Year in Review: Highlights of Strategic Advising, Racial Equity Assessment, DEI Strategy, Pay Equity, and More in 2023

Reflecting on the past year, we are proud of our team’s accomplishments and the organizations where we have helped advance pay equity, diversity, and a more just, inclusive workplace. Explore select initiatives below.

Racial Equity Assessment of BlackRock.  In 2022, BlackRock asked Working IDEAL to join a team led by Covington & Burling, LLP, to conduct a racial equity assessment of the company. Pam led the interdisciplinary Working IDEAL team as it completed that work in 2023 with a final written report.

The assessment focused on the goals set in BlackRock’s internal DEI strategy, and the progress made against that strategy. The assessment report provides BlackRock’s stakeholders – its employees, clients, business partners, content partners, civil rights organizations, and the communities it engages and impacts – with a better understanding of BlackRock’s progress in advancing its DEI-related goals, and the opportunities to go further. 

The report ultimately concludes that BlackRock has set forth an ambitious strategy that addresses not only its workforce but also key business operations and external stakeholders, and that the firm has made progress on many of its goals. The report identifies areas where BlackRock can further advance that progress and makes recommendations. You can read the report here.

Strategic Advisory Services for the Black Orchestral Network.  Working IDEAL has supported the Black Orchestral Network since 2021, helping the organization develop and implement actions to better support Black orchestral musicians and share their ideas and stories. Over the past year we provided recommendations and strategic advice to the BON organization and its leaders in several ways. Most recently we assisted in the creation of an open letter demanding the reform of orchestral tenure practices, seeking more transparent, more inclusive and more effective approaches to awarding tenure to musicians.

Strategic Advisory Services for the Human Rights Campaign. Working IDEAL partnered with Holliday Advisors to support the Human Rights Campaign’s strategic planning work through a DEI lens at a critically important juncture for LGBTQ+ rights across the nation. Pam and Sarah provided facilitation and project management services and strategic advising to organization leaders through several months of internal discussion and development. Working IDEAL is committed to the movement for LGBTQ+ equality and welcomed this opportunity to support such an important organization in its work.

Creating Innovative Pay, Promotion and Job Architecture Frameworks for Major National Nonprofits. Pam, Sarah, Cherrie and Christian have worked to build a robust DEI Analytics team with particular expertise in pay and promotion equity and effective job architecture. Working IDEAL has developed a unique methodology for assessing gender and racial pay equity and designing pay policies, job architecture frameworks, and career path initiatives — advising a number of leading national civil rights and other nonprofit organizations who have successfully implemented these tools. In 2023, this team completed several new projects including working with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the Humane League, and Supermajority, to implement implement innovative pay and career path initiatives designed around principles of equity and transparency. Work across these projects included components such as market analysis, developing new pay and promotion philosophies, updating job architecture and building out competency-based job and pay levels, creating career pathing, and supporting implementation. Working IDEAL also partnered with the National Women’s Law Center, which developed its approach with Working IDEAL several years ago, in follow up work to further grow and strengthen its program.

Engaging Organizations on DEI Action Plans in Light of the Evolving Legal Landscape. Cyrus has been speaking to leaders in education, law and other sectors around strategic next steps for DEI programs in light of the Supreme Court ruling in SFFA v. Harvard and UNC. This work includes recommendations for action that focus on maintaining and advancing progress through a nuanced understanding of risks and opportunities. You can see more here about this approach in the call Cyrus and Pam put out for leadership and institutional courage.


Working IDEAL provides trusted and innovative advice on inclusive workplaces, diverse talent, and fair pay. Our audits and assessments apply the best thinking on how to promote gender, race and other forms of equity in your pay practices. Our robust quantitative and qualitative reviews go beyond basic compliance to align effective compensation strategy. Let’s connect.  

2019 Highlights

  • John Jay College Campus Climate Review.  Working IDEAL was selected after a competitive process to lead a Campus Climate Review to provide the John Jay community and leadership with a better understanding of its current culture and climate as it relates to diversity and inclusion and the prevention of harassment and sexual violence. The Review included focus groups, leadership conversations, and review of existing climate and diversity data and reports. To read the final report, visit the college’s public web page for the project: Learn More.
  • City of Cambridge Recruitment, Hiring and Promotion Project.  Working IDEAL successfully won the bid to conduct a DEI assessment of recruitment, hiring and promotion practices.  Over the past eight months, we have conducted department level interviews, begun to review data and completed a survey of all City employees.  In early 2020 we will begin a focus group process and prepare a report and recommendations.
  • DataCamp, Inc. Independent Third-Party Review. Working IDEAL conducted a third-party assessment for DataCamp, an educational technology start-up, in the wake of an alleged incident involving its CEO. The Working IDEAL team investigated the incident and the company’s response, evaluated culture and climate and recommended improvements to strengthen the company going forward. The Working IDEAL final report is available here: Learn More.
  • Nonprofit Advising on DEI and Compensation. Working IDEAL has completed several projects for national nonprofit organizations, including the Center for American Progress (a DEI assessment and a series of in-person trainings for all staff), the Humane Society of the United States (a pay equity study and recommendations on compensation program design) and the National Women’s Law Center (a pay equity review and development of a new compensation framework and policy). These organizations sought Working IDEAL out because of our approach and values.  We have been approached by three other similar organizations over the past several months as a result.
  • Friends of Bernie Sanders. In the wake of high-profile concerns raised by 2016 campaign staff about sexual harassment and workplace culture, Jenny, Rene and Pam facilitated a dialogue with former campaign staff and management, developing a process to collect feedback and use to it identify best practices for safe, inclusive and equitable campaign work. This work resulted in an innovative Blueprint for Campaign Equity, released by the Sanders campaign and available here: Learn More.