July 16, 2021

Member Forum Recap: Recruitment & Retention Through the Lens of Diversity & Inclusion – July 2021

IECRM MEMBER FORUM RECAP: Recruitment & Retention Through the Lens of Diversity & Inclusion
Thusday, July 8, 2021
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Via Zoom
Hosted by IECRM Diversity & Inclusion Committee

IECRM is honored to provide our members with value-rich forums that pertain to our industry. Below you will
find a bulleted recap of the discussion and helpful links to resources.
Watch the VIDEO RECORDING of this week’s forum: Recruitment & Retention Through the Lens of Diversity &

If you have any questions to ask of our subject matter experts or suggestions for future Member Forums, please
contact IECRM CEO Marilyn Akers Stansbury at or 303.853.4886.


Sara Schmidt, CSI-CDT, LEED-GA
Sr. Specification Consultant

Sonepar Group
Aaron Adams
Director – Org & Leadership Development | O: 843-745-2461

Namastė Solar
Jason Sharpe
Co-Owner, CEO | 303.447.0300
Presentation Highlights

Namaste Solar

The JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) work within Namaste Solar began with the realization that
the Board of Directors and all of the senior level staff were white men. Recognizing this, the Namaste
leadership set out to educate themselves about how to bring about a cultural change within their

● The leadership within Namaste Solar believe it is important to have a diverse workforce since it improves
business outcomes because more varied perspectives are brought to the table. This has helped with
bringing their company out of a financial crisis.

● Namaste began working with Focus Points and Diverse Alternatives to gain a better understanding of the
many facets of JEDI work. They engaged in educational training classes focused on unconscious bias, right
use of power, and power dynamics. The results of this work was an increase in women in leadership
positions in their organization.

● Namaste has continued their JEDI work by focusing on the recruitment, retention, and promotion of BIPOC
within their company. Jason noted, “… you can try to recruit racially diverse people, but if you don’t create
a culture of inclusivity, you won’t retain them.” To this end, there is continued discovery work among all
staff within all levels of the company to create a culture of inclusion and acceptance.

● Namaste leadership continues to stay in the pulse of inclusivity efforts in Colorado through participation in
the Colorado Inclusive Economy Group. Namaste Solar’s JEDI journey can be reviewed here and here.

Le Grande

● Le Grande’s experience with diversity and inclusion is a story about creating a culture and climate of
inclusion, safety, and awareness opportunity.

● Le Grande established a women’s working group named L. The goal of this group is to bring training and
mentorship opportunities for Le Grande’s women employees to encourage growth and further achievement
within Le Grande as well as the industry as a whole.

● An outcome of the L group has been an increase of women in leadership and management positions at Le

● In 2020, shortly after the George Floyd and #BlackLivesMatter events took place, Le Grande realized there
should be an offering like L for their Black/African American employees, as well as their LGBTQ employees.

● Le Grande’s Black Professionals Network Group was created to foster community for and among
Black/African American employees as well as offer similar types of mentorship and upskilling opportunities
to create more leaders from within this group of leaders.

● The LGBTQ affinity group at Le Grand serves two purposes: 1) to provide a safe and welcoming place for
those who identify as part of the LGBTQ community, and 2) to serve a more broad focus as to educate other
team members about inclusivity.

● The greatest lesson to be learned from all of these affinity groups is they can’t just be HR driven. There
needs to be a desire or request from the employee base. Additionally, for any of these efforts to succeed
there needs to be full support from everyone in the company. These efforts must be supported from the

● Senior leadership needs to lead in the initiative of equity and inclusivity. That way it
promotes a cultural difference rather than an issue of compliance.

● Sonepar’s DEI work began in 2020 with a change in their Human Resources leadership. The new leader
assessed where the company was along the Diversity Continuum Model:
a. We are not doing much at all along the way of diversity, equity and inclusion;
b. We are doing the minimum which is EEO-Compliance/Affirmative Action focused; or
c. We fully value and embrace diversity, equity and inclusion.

● Based on their findings, Sonepar established a system to address their DEI concerns and issues and it is
broken down in four components:
a. Culture: Establishing measurable goals which are tied to financial incentives.
b. Workplace: Creating employee resource groups as requested.
c. Talent: Hiring people who focus solely on diversity, equity and inclusion within an organization, e.g.,
reaching out to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs)
d. Marketplace: Continued management training/leadership development. What is a
micro-aggression and how can I avoid that in the workplace? How do our biases impact our hiring

● Also, it is recommended that there be an employee whose sole focus is to work on DEI for the company as
this is a full time position and effort.

General Discussion
● There needs to be a balance between leadership being willing to listen and committing to change. By
engaging in this work to broaden diversity, equity, and inclusion, it isn’t an admission that the person is
lacking in those areas, but is acknowledging that change needs to happen.

● Need to have a safe space to discuss issues and perspectives.

● The younger generations have an expectation of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

● Who is the diverse individual that you are developing for leadership?

● Learn what institutional racism is vs. racism.

● Example of unconscious exclusivity: If you only talk about one thing (sports, activities, etc.) you can become
exclusive in your conversations as well. Be mindful of that. Invest time in learning about others and what
they are passionate about.