Bain & Company launches a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion council

27 August 2020 4 min. read
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Bain & Company has taken a big step against inequality, appointing three senior leaders to manage a range of new dedicated diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Bain was one of many consulting firms to announce concrete plans for fighting discrimination back in June, when the death of George Floyd sparked a worldwide campaign against racism.

At the time, Bain & Company – a global strategy consulting firm – laid out a seven-point plan to fight inequality, a key part of which was to “be more aggressive in our agenda around diversity, equity, and inclusion, including launching a global diversity council; and diversifying our leadership team.” Also on the agenda was the establishment of a Racial Equity & Social Justice pillar within the firm’s Social Impact practice.

These promises are now being fulfilled, led by Maria Gordian, Julie Coffman and Jon Barfield.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council

Gordian will lead the firm’s newly appointed Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Council, which has the threefold aim of improving Bain’s reputation as an employer; helping clients incorporate DEI in their boardroom agendas; and leading community initiatives to fight systemic racism.

Maria Gordian, Julie Coffman and Jon Barfield - Bain & Company

A partner at Bain’s New York office, Gordian has been at the firm for more than a decade. She has prior experience with diversity initiatives, having helmed two key groups within Bain – Blacks at Bain (BABs) and Latinos at Bain (LATBA). Gordian is a member of the firm’s Healthcare Private Equity practice, and has experience with developing growth strategies and honing in on high impact improvement areas.

DEI practice area

Also part of the new drive is a new DEI practice, established to help Bain’s large network of clients further their own inclusivity agendas. The new division is also tasked with making sure all of Bain’s own practices take into account DEI considerations.

Leading the DEI practice is Julie Coffman, a partner in Bain’s Chicago office. Coffman has been with the consulting firm for nearly three decades, and currently leads Bain’s Global Women’s Leadership Council – aimed at driving more female representation in Bain leadership. Alongside managing the DEI practice, Coffman will also run training programmes with Bain’s workforce to instill principles of inclusivity.

Racial Equity & Social Justice pillar

Bain’s Social Impact practice now has a Racial Equity & Social Justice (RE&SJ) pillar, which will channel $100 million into pro bono work for organizations working on racial equity and social justice. The practice will also match up to $1 million in employee donations. Each of these initiatives were on Bain’s seven point agenda published in June.

Leading the pillar is Jon Barfield – a partner in New York and a leader of the firm’s Healthcare and Private Equity practices. He is also a key member of the BABs group alongside Gordian. Barfield will lead the RE&SJ pillar’s collaboration with sister organization Bridgespan to support social impact initiatives that promote equity. The pillar has already got its first client – Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, which is working towards enabling Black and Brown entrepreneurship in Brooklyn.

Just the start

So Bain has made significant headway on its inclusivity plans. According to Bain’s Worldwide Managing Partner Manny Maceda, this is just the beginning.

“These appointments are an early step in what will be Bain's ongoing journey in pursuit of a more just and equitable world. We've spent the past few months engaging in candid, and at times difficult, conversations with many of our employees and clients. And we've uncovered opportunities to raise the bar for our business, our clients and our communities. Maria, Julie, and Jon bring the right mix of passion and expertise to guide our teams in achieving these bold ambitions,” he said.

Across the board, the consulting world has been quick in its response to the global call for racial equity. Other firms have made similar leadership appointments to drive diversity practices, amid broader initiatives to fight discrimination.