Dr. Sally Saba

DiversityInc 2022 Top 50 Event: A New Landscape = New Opportunity: Shaping Corporate Standards of Excellence for ID&E Management

Dr. Sally Saba, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Medtronic
Dr. Sally Saba, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Medtronic

The role of an inclusion, diversity and equity practitioner has completely evolved, and all eyes are on the corporate community as it navigates its approach. Dr. Sally Saba, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Medtronic, spoke about working together to shape the next generation’s standards during her Top50Talk “A New Landscape = New Opportunity: Shaping Corporate Standards of Excellence for ID&E Management” at the 2022 DiversityInc Top 50 Event on May 3.

Navigating a New Landscape 

Twenty years ago, ID&E practitioners had three predominant roles: They were educating, developing strategies for employee resource groups (ERGs) and measuring workplace data. Now, the role encompasses so much more and is impossible to be done by a single person, Saba said.

In 2020, 89% of jobs were looking for ID&E practitioners and CDOs, according to LinkedIn.

“There was a shift, a very palpable shift in companies reckoning and understanding the importance of this work,” she said.

CDOs Can’t Do It Alone

CDOs that come into a company with a lot of work to do get burned out quickly. There is no playbook — there are no industry standards. Saba said she calls the community to help figure it out for the next generation, collectively enabling a path forward. Here are a few of her recommendations:

  1. Share: Coming together, participating in forums and exchanging knowledge are vital for creating a new standard.
  2. Accelerate leader accountability: “Diversity and inclusion is not an initiative or a program,” said Dr. Saba. “Diversity and inclusion is a sustainable business strategy.”
  3. Integrated responsibility: Don’t do other people’s work for them. Have leaders integrate ID&E into their work and own the compliance aspects — honesty is crucial.

“CDOs today have more power than they have ever had before. And with that power comes a great, huge responsibility for us to help shape the standards for what excellence means in this space,” she said.

Dr. Sally Saba, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Medtronic
Dr. Sally Saba, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Medtronic

Joining Medtronic in March 2020, Dr. Saba is the company’s first Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer. Prior to joining Medtronic, she was the Vice President of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity at Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals in Oakland, California. In 2015, Dr. Saba was named one of the “Most Influential Women in Business” by the San Francisco Business Times.

Watch the full session below!

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