The HBA's DE&I Journey | HBA

The HBA's DE&I Journey

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are the foundation of the HBA’s existing organizational values, our culture, and respect for all people and their ideas and identities. Our greatest strength lies in our understanding of the diverse range of stakeholders we are honored to represent.

With seismic shifts in our world at large exposing racial, gender, economic and health inequities, our mission to advance the careers of women—particularly women underrepresented in our industry—has become even more critical. This renewed sense of purpose has inspired our community to push for impactful progress further, and faster.

The HBA’s long history of advocating for equity established the foundation for the more intentional and strategic DE&I journey we initiated in 2021. Now on the path to building a more inclusive and welcoming community, the HBA has committed to greater accountability and a promise to speak up, show up and be present for all women in our industry.

We invite you to join us on the journey.


The HBA has been advocating for gender parity in the workplace for 45 years. We have cultivated a reputation for making a significant impact through our vast global reach, expansive corporate partner network, and dedicated volunteer leadership.

As an early industry champion of McKinsey and’s “Women in the Workplace” study, we saw firsthand data showing the advancement of women but saw the glaring reality that it was not equitable for all women. With this insight, the HBA committed to embark on a course of intentional actions critical to truly realize measurable change for women of color—learn about our path to date in Our Journey section.



Since launching our DE&I Journey, the HBA has implemented strategies and executed changes to evolve the representation of our community. From our Global Board of Directors and various volunteer committees to our central staff, our United Force for Change is now comprised of more diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This shift has also guided the creation of new offerings, programs, and initiatives that accommodate the feedback, requests, and needs of our members and stakeholders. Our plan is iterative and fluid as we solicit feedback and integrate needs from our key stakeholders—yes, that means YOU.



How can you join us in this journey?

We are so glad you asked. Share your feedback about how the HBA can best support you and/or your company to be a change-agent for a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable HBA community.
While finite challenges may persist, we are inspired by working together to build a future abundant with infinite hope.  



Thus far, in 2022, HBA’s commitment is delivering impactful outcomes. With a newly appointed Chief of People & Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer integrating DE&I values and practices into all HBA operations including products, events, staff, and volunteer (including global board positions) recruitment, and award recognitions, we proudly share 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 Star and Luminary award honorees have become more diverse, up to 33 percent, compared to just 19 percent in 2019.

In 2021, the HBA continued to foster greater awareness, accountability and transparency to inform policies, initiatives and offerings for our community. Our global network responded with enthusiastic support hosting more than 40 events related to diversity, equity and inclusion and the Women of Color affinity group grew to more than 300 members. Investing in equitable program and leadership opportunities, the HBA launched the first-ever Women of Color Wellness Summit as part of its Annual Conference. A new program Honoring Opportunities for Partnerships and Equity (HOPE) also rolled out bringing together women of diverse backgrounds to support each other through a mentorship journey.

In 2020, we created a more intentional and thoughtful plan that resulted in our current DE&I Journey. We embraced the wave of passionate engagement from our volunteer community and gathered candid insights from members. Leveraging virtual platforms across the association, a number of impactful awareness and education events—more than 25 from June through December—challenged us to transparently share in uncomfortable but necessary conversations around racial inequities and how to be advocates, allies and accomplices.

In 2019, we created an executive steering committee to discuss issues of advancement related to women of color and the role of the HBA to influence change. The 2019 Annual Conference also welcomed the launch of the HBA Women of Color affinity group—a stellar network of committed volunteers providing space of belonging for members identifying with the women of color experience and allies and advocates. 

In 2018, the Gender Parity Collaborative was formed, now comprised of 16 companies, committed to working to eradicate systemic barriers to women’s career advancement. The Collaborative has been convening powerful solution summits centered around the disparities for women of color – specifically Black and Latinx women. Member companies are making significant strides on gender parity and DE&I impact.


  • Dedicated DE&I training for staff and key volunteer leaders to ensure process, programming and people
  • Actively building a DE&I Council to guide our work and create accountability for delivering on our goals
  • Developing/Influencing programs across the association to ensure content, speakers and panels best represent our members and are inclusive (Woman of the Year, Annual Conference, local events, etc.)
  • Intentional focus on broadening awareness of other cultures and identities through celebrations of key months (i.e., Asian and Pacific Islander Awareness Month, Pride Month, Juneteenth, Hispanic Heritage Month, etc.)
  • Actively creating sponsorship opportunities for companies to highlight their commitment to DE&I
  • Seeking opportunities to be more vocal and taking a stance on issues of workplace and social inequity that do not align with our organizational values
  • Nominating committee work is underway to identify upcoming leadership openings on the board of directors with a dedicated focus on DE&I
  • Feedback solicited from our advisory board on how to maximize our voice as an established industry leader to initiate bold change in the DE&I space

The 2021-2023 high level plan includes a multi-faceted approach to allocate efforts across the HBA enterprise to achieve maximum impact in a coordinated fashion. To execute on the full spectrum of DE&I, we will review and modify our policies, practices and program offerings as an association using the framework of intersectionality to identify and address inequities created when race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, generation, sexual orientation, ability, linguistic, professional, and other social and economic differences are used as a basis for discrimination and privilege.

Our approach leverages our staff, volunteer leadership, and Collaborative companies and includes associated metrics to measure progress. Key goals for our inaugural journey year 2021 focuses on the McKinsey data to accelerate women of color advancement:

  • Build global brand awareness as a credible source on DE&I including gender and racial equity (website, social media, thought leadership articles, other visibility opportunities)
  • Increase the equitable representation of women of color across the HBA enterprise (board, advisory board, global volunteer leadership, membership, staff, speakers, vendors, suppliers, awards and recognition)
  • Increase impactful offerings for companies to support women of color talent, create opportunities for greater visibility of women of color and underrepresented top talent
  • Initiate dialogue with potential alliance organizations and institutions for key partnerships to accelerate talent pipeline impact and to leverage reputable programming platforms



Watch the playlist below to hear HBA's volunteer leaders discuss DE&I issues:


Your voice as a member of the HBA community is important. As part of our ongoing DE&I initiatives we want to hear from our members regarding workplace equity and inclusion. Share your thoughts here.

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