2016 4.5% Theme: Diversity, Inclusion & Equity

We founded Artemis Connection with the belief that diverse teams in the right conditions will yield the most innovative solutions. Our team feels fortunate; we get to do the strategic work we love for amazing leaders while working with a supportive team.

We believe that it is crucial to building a great company to hire and retain employees with different backgrounds—employees of different genders, nationalities, or familial statuses bring different perspectives to the table. Since our founding, we have experimented with different ways to leverage technology to make the lifestyle of a top-tier consultant sustainable for this type of employee.  Our mission starts with us, but if it ends with us, then we have not succeeded.

The 4.5% Promise

Giving back is built into our business model, so each year we pick a theme and focus our time and resources around it. We call this intentional philanthropic approach our 4.5% promise. The Artemis team has 4.5% of their time set aside for the sole purpose of changing lives, communities and organizations. We leverage learnings from our learning lab, people and resources. What does this look like?

  • Open source tools and consulting for organizations that qualify
  • Discounted fees for organizations wanting to do something big in our “theme area”
  • Board involvement
  • Donations of money and time

Our first topic is focusing on one of our founding principles: We believe that diverse teams in the right conditions will yield the most innovative solutions.

Here’s a chart summarizing the many data points highlighting the business case in relation to women.

Source: Better Boards Project (University of Washington; Professor Goethels); McKinsey; Catalyst; Credit Suisse; Thomson Reuters

Female entrepreneurs also have an impact:

  1. Female led firms on the S&P 500 index outperformed the market (50 percent vs. 25 percent growth).
  2. In China, businesses led by women are on average 8 percent more profitable.

But there is still a gap, with females as only 3 percent of deal-making VCs and only 1.7 percent of VC funding going to female CEOs.

Some regions have had an impact by focusing on the topic. According to research from the Female Founders Fund, the number of women-run startups raising funds in Series A rounds declined in the Bay Area last year, but the number increased in other tech hubs. Despite the drop from 2014 to 2015, the Bay Area still had more female founders who received Series A funding than New York, but it went from nearly double in 2014 (23 in the Bay Area vs. 12 in New York) to just a third higher last year (16 vs. 12).

Yet when you look at companies, you still see a lack of diversity, especially at the upper ranks. There are many theories about the lack of female leaders:

(Source: Future of Jobs Report; World Economic Forum; Davos January 2016)

At the same time, there is a talent paradox. Employers worry about the need for talent, while employees worry about fulfilling work. Parents, especially mothers with more than one child, are some of the most productive and some of the most educated, experienced and innovative members of the workforce are unemployed, yet only a few companies are experimenting with how to engage these individuals.  Employers complain about the need for talent.  Employees complain about wanting fulfilling work. Parents, especially mothers with more than one child, are some of the most productive (St. Louis Federal Reserve)

  • Underemployment of some of the most educated, experienced and innovative is limited GDP and company growth (McKinsey)
  • Only a few companies are experimenting with how to engage these folks, especially in terms of flexibility (Boston College)

There is a lot of focus on the pipeline and gaining talent, but little focus on retaining talent. This is yet another paradox as employee turnover is a big waste of time and money. During our exploration, we talked to several CEOs and executives, including one who had 200 percent annual turnover in his organization. When we asked if that was costing him money, he said he and the board thought it was but they were unable to prove it so consequently they were not doing anything about it.

Progressive and data driven leaders know turnover costs them, both directly and indirectly. Some of the costs include:

  • Lowered productivity
  • Overworked remaining staff
  • Lost knowledge
  • Team chemistry and culture

…and a HUGE waste of $$$

  • Paying a premium to poach a replacement
  • Recruiters
  • Interviewing costs
  • Training costs

So what are we offering?  Support for progressive leaders! Our 2016 give back is focused on:

1)   Assessment: rapid assessment and strategizing for progressive leaders wanting to do something about diversity and inclusion. Prevention is so much easier than rehabilitation.

2)    Access to tools: We have self-serve tools and rapid assessments we’ll share with qualified organizations.

3)    Strategies: For the right leader and team, we will also provide consulting support and dashboards.


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Christy Johnson

About the Author

Christy Johnson is an entrepreneur and educator, and Founder & CEO of Artemis Connection. She believes that people are an organization's most important asset and by having a diverse workforce, organizations will have the most innovative solutions.