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Raghu Gollamundi: Why It’s Time to Give Chief Diversity Officers The Tech They Need to Scale DEI programs

5 Mar, 2021

by Raghu Gollamudi
Raghu Gollamundi: Why It’s Time to Give Chief Diversity Officers The Tech They Need to Scale DEI programs

After my second successful exit when Integris where I was the Co-Founder & CTO was successfully acquired by OneTrust –my wife wondered out loud if I might consider a more stable path forward with the leadership role and great OneTrust culture I was being offered. However, I was already beginning to incubate an understanding of my next step and true to form –it was as founder of Included.

At Integris we provided a solution for data privacy starting from the point in the market when data privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA were first emerging and companies had to act fast.

This meant companies were hiring Chief Privacy Officers rapidly, but without the tools or technology to enable the CPO to succeed in their goal of safeguarding all sensitive information throughout the enterprise.

Companies, it is clear, are now feeling this pressure to grow a new part of the business: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI). Chief Diversity Officers were the fastest growing C-suite role in 2020 — having expanded at a rate of 84% as a proportion of total C-suite hires year-over-year. Companies are working to put their best foot forward on retaining and promoting a diverse workforce.

I felt a personal connection to the diversity, equity, and inclusion conversations prompted by the Black Lives Matters protests in 2020. As someone who immigrated to the US, I’m grateful for all the opportunities this great country has had to offer. I’ve travelled and worked in various states and with inconsistent experiences –some good and some not so good. So, I developed a thick skin and trained myself to follow the rule of “when in Rome be a Roman.” Thankfully, during this time I also met my beautiful wife, made great friends and mentors who helped me through my journey. Now, as a father, I want to make sure my daughter and others like me should not have to go through my negative experiences.

When I looked at the speed with which enterprise companies working to secure Chief Diversity Officers a feeling of recognition came over me –like CPOs before them, CDOs are being brought in before the technology solutions have been developed to allow them to successfully scale their programs and provide the personalized, inclusion experience every employee expects in 2021.

In building our solution to enable DEI leaders, we interviewed dozens of CDOs and program managers in DEI across a variety of mid to enterprise level companies. We heard your voice, a consistent theme in being spread too thin:

“I wish I could clone myself!” was the most common statement.

Included recognizes that the work of the CDO and other DEI leaders is often thankless even though we believe it is the most important part of driving a high retention, high belonging experience across the entire organization.

Belonging is more than just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do with a high retention workforce savings per company $2B+/year.

Companies are moving in the right direction, staffing the CDO role and instituting diversity recruiting alongside other programmatic elements. But in the post-Covid world of remote workforce, the risk of attrition due to disconnection among your diverse workforce has never been higher.

I am passionate about delivering CDOs and DEI program leaders the technology you need to achieve yet unreached levels of belonging and inclusion across your global, diverse workforce. At Included we know that when you embed inclusion and belonging into every employee experience, you get happy employees that want to stay. We want you to succeed. We need you to succeed.

My wonderful wife and I have done our best to show my daughter a world where girls like her grow up with all options available to them. We need your results at scale: retaining and promoting women of color alongside many many other diverse identities to pave the rest of the way forward.

The work starts now– Included unlocks each CDO’s ability to scale, measure and drive their global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs.

If you are passionate about delivering world class belonging experiences for your entire global workforce, I encourage you to reach out. I’d be happy to share with you how our Early Adopter customers are using Included and how it might look at your particular company.



Raghu Gollamudi

Raghu Gollamudi is the co-founder and CEO of Included. Previously he was co-founder/CTO at Shippable and Integris (acquired by OneTrust). Raghu has been recognized as "Startup CEO of the Year" by Geekwire and Untapped’s Top DEIB Leader "Walk The Walk” Award. His writing on DEI Tech has appeared in Forbes and Fast Company.

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