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Hiring Hoosiers: Indiana companies hire new equity, diversity and inclusion officials

Over Zoom, WRTV's Megan Shinn chatted with Karrah Harring, Brian Richardson Junior, and Diane McDaniel.
Posted at 9:28 AM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 09:29:33-05

INDIANAPOLIS — WRTV is exploring barriers some face while looking for a job-and the equity and diversity efforts many companies are making.

Good Morning Indiana Anchor Megan Shinn spoke with the new hires now tasked with helping companies create a more equitable and diverse workplace.

Since many people have been working from home, there are some important new hires you might not have met in person yet.

Over Zoom, Shinn chatted with Karrah Harring, Brian Richardson Junior, and Diane McDaniel.

They work in three very different industries, but each of them is leading in a brand-new role in their organization, as the head of diversity, equity and inclusion.

WRTV asked each of them what this new job really means to Hoosiers? McDaniel tells us, "To be the best of ourselves, diversity, equity and inclusion is needed in every sector."

Her official title is the Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer for Community Health Network.

She said, "I'm excited, to be in this role at community health network." Since she began in December, Diane has been assessing practices, policies, and hiring procedures.

It's meant to provide a roadmap for improvement. McDaniel explained, "Diversity, equity and inclusion, it's tough work."

She said that includes tough conversations and active listening. However challenging these steps are, McDaniel said the work is crucial, especially when the health of Hoosiers is on the line.

"Patient demographics throughout the United States, that is another reason why healthcare is saying let's look within,” said McDaniel.

From the medical world to the sports world, improving equity isn't a sprint, it's a marathon and Brian Richardson Junior said his new job is a calling.

"It was a dream that I never dreamt, but something that I have been working for my entire life,” said Richardson.

After working in diversity and equity roles for several organizations, including Indiana University, in December, Richardson became the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Indianapolis Colts.

"Sports is a great way to unite a lot of people,” said Richardson. He said his goal is to unite even more people within the Colts organization and community.

Listening to feedback and starting a conversation is the starting line and cultivating greater understanding and acceptance is the end game.

"The last thing I want to do is say 'hey' look at the Colts and how they are leading in the community with all of these things related to different identity groups. The goal is to elevate the voices of the people who already doing the work,” said Richardson.

Richardson said it's about creating space and its space Karrah Harring said it is necessary.

"Let's just be honest here, you know I am a Black woman in America. So, there are issues of intersectionality that I have to grapple with daily,” said Harring.

She's a mom, an ordained pastor, and now the Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer for the state of Indiana.

Harring said, "Yes, I'm here to look at issues that disproportionately impact Black and Brown people across the state. But I am also here to advocate for women, and veterans, and individuals with disabilities, and anyone who is grappling with the unequal distribution of wealth in our country."

Like Brian and Diane, her first order of business will be to listen to people and collect data about her workplace to help continue social conversations that were already happening.

Harring said in all industries, these new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion positions are just the first step in a long journey toward growth and understanding.

"While I think it's fantastic, we just have to make sure that we are putting the resources and the structure behind those positions to set them up for success,” said Harring.

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