Organizations With Crush Worthy DEI Initiatives

· by Mariah Ramirez

Mariah is the Senior Marketing Coordinator at HTI. She joined the HTI team in 2018.
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February is Black History Month and the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Inspired by these two themes of love and honoring Black Americans, HTI’s IDEA group is featuring some of our Diversity Crushes.

Back up – what’s IDEA?

IDEA is HTI’s DEI initiative. IDEA stands for Inclusion Diversity & Equality Alliance. The IDEA group at HTI strives to cultivate an inclusive environment for our employees and every individual we touch. We believe that the success of an individual should rely on the person’s drive and should not be inhibited by their race, religion, culture, sexuality, socioeconomic status, or any other differentiating feature. IDEA strives to make this a reality at HTI through education, programming, assessment, and informed industry/policy reform. We do this because – no matter their background or walk of life – people are our passion.

Ohhh I get it. So, what is a diversity crush?

As a new internal team established last year, we look to inspiration from other, more established D & I initiatives for guidance often. A few members of our IDEA group have selected organizations they admire for their work in Diversity and Inclusion and outlined a few reasons why. Enjoy the collection of spotlights we personally admire below.


In 2015, Pinterest became one of the first companies to set annual public hiring goals. It expanded the universities it recruits from and launched an internship program for freshman and sophomore students from underrepresented backgrounds. Plus, they have every employee participate in training to prevent unconscious bias. On top of that, they created a training and mentorship program for Black software engineers and students.

Pinterest made it a requirement to interview at least one person from an underrepresented background and one female candidate for each open leadership position. In the 2020 annual report, Pinterest said it is making an even stronger effort to increase representation at the leadership level by proactively building relationships with internal and external talent, requiring at least two underrepresented candidates at the final interview for any leadership role, and setting specific leadership hiring goals and metrics. Their DEI initiatives started strong and show no signs of slowing down.

*Disclaimer* This isn’t my #DiversityCrush [only] because I spend tons of time cruising this red app and adding countless Louis and Chanel bags, recipes, fun and learning activities for my kiddos and bomb outfits to my boards…I actually found their approach quite refreshing. Way to go Pinterest!


Automic Gold – an NYC and online-based jewelry company!

They are my diversity crush for so many reasons. First of all, take a quick look at their page and you’ll see that they do not PLAY with representation. They are VERY intentional about hiring diverse models. Also, they have extremely forward-thinking ideas of what marketing yourself as a “diverse” company means. For instance, on their model hiring practices: “We hire size-inclusive, non-cis, and non-white models all year round, not just for awareness months.” It seems revolutionary to see a website where the first image is of a person with both a beard and long, acrylic nails wearing what could be considered “feminine” jewelry. Automic Gold is NOT about perpetuating the “norm” with model representation. Ugh I just love them so much!


Target has led the charge for more diverse and inclusive business practices from everything to sponsoring the Hispanic Heritage Awards, to including a range of diverse models in their advertising, to featuring Black owned businesses on their shelves such as the honey pot. They also debuted an exclusive collection made by and for the Black community for Black History Month.

But the most notable effort, in my humble opinion, is their participation as a founding member of OneTen. It’s a new coalition of 37 companies combining forces to train, hire, and advance 1 million Black Americans over the next decade. OneTen’s mission is to “combine the professional expertise of major employers, non-profits, and skill-credentialing organizations to create more flexible talent pipelines, reduce exclusionary hiring practices, and identify new talent resources.” This is a shining example of extending their DEI initiative into the community. Read more about Target’s overall commitment to advance racial equality here.


At first I was not sure about my diversity crush, but upon doing a little research, I found this article full of things that companies are doing to further their D & I efforts.

My crush is: General Motors!

They pledged $10 million to support organizations that promote racial justice and inclusion including the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Their Diversity and Inclusion report is full of all the steps they are taking towards building a winning culture and increasing their awareness to become leaders in the industry.


My diversity crush is one of our own hiring partners – Michelin.

Their Business Resource Groups (BRGs) are all inclusive and work with an Executive Level sponsor to help employees feel welcome, included, and heard. They are also great opportunities to connect with coworkers outside of your immediate team, which can promote cross training and career growth. There is a BRG for just about everyone:

  • African American Network
  • Asian-Pacific Network
  • Hispanic Network
  • Faith and Beliefs Network
  • LGBT & Allies Network
  • Womens Network
  • Veterans Network
  • New Hire Network
  • Road to Financial Health Network
  • Capable Network

Also their D & I Report provides transparency and highlights how DEI initiatives drive innovation, fosters a more diverse client and supplier pool, and how it effects the bottom line.


My diversity crush is Bank of America!

Here are some things I love about them:

  1. They have a robust Diversity & Inclusion program that is very prominent in their marketing and culture. There is a page dedicated to it on their website under the “Culture” section.
  2. There are positions in the organization that are dedicated solely to the DEI initiative. They have a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in their corporate team, as well as advocates throughout their many locations.
  3. Management is held accountable to certain DEI standards that they are evaluated on as part of their performance review.
  4. They also have a ton of Employee Resource groups.
  5. Their “Courageous Conversations” encourage employees “to have courageous conversations as a way to promote inclusion, understanding and positive action by creating awareness of different experiences and perspectives.”
  6. And in 2020 they made a $1 billion / 4 year commitment to supporting local communities in economic opportunities and initiatives.

What I love about their DEI program is it extends so far beyond their internal workforce. There are programs to support women and employees of color, and efforts made to support veterans and people with disabilities. Groups dedicated to celebrating members of the LGBTQ+ community are represented, too. But they also are dedicated to making a difference in their communities. It extends beyond the walls of BOA. They are truly invested in putting their time, money, and effort into the communities around them. They are very proud of their work in DEI and use it to make a difference outside of the organization.


My company diversity crush is Milliken & Company based here in the upstate.  They have really paved a path to acknowledge, learn, and teach diversity in the company as well as the community.  Milliken is ahead of the game when it comes to addressing challenges, opportunities and more with LGBTQ and adjacent concerns.

Milliken recently sponsored and was a huge part of a virtual forum in December (Out and Equal) – The 2020 Southern States Forum. It was really amazing to participate in!

While textiles were once a huge industry in the upstate, much of the industry has been shipped overseas. Not only has Milliken innovated its brand and products to be a leader in its industry, it has overcome and transformed to become a model of education and implementation in diversity and awareness