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Corporate interest in DEI has gone up since George Floyd was murdered. Increased attention to racial justice and inequity has led to change. The authors conducted interviews with more than 40 CDOs before and after summer 2020 and identified four major shifts in how they viewed their companies engagement with DEI. The CDOs shared that they were expressing their personal values more than always resorting to the "business case" for diversity. They said that while their organizations had made a lot of promises, leadership often failed to live up to them, and that a lack of strategic commitment and accountability hampered real progress. As a result of this and other challenges, they found that CDOs were more tired than before. The authors argue that organizations need to empower CDOs to drive long-term change not only by offering words of support, but also by investing substantial time and resources into DEI to ensure leaders across the organization are aligned and held accountable for DEI goals.

The murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 elevated global consciousness around DEI to a new level. In the corporate world, employees and customers demanded that companies make a greater commitment to racial justice, and leaders accelerated their efforts to address workplace inequalities. As DEI researchers and a seasoned DEI executive, we saw growing interest in addressing these issues. Does increased attention translate into on-the-ground progress?