Integrating DEI&B and Workplace Wellness

On May 18, 2023, the Financial Women of San Francisco hosted a panel discussion on Integrating DEI&B and Workplace Wellness, at the Wells Fargo “Penthouse” located in downtown San Francisco.


The event featured a diverse range of expertise from backgrounds in DEI&B, Healthcare and Human Resources which included moderator, Akeisha Johnson (An Inspired Story), who led a notable panel of phenomenal women; Jamie Borromeo, (Doctoral Candidate of St. Mary's College), Ayanna Reed (The San Francisco Foundation), and Dionne Adams, (PG&E).

Panel event

The evening kicked off with an amazing networking happy hour and then immediately followed with Janeth Medina Fernandez, (DEI&B Co-Chair) warmly opening the event and introducing Denise Rigli FWSF’s President, who then introduced Akeisha Johnson the event’s moderator. The panel provided an overall discussion on how many businesses and their leaders see Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging and Health & Wellness as two distinct initiatives, even though they are fundamentally interconnected, and yet they still tend to be underfunded or short-termed and expected to make lasting differences to employees. While they are key to attracting and retaining great employees, countless companies and HR leaders are feeling a sense of urgency around their company’s efforts to do the right thing since most employees feel their DEI&B needs are not being met.

Event image

The event highlighted vast inequities and challenges that employees face, especially for those who are marginalized and feel their wellbeing is undervalued. Even leaders who do genuinely care about DEI&B and employee wellbeing can waste countess resources and squander opportunities for lasting change. But to progress the panel suggested leaders must understand employees’ core DEI&B needs and where alignment is lacking and how they can look at wellbeing as part of their overall corporate strategy.

The following takeaways the panel left and what leaders can do to turn around the tide in a positive way:

  • Engage and understand employee’s human needs
  • Encourage employees to vocalize their needs and the needs of the marginalized around them
  • Enhance current programs and create new ones to address employee needs, including providing accessibility to people to help them do their jobs
  • Ensure equity which then creates equality

Overall, coming together and taking place during Mental Health and Awareness Month, the event was a great success, offering tools resources, and a safe place for difficult conversations. It was also a great setting where attendees could unwind after a busy day and foster new connections with like-minded professionals.   

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