Nancy Huntington Stager, the Executive Vice President of Human Resources & Charitable Giving and the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Eastern Bank, is encouraging everyone to think about diversity and inclusion in a broader ways.
“Diversity is more than just race and gender,” says Stager. “Diversity includes diversity of thought, background, life experience, educational level, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Everyone comes from a different vantage point. The best company decisions come when there are a variety of perspectives available, valued, and included in the decision making.”
Stager explained that a focus on diversity needs to include a focus on inclusion, in terms of building out workforces. She used the imagery of fruit and a fruit salad to further convey how she sees diversity and inclusion.
“Having diversity is like having individual fruit. Inclusion is like having the fruit salad,” she says. “Get all those fruit pieces to work together to create something new, a tasty blend beyond the separate, distinct, whole fruit.”
For Stager, diversity and inclusion are two sides of the same coin—inclusion without diversity is no better than diversity without inclusion. It’s about ensuring that employees feel valued, included and that their opinions matter. It is because of our differences that we can make the best decisions.
At Eastern Bank, diversity and inclusion also extend beyond the workplace. Eastern Bank innovates across multiple dimensions from the board level, through innovative products, services provided, and community advocacy. They’ve also expanded supplier diversity and Eastern Bank and beyond through a new foundation—the Foundation for Business Equity.
Stager urges diversity and inclusion leaders to look beyond the numbers: “It’s not just a numbers game—don’t think of this as just workforce development or even supplier diversity. The face of Boston, Massachusetts, and New England has changed and will continue to evolve, our companies not only need to keep up, we need to lead.”