Inspiring Leadership with Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Over the years, it has become increasingly apparent that a strong diversity and inclusion strategy is critical for any organization that seeks to improve and maintain their competitive advantage. Focusing on a diverse and inclusive environment is not just a “nice” program, or “the right thing to do”; it offers an opportunity to capitalize on global and technologically savvy talent, changing customer demographics, socially responsible investors, as well as international partners and suppliers.

Every employer, with 100 or more workers, needs a Chief Diversity Officer, or individuals who can help the organization gain a competitive advantage by leveraging its differences and fostering a high-performing, inclusive culture. Smaller organizations can utilize a diversity council, while larger employers must have a designated person to coordinate its diversity and inclusion efforts.

A 2008 Diversity Best Practices survey found that the average salary for a Chief Diversity Officer at a U.S.-based Fortune 500 was $225,000. This salary will vary depending on title, function, industry, employer size, and more. For example, according to the 2010-11 Administrative Compensation Survey conducted by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, the average salary for Chief Diversity Officers at educational institutions was $102,447.

In this field, a high salary can be a plus (especially when you consider all of the challenges that this position may experience); nevertheless, there are high expectations for results. The problem is that many are unsure what types of results they should be getting. An organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts will generally have variable outcomes for three reasons. These “outcomes” are determined by:  (1) the knowledge and skill of the diversity practitioner and/or supporting team members; (2) the level of organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion; and (3) the organization’s stage of development on the diversity and inclusion continuum.

Accordingly, bottom-line impact will also vary from organization to organization. For example, the American Red Cross counts volunteers and donations. While government agencies, like the IRS, may have a service-oriented bottom line. Still, all organizations, whether for-profit or not, depend on their ability to get the best possible return on dollars invested.

This is where the Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC) helps. IDC’s education and credentialing program centers on inclusion, speaking the language of senior executives (i.e., finance), and measurable impact. It is a business management program for Diversity and Inclusion professionals. 

Our program does not simply “teach” to pass the test– although participants only want to focus on what’s on the exam– it prepares individuals to be successful in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and how to get consistent results.

When you get Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) or Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) credentials from the Institute for Diversity Certification, you will:

  • Learn how to tackle cultural challenges and projected demographic changes with a proactive, positive and purposeful strategy.
  • Understand how to develop team leads to guide and sustain diversity and inclusion efforts.
  • Create a meaningful blueprint for success with a direct link to organizational goals and the bottom line.

Once you complete IDC’s program with an 80% or better, you will demonstrate competence, and the confidence, to get great results. Our designees are recognized as elite players in the field, and demonstrate excellence in their work.

Apply today for the November 2013 exam window. The next exam window begins in March/April 2014– so don’t miss out on an opportunity to make a positive impact on your organization now. Get more information at

By Leah Smiley, CDE


Leah Smiley is the President and Founder of the Society for Diversity. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto

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