Newly Created Position Demonstrates Association’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) has promoted Nikki M. Jones to the newly created position of Chief People and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Officer, demonstrating the association’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
With more than 25 years' experience as a people and culture leader with a diverse background in finance and operations, Jones has served as the champion of the global nonprofit association’s DE&I journey for the last two years. In her new position, she is responsible for ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion principles are infused into every area of business strategy and operations impacting not only the 27 person staff, but the organization’s global network of 12,000 members, 180 Corporate Partners, and more than 750 volunteer leaders.
In 2017, as she shifted from finance and assumed her role as HBA’s HR lead, she was determined to foster bolder DE&I practices not only internally for staff but across the entire HBA community working in pharma, biotech, IT, research, and academia.
While the HBA had been advocating for women for more than 40 years, it was the collective support of HBA’s board, volunteers, and staff that spurred Jones to champion the global nonprofit to be more transparent, accountable, and intentional in supporting women of color and underrepresented groups with equal opportunities for growth and professional development. Today, results speak for themselves.
Her integration of DE&I practices into all HBA operations including products, events, staff, and volunteer (including global board positions) recruitment, and award recognitions has led to notable progress.
- HBA staff has more diverse representation at 36 percent, up from 16 percent in 2018.
- The global volunteer membership developed into a more diverse network comprised of 34 percent greater diversity of race and ethnicity compared to less than 10 percent in 2018.
- HBA’s annual Rising Stars and Luminaries award honorees have become more diverse, up to nearly 40 percent, thanks to Jones’ influence with corporate stakeholders.
“Nikki’s passion for the integration of equitable and inclusive practices pushed the association to an official, more committed, and concentrated effort to support and serve women of color and underestimated populations,” said Amy Crolius, Chief Operating Officer, HBA.
Beyond policies and practices, Jones has built a supportive infrastructure and fostered a culture of inclusivity and belonging. Whether as a mentor for the Women of Color affinity (volunteer) group, or as staff champion, she has created a safe forum for people to discuss difficult issues, brought awareness to biases, and made available a network of resources and training.
Jones’ expertise also provides leadership and guides the critical work of HBA’s Gender Parity Collaborative, the award-winning consortium of healthcare and life sciences companies dedicated to eradicating systemic barriers to accelerate gender parity and diversity. She also serves in an advisory role in the Honoring Opportunities for Partnerships and Equity (HOPE) program—a recently launched accelerated leadership development program for underserved and underrepresented groups. In this new role, Jones is focused on achieving the vision of advancing women into positions of influence and decision-making to improve health equity and outcomes.
Prior to her HBA experience, Jones held management roles at Johnson & Johnson and the former healthcare business of Prudential in the accounting and finance area. She joined the HBA as director of finance in 2009 after re-entering the workforce from a leave to care for her young family. She is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University (HBCU) in North Carolina with a degree in accounting and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) where she earned the Certified HR Professional designation (SHRM-CP) and is in the process of pursuing her Certified Diversity Executive certification slated for October 2022.
The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) is a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to furthering the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare. With representation around the globe, the HBA serves a community of more than 70,000 individuals and nearly 180 corporate partners. The HBA provides networking forums to build relationships; access to industry thought leaders to broaden perspective; educational programs to develop leadership skills; and global recognition of outstanding individuals and companies to promote visibility of their achievements in advancing gender parity in the workplace.