Among the recommendations of the team advising newly elected Monroe County Executive Adam Bello: Hire a chief diversity officer.
Diversity was a major theme of the Monroe County Transition Report issued in February 2020. It called for a Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and for a chief diversity officer.
One year later, the structure is in place.
On Feb. 8, Bello announced the appointment of Deanna Kimbrel as the county’s first chief diversity officer. In July he announced the department, which was established by the legislature in October.
Kimbrel’s appointment will have to be confirmed by the Monroe County Legislature. No date for the confirmation was given, but the news release announcing the appointment said Kimbrel will start on Feb. 26.
“It is long past time for our county to challenge the status quo and take committed steps toward dismantling systemic and institutional racism, creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive government and ensuring that we are an inclusive business partner for our community,” Bello said in the news release. “Deanna Kimbrel’s strong background and record of experience will help bring our county to a new and necessary era of equity and inclusion.”
Kimbrel holds a doctorate of management in organizational leadership from University of Phoenix, a master’s degree in communication and business marketing from Rochester Institute of Technology and an undergraduate degree in communications and business from the University at Buffalo.
Kimbrel has more than 15 years of experience in workplace diversity and inclusion. Most recently, she was the director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for technology company Inovalon Holdings Inc.
She is also proprietor of Kimbrel Management Consulting, which provides workplace climate assessments as well as educational programs and workshops to different industries on topics such as organizational culture, leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion. Previously, she served in similar positions with Paychex, Inc. and with Rochester Institute of Technology.
” … Many of us are experiencing some of the most difficult times of our lives, but these hard times will not be in vain as many of the inequities and injustices that exist in our society have been exposed for all to see,” Kimbrel said in the news release. “We can no longer turn a blind eye. Now is the time to ensure we are not only speaking of a community that is diverse, equitable and inclusive but taking the necessary steps to systemically secure a future where there is justice, opportunity, and dignity for all. I look forward to working collaboratively within our community to lead these efforts”.
The Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will lead efforts to diversify the county’s workforce, review contracting and procurement procedures and develop and implement policies and strategies to combat all forms of bias and unequal treatment. The department will seek effective methods and procedures for recruitment, selection, placement and promotion of racial and ethnic minorities, women, veterans, persons who identify as LGBTQ, and persons with disabilities.
The department also will review and monitor county contracting and procurement to ensure all entities doing business with the county are inclusive and diverse, supervise equal opportunity functions, oversee Minority/Women owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) selection procedures, and investigate internal complaints of discrimination, harassment, hostile work environment and unequal treatment.