Deep DEI-ve: Don’t Abandon DEI

Did you miss the first installment of Deep DEI-ve? Go back and read the first column in which Lawson lays the foundations by examining "wokeness" versus DEI.


Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are neither about legality nor a matter of preference. They are vital in today’s world. In many countries (including ours), discrimination based on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and other protected classes is against the law. On the other hand, DEI initiatives are not about discriminatory practices but about actively promoting fairness, representation, and equal opportunities for all.

Prioritizing DEI benefits companies in three major areas, which I refer to as the 3 R’s: revenue, reputation, and retention. Beyond legal obligations, we have a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure our organizations reflect the community we live and serve. So, despite what you may have read, including the letter to corporate CEOs from 13 attorney generals stating that DEI is illegal, it isn’t. Nor should it be an excuse to dismantle or abandon your DEI programs and initiatives.

Both employees and customers are making decisions about whether or not to patronize your brand based on what you do now. Were you one of the companies in 2020 that made a public commitment to improving diversity? Did your company post the number of women or people of color hired within the last three years? If so, will you remain steadfast with your initiatives? Or will you use this as an excuse to jump ship? I’m going to make this easy for you. Here are a few reasons to press forward with DEI.

1. The Customer

The reason we do what we do: the customer. Hospitality is all about customer experience, and it is what differentiates competitors. Inclusive environments are good for guest experiences, leading to increased customer loyalty and positive reviews. Today’s customers actively seek out brands that align with their values, and those demonstrating a commitment to DEI can capitalize on this growing segment. Do the opposite and get the opposite.

2. Your Reputation

A commitment to DEI can enhance a company’s reputation. Social media and online reviews can magnify positive and negative discrimination or bias incidents. By being proactive, companies can mitigate reputational risk and build an image so strong and trustworthy that customers will protect the brand if it becomes the target of attack. That is a currency that never loses value.

3. Legal Concerns

While politicians may be polarizing DEI, customers increasingly hold companies accountable for their DEI or lack thereof. Legal and regulatory frameworks are evolving to address issues related to discrimination, harassment, and accessibility. Proactively implementing inclusive initiatives for all representatives will help companies remain compliant and avoid costly legal consequences.

4. Supply Chain

If we learned nothing from 2020, we understand the volatility of supply chain. Adding diverse suppliers and partners can contribute to an equitable ecosystem, not to mention, just may save your ass one day by getting you products your customers love and expect from your brand.


Don’t buy into the woke mentality or misguided information about DEI not being necessary. Continue to prioritize DEI and, by doing so, enhance customer experiences, manage reputational risk, strengthen your supply chain, and more. Ultimately, it benefits the bottom line and reflects a commitment to social responsibility and an equitable community. After all, inclusion is the cornerstone and foundation of hospitality.


TaChelle Lawson is an international speaker and Founder & President of FIG Strategy & Consulting, where she counsels senior leaders on aligning DEI with business goals to effectively address challenges with employees, customers, and the community. Her services include business & brand strategy, culture transformation, and executive DEI consulting and training. Lawson is D&I Certified by Cornell University and Diverse Business Certified by the Tuck Business School at Dartmouth. She sits on the Leadership Advisory Board at UNLV, serves as the President of NAWBO Southern Nevada, sits on the DEIB Advisory Board for, and is a member of the National Diversity Council. 


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