Awareness that a diverse and inclusive workplace is crucial to bottom-line business benefits has spread across the country in recent years. The effective implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives has resulted in increased employee satisfaction, greater innovation, and so much more.

Organizations that are seeing the tangible, long-term results of DEI initiatives are making a proactive effort to level the playing field. They focus on using objective data to implement solution-based strategies in order to achieve equity in the workplace.

One of our clients, non-profit climbing advocacy group Access Fund, has been doing just that – and has been reaping the many benefits of DEI training and other solutions. In their February 2022 JEDI journey report, Access Fund* shares that its vision is to build a community and workplace with “staff from a multitude of backgrounds” who feel “ respected, valued, heard, and able to fully reach their personal and professional potential.”

To help reach their vision, Orange Grove Consulting conducted a multi-workshop DEI training focused on inclusive leadership for all Access Fund staff. The feedback was extremely positive, with an overwhelming majority of staff sharing that the course exceeded their expectations and that they perceived their organization to be strongly committed to Access Fund’s JEDI work.

Access Fund staff member Taimur Ahmad explains that Orange Grove’s trainings created a “powerful environment” where “people felt incredibly comfortable being vulnerable…women on staff could talk about how they felt, men on staff could ask questions without feeling like they were going to say the wrong thing and get canceled because they weren’t up-to-date enough with whatever we were doing in terms of gender equity.”

As a result of our training and Access Fund’s other DEI initiatives, such as creating a JEDI Associate position in 2018, Access Fund has gotten closer to reaching its DEI vision. Prior to the creation of the position, Access Fund didn’t have more than one person of color on staff at a time. In 2022, Access Fund has 35% of their staff identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color (BIPOC). They’ve also made strides in gender parity, with women composing 40% of the board in 2021, up from 15% in 2010.

The journey has not been without challenges and pitfalls, but Access Fund describes what they’ve achieved so far as “both beautiful and powerful as [they] live out [their] vision for a climbing community committed to justice.” To learn more about our role in Access Fund’s JEDI journey, stay tuned for our next blog in two weeks.

*Access Fund uses the acronym JEDI, for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Please reference our previous blog post on the topic of acronyms to learn more.

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