Michele Meyer-Shipp speaking at a National Organization on Disability Corporate Leadership Council event / NOD

How is Prudential Using D&I to Drive Business Results

(Originally published on LinkedIn)


Michele C. Meyer-Shipp, Esq. is a diversity leader, who has built a track record of success by using D&I strategies to drive business results at Prudential Financial (No. 15 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list).

As vice president and chief diversity officer, Michele is responsible for leading and directing all diversity initiatives for Prudential and ensuring ongoing compliance with federal and state equal employment opportunity/affirmative action laws. And, as a person with a disability and parent to a child with a disability, Michele is working hard to promote disability inclusion in the workforce, including serving on the National Organization on Disability’s (NOD) Board of Directors.

The National Organization on Disability recently sat down with Michele to find out what drives her passion for workplace inclusionand learn more about her strategies for success.

1. What led you to choose a career in diversity inclusion

I began my career as an attorney, specializing in employment and labor issues, and was later appointed to serve as the lead equal employment opportunity and affirmative action officer for the State of New Jersey by its then governor. So, when this job as Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) became available, it was a natural fit for me. I have a passion for equality in all shapes and forms, am an advocate and work tirelessly for the underserved. Working to raise awareness of workplace diversity and inclusion issues, and being a catalyst for change, has been the opportunity of a lifetime.

2. Why has Prudential made disability a central part of its inclusion efforts

Prudential is proud to be known as a leader in the disability inclusion space. We were recently informed that Prudential’s percentage of employees who have self-identified as having a disability is above the average found in NOD’s annual corporate survey, theDisability Employment TrackerFive Questions With Prudential’s CDO, Michele Meyer-Shipp, which we can attribute in large part to our “Count Me In” campaign. “Count Me In” is about building awareness, trust, and appreciation, and these are the same ingredients that are important to engaging our workforce in general. “Count Me In” has helped some of our employees find their voice and share their full identity in a way they had not previously done at work.

We have a disability strategy in place and have partnered with NOD on aDisability Inclusion Acceleratorbriefing, which allowed us to go deeper in our benchmarking, assess progress against our plans, and identify new actions we need to incorporate into our future plans. Prudential is deeply committed to this work, and we are not resting on our success we are looking to raise the bar even higher.

3. What elements of your strategy have been most instrumental in building a culture of inclusion at Prudential

We have done a lot to communicate our commitment to disability inclusion our ADAPT Business Resource Group is very active and has held numerous events to create awareness about disability in the workplace.

We track a wide-array of metrics that help us tell an evidenced-based story we have built the business case and secured the commitment and investment needed to make change across the organization.

Also, I believe that the engagement of multiple leaders in this journey has been extremely instrumental in building a culture of inclusion at Prudential. This includes both senior business leaders and partners across corporate HR (Staffing, Employee Relations, Learning and Development and Health & Wellness to name a few). We have been able to bring these partners to the table to help us improve our ability to provide accommodations and they all recognize the business case for creating an inclusive environment that allows Prudential to attract and retain the best talent.

4. What are you most proud of regarding your efforts at Prudential and elsewhere

One of the things I am most proud of is the executive level support we’ve gotten for D&I efforts across the company. The high level of real-time commitment to the work of D&I by our senior leaders and corporate partners is extraordinary. They understand that D&I is not merely the work of the D&I professional, but the work of ALL. We have a terrific team of dedicated people working to drive inclusion and diversity and are making progress.

I am also proud of external recognition that Prudential has received for its diversity and inclusion efforts. While it is evidence of our commitment and progress, it is not why we do it. We do it to attract, hire and retain the best talent and to create a fair and inclusive work environment.

5. What drew you to want to serve on the board of the National Organization on Disability

As a leader and change agent, it was a chance to advocate for those in need. Being on the board is an opportunity to lend my knowledge, skills and experience to help create awareness and more opportunities in terms of recruiting, retaining and providing an inclusive work environment for people with disabilities.

As a person with a disability, and the mom of a son with a disability, it is personally meaningful for me to support this community.

Learn more about the National Organization on Disability’s mission to increase employment opportunities for the America’s 57 million people with disabilities and our employer partners that are leading the way in building disability inclusive workplaces at NOD.org.

Latest News

Cox Business and Henderson, Nevada Launch Energy Efficient Smart Lighting Project

Originally published on Cox.com Cox2M IoT Business Line of Cox Communications will Pilot New Lighting Controls The City of Henderson and Cox Communications have successfully deployed the first stage of their smart community collaboration, starting with energy efficient lighting management and controls. Cox2M, the IoT business line of Cox Communications, and the…

Diverse hads unite

More Work Needed For Corporate Diversity Programs; Fourteen Disability Groups Unite to Promote Voting; and More

Corporate diversity efforts still have a long way to go, new report finds. In a report conducted by the research firm Clutch, nearly half of employees surveyed said their company isn’t committed to creating a more diverse workplace and hasn’t successfully improved diversity within the last year. Researchers with Clutch…

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Declares War on Racism; People 55 and Older Face Historic Levels of Unemployment; and More.

San Francisco begins a citywide war on racism and discrimination. Known as the birthplace of the “Summer of Love” and the counterculture movement of the 1960s, San Francisco has long stood as a bastion of individuality and inclusion. And now the city is continuing that fight with the launch of…

portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Was Abraham Lincoln a Racist?

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s mention of Abraham Lincoln’s name during the third presidential debate on Thursday, Oct. 22, was one of the most memorable exchanges in the final presidential debate of 2020. It also caused Lincoln to become a trending topic over much of social media in the hours…

BASF receives “CIIF New Materials Award”

Originally published on BASF.com Novel modification of BASF’s PolyTHF for various applications First successful application for soft spandex fibers with Banglian BASF has received the 2020 “CIIF New Materials Award” focusing on innovation and granted by the China International Industry Fair (CIIF) in September, 2020 at the National Exhibition and…