Making Your DEI Program Impactful

Executives recognize Diversity Equity and Inclusion programs as a strategic imperative in 2021.  In his latest Forbes article, Jack interviews CB Bowman, CEO at Workplace Equity & Equality.  Jack is a Senior Contributor to Forbes CFO Network and looks at the challenges and opportunities facing CFOs today.

Chief financial officers and their teams have identified the creation of a more inclusive workplace as a priority for 2021 and beyond. But this challenge is different from others they have faced, and they are looking for guidance to make Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) a profitable investment for their organizations. I recently spoke with CB Bowman, a thought-leader in the field of DEI, who has helped dozens of organizations create more inclusive workplaces. Our conversation is below.

Jack McCullough: CB, DEI is clearly an imperative for CFOs in today’s climate. You have expertise in the area, so I’d like to talk to you about a pragmatic approach to not only launching a DEI program, but making sure it’s successful in the long-term.

CB Bowman: There is always excitement in launching a new program especially one that has as its foundation social injustice in the workplace. The question becomes how to sustain the excitement and commitment, especially if the excitement and commitment was driven by pressure and fear. We need to focus on creating change focused on a sense of belonging, trust, and our empathetic network.

McCullough: If fear is the motivator, that usually subsides. How do leaders keep the momentum going?

Bowman: How do you refresh and reset? The first thing that happens when fear sets in, we automatically go to solution. And the solution is fast-paced, not well thought out, and temporary. It’s like putting a Band-aid on a cut, right?

That is very much the wrong approach, and that usually comes from the top of the organization. ‘Let me fix this fast so it will go away, it will heal, and then I can move on to my real job.’ That is absolutely the wrong approach to take in crisis mode.

Crisis and fear are tied together as crisis provides fuel for fear. For each situation, a leader must understand how and why they are linked together for each situation they are trying to solve i.e., fear of Covid presents differently from race discrimination.


About Jack McCullough

Jack McCullough is a recognized thought leader in the field of financial leadership, with a career that has included CFO positions at 26 companies. He founded the CFO Leadership Council, a global organization dedicated to empowering senior financial executives through innovative professional development programs and peer networking. His other accomplishments include chairing the MIT Sloan CFO Summit, and creating the vision behind CFO Week, a one-of-a-kind learning and networking experience jointly executed by the CFO Leadership Council and MIT Sloan. He is a contributor to, where he writes for the CFO Network on challenges and opportunities facing financial leaders.  He is an entertaining and insightful public speaker, and has spoken to thousands of CFOs, and is frequently contacted by members of the media who appreciate his candor, insight and wit.

Engage with Jack McCullough further at

About The CFO Leadership Council

What began as a close knit experiment back in 2006 is now a global community, 2000+ members & 26 chapters strong.  The CFO Leadership Council offers both live & online programs that feature expert panels and interactive sessions that drive meaningful conversation and leadership development among our membership. Our collection of leadership development resources similar to this article contain pragmatic insights and advice sourced directly from our members and industry experts.  Recordings of CFOLC webcasts are made available to our current CFOLC Premium & Virtual members. For a full list of programs, visit

About CFOLC Membership

The CFO Leadership Council is a community dedicated to empowering our members to grow and thrive. We  provide insights needed to overcome any challenge a CFO may face and meaningful connectivity to a dynamic community of peers in a way that is most convenient and beneficial. Who are our members?  CFOs, Senior Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents of Finance, Director of FP&A, CAO, Controllers, Directors of Finance, and other senior financial leaders make up our membership and are invited to join.  Start engaging today at

Want to Continue the Conversation?

We’d love to hear from you. Post a comment about your experiences or provide feedback below to continue the discussion about how creative leadership in the current climate.  Or contact Kristin Todd, Vice President of Marketing, [email protected].