Why a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program is Critical to a Company’s Culture

Coffee Talk Carolynn Tonie (3)

Since last May’s protests over the death of George Floyd, companies nationwide have put a bigger emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Corporate leaders have begun investing in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work now more than ever, and are implementing policies that create equity and foster inclusion for underrepresented minorities.

Regardless of what beliefs you may personally hold, in today’s society as leaders, we must all find ways to create inclusive environments for our staff and leadership so that the workplace we come to each day is the workplace that we actually want to come to.

NTC recognizes that, in order to be successful, a company is made up of individuals with a diverse mix of qualities, experiences, and work styles that tend to have available a richer set of ideas, perspectives, and approaches to a business. This is why we make every effort to make sure each employee within NTC feels welcomed, respected, supported and valued as a team member.

Over the last year, Nationwide Title Clearing has dedicated full-time staff to implement new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs and initiatives. We are committed to continuing our research, education, and incorporation of these efforts long-term.

New Key DE&I Programs

NTC’s commitment to diversity includes multiple partnerships with community and national organizations such as: Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay, Tampa Pride (LGBTQ+), Big Brother Big Sisters, NAACP, and more. The partnerships allow us an opportunity to involve our staff to be a part of these organizations by attending events, donation drives, and community outreach initiatives to give back

We have found over the years that by managing and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, improves company morale and positivity in our workplace. Our company strives to ensure everyone feels validated and important regardless of their gender, race, background, and differences.

Key benefits we’ve found from these programs include, boost in company morale, positive reviews on employee websites, and an overall increase in staff signing up for community outreach events offered by the company.

In 2019, NTC had an incredible number of employees come together to support one another by marching in the LGBTQ+ Pride parade that our company-sponsored. We had employees form a small committee to help manage the event and allowed them to promote to staff within the opportunity. Overall, the introduction of LGBTQ+ events and support from our company created a positive impact on our company morale. We have signed up for a second year and will have a larger presence at this year’s PRIDE events.

Another key program that we have sponsored for years is helping inner-city and underprivileged youth from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay. Each Christmas our employees have the opportunity to shop for a child’s “Wish List” that is wrapped and given to the children the week of Christmas. We also give our staff the opportunity to volunteer at the Christmas event that is always a very heartwarming and impactful event. This has been a very special initiative that many of our staff look forward to in participating every year. This July 2021, we will be holding a school supply drive where our staff can donate and volunteer at the Back-to-School celebration event held at a Boys and Girls Club in the inner city of Tampa Bay.

Recruiting Diverse Talent

When it comes to recruiting diverse talent; NTC utilizes many different methods of obtaining diverse applicants, including job boards, local schools, job fairs, and employee referrals. At NTC, we strive to make all of our new team members feel included. On the very first day, new team members are given a personal tour by the Employee Engagement Manager. They are introduced to everyone in Human Resources, the training room staff, as well as their management team.  We let our new team members know from the beginning how important they are to us and how grateful we are they’ve decided to embark on their career journey with NTC. We let everyone know that we have our open-door policy, and about their ability to talk to any member of the leadership team, including the CEO, John Hillman, should they choose to. We empower not just our new team members, but all of our employees to give us what I refer to as courageous feedback. 

Monthly DE&I Efforts Year-round

We have highlighted additional DE&I efforts we have implemented to improve our company culture:

  • DE&I Corner in the company newsletter “NTC People”

In February 2021  we started a new feature in our company newsletter “D&I Corner” Where we highlight different aspects of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

During February, Black History Month, we provided insight on the origins of the month and highlighted some of the most influential Black Americans in US History.

In the March issue of NTC People, in honor of Women’s History Month, we highlighted important women in history, and our very own, female Executive of the Year, Tonie Popovich.

  • Implemented new protocols on CEO statements addressing social injustice issues in our Nation (Example: CEO Statement Re: Black Lives Matter and George Floyd)

The CEO plays an important role in promoting diversity in our company. He should be the first to react and set an example for the rest of your company’s employees when it comes to embracing workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion

  • Built a media center of monthly PowerPoint presentations and TED Talks – that are shared with NTC Executives and Management. DE&I Topics include:
  • Managing in a Multigenerational Workplace 
  • Creating a diverse slate of company candidates and staff
  • Mellody Hobson: Color blind or color brave? | TED Talk
  • Discussing racial stereotypes and racial discrimination
  • 3 ways to combat gender bias in the workplace
  • Implicit and Unconscious Bias

Ongoing Education

  • Our VP of HR and Public Relations team enrolled in the University of South Florida’s ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate Program’ and received countless hours of education and resources that have been very instrumental in building DE&I efforts in our programs.

In conclusion, the idea of approaching a conversation about race and racism may give you some serious pause. Many of us have been firmly instructed that race has no place in the workplace. Managers and leaders have an important role in establishing psychological safety for their employees and there is a place and need for these conversations and efforts. Our leadership at NTC has taken the pledge to manage that discomfort and do the work needed to serve our teams and ensure we are offering a diverse and equitable company.

About the Authors:

Carolynn Smith-Jones is the CEO of Seven Marketing + PR, a national firm based in Tampa, FL. Jones has closely collaborated with senior management of Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc. (NTC).



Tonie Popovich

Tonie Popovich is the VP of Human Resources at Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc.



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