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  • Writer's pictureDr. Juhanna Rogers, PH.D

OUR DEI Work continues as our clients make progress

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

As RESI Clients Make Progress, Our Work Continues

As we are two years into our racial equity and social impact work, I wanted to offer personal reflection on leading this work with some of the most forward thinking and committed leaders I’ve come across in my 20 years as an equity educator.

Working together is helping us think critically about how to expand our perspectives on equity and our strategies across the region to address the lack of talent diversity. To the clients who have chosen to engage with the RESI team, we have learned from you.

In conversations with clients, we have consistently identified that we can’t recruit or retain local diverse talent if they don’t see themselves and their culture in the community.

Retaining talent and making a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion requires welcoming and diverse employment opportunities. However, it also requires business leaders to support diverse events and spaces in the community. To that end, we will be restarting our Generation Next initiative where we will work with businesses and social spaces to cultivate more engagement and connectivity to Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) professionals.

Lesson two: Equity work is always ongoing. Developing equitable strategies requires us to remain ever focused on this work daily. However, if we have a vision and set priorities it is easier to help empower a team to move the work forward. For many organizations, just offering a workshop or program to expose employees to a topic is considered DEI work. However, equity is about education, connecting the issues to practices and thinking of new strategies with a broader understanding of diverse lived experiences in mind. Companies such as NextPR, Legrand and the Syracuse Airport Authority — 2022 clients of CenterState CEO’s Racial Equity and Social Impact DEI trainings — have exhibited that approach by engaging in more than just the sessions; they also took advantage of opportunities to offer solutions.

Lastly, in our sessions with clients, we are often reminded how overwhelming it feels to start addressing DEI. There are so many areas to consider and needs to be addressed. That overwhelming feeling is real, but so is the possibility of real, meaningful change. So, it is important to acknowledge it, and then consider — should we take a break, start another day or decide that equity leadership is about finding the courage to identify one problem and focus on how an organization can begin to address that one thing. Each day, I engage. I help leaders start on one thing at a time. The teams start offering insight and the energy resurges. That’s the beauty of pushing through the reservations and discomfort. It is payoff for showing up. Leaders aspire to drive change and RESI is honored that after two years, we still have companies digging in and committing to our process.

Please look out for additional opportunities to engage in the coming months. If you are interested in exploring how CenterState CEO can support your organization’s DEI journey, please contact us at

-Dr. J.

Dr. Juhanna Rogers is vice president of Racial Equity and Social Impact at CenterState CEO. Contact Dr. Rogers at to learn more about racial equity and social impact initiatives, DEI training courses and consultation services available through CenterState CEO.

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