Statement by Pamela Coukos, CEO and co-founder, Working IDEAL
Last year, BlackRock asked Working IDEAL to join a team led by Covington & Burling, LLP, to conduct a racial equity assessment of the company. Working IDEAL commends BlackRock for agreeing to undertake this assessment and its commitment to transparency and accountability by publicly issuing this team’s report today.
The 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 assessment focused on the goals set in BlackRock’s internal DEI strategy, and the progress made against that strategy. 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.
Since its inception in 2017, Working IDEAL has been committed to supporting companies and other organizations seeking to align values of equity, inclusion, access and justice with their internal and external practices.
Our engagement with BlackRock incorporates key elements we view as critical to conducting racial equity assessments:
- First, we deployed an interdisciplinary team to assess two components of the DEI strategy, Pillars 2 (business operations and partnerships) and 3 (external engagement).
- Second, we took into account a range of information to better understand BlackRock’s progress and the opportunities to strengthen and improve their programs. We considered internal and external documents and data, and applied learnings from research, theory and practice in our analysis. We conducted many in-depth interviews at different levels of the company and structured a process to obtain candid stakeholder feedback.
- Third, we used that information to develop specific recommendations grounded in best and promising practices, and BlackRock is now providing transparency and accountability around those recommendations by issuing this public report.
We believe that every organization, from a local small business or nonprofit to a signature company like BlackRock, can benefit from applying equity assessment tools. This enables them to document progress, identify gaps between aspirations and outcomes, and use that knowledge to write a roadmap that builds on progress and helps to close those gaps. We can build a more prosperous society for all by better recognizing communities of color as investors, sources of wealth and innovation, and talent for the financial services and asset management industry.
We would like to thank our team of experienced DEI practitioners and social scientists, civil rights attorneys, and experts in building diverse business partnerships including Anthem of Us, Conscious Customers, Mehri & Skalet, and Redwood Enterprise and the team at Covington. BlackRock and their external stakeholders were very generous with their time and contributions to this important work. The report’s observations and recommendations reflect their insights.
Working IDEAL provides trusted, effective and innovative advice on inclusive workplaces, diverse talent and fair pay to large and small companies, government agencies, non-profits, universities, unions and other organizations across the nation. Pamela Coukos is the CEO and co-founder. Learn more at workingideal.com.