Roundtable explores diversity in hiring, inclusive work environments

em>Victoria Williams-Ononye, MBA 19, (center) discussed an interviewing experience during the recent CMG Employer Roundtable event. (with Matt Hines, left, and Rafael Sanchez, right) Photo: Noah Berger</em>

Victoria Williams-Ononye, MBA 19, (center) shared a job interview experience during the recent CMG Employer Roundtable event. (with Matt Hines, left, and Rafael Sanchez, right) Photo: Noah Berger

A group of employers, diversity leaders, and MBA students came together for the recent 2019 Berkeley Haas Employer Roundtable to share stories and to discuss the tangible steps employers can take to attract diverse talent.

The April 23 roundtable, sponsored by the MBA Career Management Group, explored many ways to nudge diversity strategies forward—by taking steps like setting up Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) (based on shared characteristics or life experiences,) supporting underrepresented employees’ career development, understanding how to tackle unconscious bias during the recruiting process, and sending diverse employees and allies to recruiting events.

Abby Scott, assistant dean of career management and corporate partnerships, and Haas Dean Ann Harrison welcomed conference attendees. Harrison noted the progress that the school has made with its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategy, a sweeping action plan that provides concrete ways to bolster enrollment of underrepresented minorities at Haas and to develop a more inclusive environment school-wide.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion is front and center at Haas, so I think that we’re well positioned to continue moving that conversation forward in career management to address challenges in both recruiting and in creating a more supportive workplace environment,” said Jennifer Bridge, senior director of external engagement at Haas.

Hector Preciado, MBA 11, director of global sales development at tech hiring marketplace Hired (right) in a fireside chat with Elida Bautista.

Hector Preciado, MBA 11, director of global sales development at tech hiring marketplace Hired (right) in a fireside chat with Élida Bautista, director of Inclusion & Diversity at Haas.

Several alumni speakers—Peter Poer, MBA 14, senior director of operations at test prep company Magoosh, and Hector Preciado, MBA 11, director of global sales development at tech hiring marketplace Hired—shared their personal experiences in hiring for diversity and their best workplace practices.

During a fireside chat with Élida Bautista, director of Inclusion & Diversity at Haas, Preciado, who came to the U.S. from Mexico when he was three years old, said that cultivating an inclusive company culture is even more important than recruiting diverse people.

Preciado said companies could do a better job in this area by supporting and funding Employee Resource Groups, giving these groups key problems to solve, and setting objectives and goals that are tied to the performance reviews of those involved with ERGs. He also recommended connecting summer interns to ERGs when they arrive.

Offering formal DEI training also gives employees the opportunity to identify as “certified” allies, Preciado said.

MBA students discussing diversity and inclusion at the roundtable event

MBA students discussing diversity and inclusion at the roundtable event. Photo: Noah Berger

As allies, Magoosh’s Poer said that employees have to become more actively engaged in making change. “Just listening can also be an excuse to not do anything,” he said. “Don’t just listen.”

Poer discussed the journey he and his co-workers have taken since 2015 to decrease unconscious bias at the company and create a more equitable hiring system.

Magoosh worked to set and reach diversity goals that would track over the course of five years and hired IQTalent Partners to help the company find more diverse candidates.

The company focused on using inclusive language in job descriptions and decided to anonymize the first stage of the hiring process. When Magoosh removed the names from resumes, the rate of URM candidate resumes that made the pass-through to the interview phase doubled. Poer said that the quality of the candidates brought in to interview was exceptional—and that all candidates made it past the first round.

After the alumni speakers, a panel discussion that covered everything from interviewing challenges to finding the right mentors at internships was held with students Tam Emerson, Christina Chavez, Matt Hines, Rafael Sanchez, and Victoria Williams-Ononye, all MBA 19, and Catherine Start, MBA 20.

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