G is for Growth

A Bridge to Growth

May 2, 2024

Spring is my favorite time of the year. Here in San Diego, the rainy season winds down, the temperatures start to go up, and our blue skies get even bluer. It's also the busiest and most exciting season for all of us at BRIDGE. In April, we celebrated our second anniversary as the only independent, action-oriented, purpose-driven DEI trade group for the global marketing industry. And, from May 5 to May 7, we're hosting our second annual retreat, BRIDGE24, a one-of-a-kind gathering for the brightest minds in DEI, marketing, and business inclusion. (The retreat has sold out. For those unable to attend, stay tuned to our LinkedIn page.)

The BRIDGE24 agenda has been curated specifically for Chief Diversity Officers, CMOs, CEOs, and other senior leaders focused on implementing inclusion into the DNA of their businesses. Here's an example of why: For 61% of Black consumers, 87% of consumers who identify as nonbinary, and 38% of white consumers, perceived inclusion played a primary role in purchase decisions. In addition, according to the University of Georgia's Selig Center for Economic Growth, the buying power for Black, Asian American, Indigenous, and Hispanic consumers grew to a collective $5 trillion in 2021. DEI is inarguably a critical marketing tool, and inclusion is good for business. We believe in this so deeply that it's our brand byline.

While I can't wait to learn from and be inspired by our brilliant presenters and panelists of DEI experts, marketing innovators, and business leaders at the retreat, I'm sharply aware of the gathering clouds across our community. DEI programs and practitioners are under fire across the country, the targets of a relentless conservative push to turn back the clock on hard-won progress. For example, In 2023 alone, the far right introduced 65 bills in 25 states and Congress to limit diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. Personally, I've been the recipient of a growing stream of hate mail because of my work, and I know I'm not the only one.

So, in this season of renewal, as we catch our collective breath in this urgent cultural and political moment, I'd like to re-introduce you to our young but mighty organization. Some of you might not know that BRIDGE is an acronym, six words that span the true meaning and impact of DEI and, like a bridge, connects the imperative of inclusion to business profitability. Here's what BRIDGE means to me:

  • Belonging — Belonging is a feeling of connectedness anchored in a culture of support, inclusion, acceptance, and psychological safety.
  • Representation — Representation is an accounting of diversity as it compares to the community in which the organization operates and serves.
  • Inclusion — Inclusion is the deliberate integration of individuals and the appreciation and respect for who they truly are as valued contributors.
  • Diversity — Diversity is the difference in who we are, how we self-identify, what we believe, and how we experience the world.
  • Growth — Growth is the inevitable result when inclusion is intentionally prioritized throughout a company's policies, processes, and practices, unlocking new market opportunities and increasing profitability.
  • Equity — Equity is the acknowledgment of barriers and the deliberate rebalancing of access and exposure for historically excluded individuals.

BRIDGE is more than our name. It's a mindset, a framework for an approach, our north star. Let's together reaffirm DEI as the positive force for business, for inclusion, and growth, and as the cultural keystone that it is. Together, we can do this. It's time and we are stronger together!

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