On the Dialing-Down of DEI: Understanding the Challenges and Risks to Organizations that Dismantle DEI Initiatives

Date: November 9, 2023
Time: 12:00 PM EST

In recent months, what can be articulated as a retreat in the overwhelming support for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work by organizations across sectors has been observed and documented. Numerous articles in various outlets have underscored the fact that many organizations, whether for-profit or nonprofit, and across different sectors, have engaged in either downplaying, freezing, or doing away completely with DEI initiatives. The observed dialing down or rescinding of DEI initiatives by organizations in the face of headwinds created by coordinated challenges to the effectiveness and importance of this work begs the obvious questions: 

    • Are organizations that are downplaying, freezing, or doing away with their DEI initiatives doing so from a place of fear, 
    • If so, what are they afraid of and why, 
    • Either way, what challenges or risks might organizations face for dialing down DEI, 
    • What can we learn from those organizations that have been engaged in DEI work and have been committed to doing it well before it was fashionable to do so?

Please join Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder, Senior Lecturer, and Gardy Guiteau, Program Director of the DEI Leadership MS program as we host Joanne Vazquez-Kirby, Global DEI Lead and Talent Manager at Skyscanner for an invigorating discussion on these questions and so much more. We will take a global view to discuss and will thus offer and highlight insights from colleagues across localities and industries. We will entertain what it takes to remain inspired and unrelenting in our work to ensure that the spaces and organizations we inhabit are truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive.


Joanne is a global DEI and HR professional with a passion for creating positive change and impact. She is currently the Global DEI Lead at Skyscanner and supports DEI across three regions. Prior to Skyscanner, Joanne was a Director of DEIB at EF Education First (Kids & Teens) based in Shanghai and supported efforts across three regions. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico Joanne has lived and worked in mainland US, China, and now the UK. She’s worked in several industries from Banking, Investment Management, and Education to Tech. Her background is in Talent Acquisition but in 2020 she moved to a People Partner role that eventually led to her first DEI role. Joanne is based in London for work although lives in the West Midlands of England near Birmingham. 

As a global DEI & HR leader, Joanne strives to create more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workspaces to ensure people can bring their authentic selves to work and truly belong. Ms. Vazquez-Kirby is extremely passionate about empowering organizations to fully leverage their DEI strategy and impact with a global mindset.

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