Situation: One of the world’s leading academic and research institutions had established a reputation as a credible contributor to the study of gender in the workplace. They also recognized that today’s global and multicultural environment was increasing the need for graduates to have an understanding of how diversity and inclusion impacted organizational performance. Being located in Washington, D.C. placed them at the intersection of business, public policy, international affairs and ethics. They saw an opportunity to expand their influence as a thought leader by creating a center of excellence (CoE) focused on diversity and inclusion.

Intervention: They recognized that existing faculty expertise, the ability to serve as a convener and their geographic location could form a foundation to build upon…but they needed to know how they compared to others already in the space. Members of the leadership team decided to explore the viability of creating a CoE on this topic by completing a fact-based review and determine if there was a business case to support this hypothesis.

Impact: Wes completed a benchmark analysis that included a review of the current landscape, an evaluation of the characteristics of best-in-class institutions and measured the client against these criteria to identify areas of strength and gaps that could impact success. The holistic approach created a framework that defined what success would look like in today’s shifting social and political environment. The evaluation also looked at how proposed options had the capability to positively impact attracting students, faculty and staff as well as serve as a catalyst to increase donations. This comprehensive assessment demonstrated the client was well positioned to make valuable contributions to study of diversity and inclusion. It also provided a high-level implementation plan designed to deliver quick wins as well as achieve sustainable long term impact.