical guidance on how to effectively kickstart your efforts. Migita offers a multi-faceted approach: “It goes back to the three pillars of a best practice strategy: Authentic investments, Organizational Commitment and Alignment, and Stakeholder Communication and Engagement. Create 1- to 5-year plans and grow incrementally, prioritizing with time/talent and monetary resources. Benchmark competitors relative to your company and track that year-to-year. Learn from the mistakes and wins of others, regularly communicate and engage internal stakeholders at many levels, and report progress (low-hanging fruit that shows traction on activities while working on long-term heavier lifts).”
A final important point involves the need for intentional cross-collaboration and ongoing communication. As an experienced thought leader in the fields of Sustainability and DEI, Migita observes that “The two disciplines are far too pillared and segmented. We often meet executives from the same organizations, and many are unaware of ‘what the other department does’ at an integrative level. There are so many strategic synergies that are possible. We must integrate to advance what sustainability officers have long desired.”
Leaders at Caesars Entertainment are dedicated to exploring and furthering the intersectional work of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Environmental/Social Sustainability. We welcome you to attend the breakout sessions and workshops noted above to see Picini, Bagnasco and Moore in action and to learn more about what we’re doing to effectively impact social issues and make inroads on social impact strategy.