Photo of woman wearing glasses and bright yellow shirt in front of yellow-painted background. @thevoncomplex

As a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consultancy, we’ve experienced the full spectrum in 2020. When the pandemic hit, like many companies, we feared the worst and immediately saw a decrease in interest, commitment, and search for our services.

But just as suddenly, the death of George Floyd, amplified by the tireless work of generations of organizers and the BLM movement, sparked a renewed focus on racial justice that suddenly caused companies to reinvest. Overnight, our inboxes became flooded with demand, unlike anything we’d ever seen before.

In the weeks following racial justice protests all over the world, some orgs…


Four white men are gathered in a modern office space planning together. Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash.

There’s a lot of frenetic energy right now.

A pandemic, followed by a global racial justice uprising, has accelerated the demand for change on almost every level: individually, institutionally, and structurally.

Below, we’ve answered the top 3 DEI concerns that our partners at AllVoices(an employee feedback platform) have heard from many companies in this challenging moment.

But first…

A lot of us are feeling the intense need to quickly “jump into action” right now after such an intense collective awakening.

So, we wanted to take a quick moment to remind ourselves that, while taking action can be a good thing, we often…


Photo of a woman reading by a window. Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. For more resources on how to spread awareness or support managing mental illness, check out NAMI.

In the immediate aftermath of shelter-in-place orders being put into place around the country, including in NYC where I live, I thought I was going to break. After five days of sitting in my apartment alone, I felt my naturally high baseline anxiety levels begin to rise at an alarming rate.

After spending nearly two decades living with and managing a mental illness– namely intense periods of depression and anxiety that left me hospitalized numerous times in my…


Young woman bags groceries while wearing a mask. Courtesy of The Temple News.

Amidst COVID-19, the number one question I keep getting asked is, in my opinion, an odd one. Clients and friends alike have inquired with emotions ranging from curiosity to concern, “During a pandemic, does DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) even still matter?”

For my concerned family and friends, what they mean is, “Is your company going to go under?” To which I respond, “Dear God, I hope not.” 😣 But for people and DEI leaders, many of whom have had to fight tooth and nail for their DEI budgets in even stable times, what they mean is…

“How do I…


As a DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) consultant, I’ve sat in dozens of offices around the country observing everything in the culture that is said and done.

With most of my clients based in NY or California, the leaders I work with tend to be quite progressive, and, like many forward-thinkers, most of them avow they want to make sure their cultures are inclusive of, “all people.” Their commitment to this work is admirable and obvious.

But in turbulent political times, I’ve watched them try to find their footing and voice when it comes to where they — and their…


Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

For the last decade, before launching Collective, I worked in and around the tech world, and the one thing I learned, is that the tech industry loves data, particularly the quantitative type.

It makes sense. After all, we are a bunch of nerds; folks who geek out on A/B testing, optimization, and algorithm analysis.

So it’s no big surprise that when the tech industry decided it was time to get serious about diversity and inclusion, they were immediately drawn to the (false) sense of security provided by focusing on data analysis and metrics.

Quickly, we saw companies like Google and…

Kellie Wagner

Founder & CEO @ Collective | Writer | Champion for Inclusion & Diversity in the Workplace and Mental Health Awareness

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store