Chicago’s thriving professional services sector
should better reflect the diversity of our city.
Chicagoland businesses spend billions of dollars with professional services including audit and accounting, advertising and marketing, consulting, financial services, HR services, insurance brokerage, IT consulting, and legal services. Companies often select professional services firms based on prior experiences, high-profile client references or personal networks – dynamics that can inadvertently perpetuate the exclusion of local minority-owned firms. Furthermore, many non-minority providers have not moved swiftly enough to diversify their client service teams.
The Business Diversity in Professional Services initiative, one of two Business Diversity initiatives, calls upon member companies to include local, minority-owned firms in their considered set, and to recognize and try to address the potential unintended biases in their partner selection processes.
In addition, the initiative encourages companies to evaluate national and global non-minority firms based, in part, on the extent to which their leadership, employee base, and service teams are diverse, and the extent to which they are working to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in their corporate cultures and practices.
The University of Chicago and Chicago-based Exelon are widely recognized for among the most comprehensive business diversity programs in their industries, focusing on minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses. Read our brief case studies here (The University of Chicago and Exelon).