Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) has launched a comprehensive diversity, inclusion and equity initiative designed to ensure that the largest business association in the commonwealth represents the full variety of people and companies driving the state economy.
The effort is being overseen by a committee of the AIM Board of Directors Chaired by Donna Latson-Gittens, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MORE Advertising in Watertown, and Gregory Buscone, Executive Vice President and Senior Commercial Banking Officer at Eastern Bank in Boston.
AIM has already revamped its processes for nominating members of the board of directors, selecting candidates for statewide achievement awards and for assembling public programs. The association recently hired Juliette Mayers, a former executive director of multicultural marketing at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and CEO of Inspiration Zone LLC, as a consultant to help develop a long-term plan for diversity and inclusion.
“Diversity, inclusion and equity are central to the business success
of AIM,” said Daniel Kenary, Founder and CEO of The Harpoon
Brewery in Boston and chair of the AIM Board of Directors.
“Our ability to maintain a vibrant, influential association in the future will depend upon our willingness to seek out the broadest possible pool of people as members, as AIM staff people and as AIM directors.”
AIM has also integrated diversity into its public-policy agenda. The association has recently taken part in negotiations on laws governing pay equity and treatment of pregnant workers, consistent with the association's longstanding commitment to economic growth.
Latson-Gittens and Buscone noted that studies by the consulting firm McKinsey and the Peterson Institute for International Economics show that companies with diverse management generate higher profits than those that are less diverse.
Population demographics also underscore the case for diversity. Government and private statistics show that, for the first time in US history, a majority (50.2 percent) of children under the age of five are classified as being part of a minority ethnic group. The minority working-age portion of the workforce has doubled to 37 percent since 1980.
In addition to Latson-Gittens and Buscone, the Board of Directors committee leading the diversity initiative at AIM includes Kenary; Joanne Hilferty, President and CEO of Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries in Boston; Phyllis Barajas, founder and CEO of Conexion in Boston; Tricia Canavan, President of United Personnel in Springfield; and Brian Burke, Northeast Director of State Government Affairs at Microsoft in Cambridge.
The objectives of the initiative include:
- Increase the diversity of the AIM membership, Board of Directors and staff;
- Strengthen governance and management of the association;
- Expand membership by reflecting the full diversity of the Massachusetts business community and the larger community;
- Enhance the organization’s reputation as the pre-eminent representative of Massachusetts employers on public-policy issues
- Meet the expectations of respected AIM member companies that are already are doing this and expect partners to do the same;
- Recruit and retain the most professional workforce possible, now and in the future.
AIM is a community of 3,500 employers re-imagining a better state of business for Massachusetts.
The association believes that business can be a positive force for change in creating a better, more prosperous world. AIM strives to bring together the best people, the best insights and the best resources to ensure that Massachusetts businesses thrive and create a hopeful future for everyone.
Mayers expects AIM to have a long-term plan for diversity, inclusion and equity later this year.
“AIM is a high-profile organization that has a unique opportunity to take a leadership role in ensuring that everyone has a chance to share in the economic prosperity of Massachusetts,” she said.