Fulfilling CMB’s Potential as a DEI Organization

CMB’s partnership with YW Boston to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at CMB.


The Challenge

CMB's vision as a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization with shared power, ownership, and belonging

CMB is known for its relentless business decision focus, cutting-edge creativity, and insights innovation. We’re committed to do more to achieve greater diversity of people & perspectives, greater inclusion of power, voice, & organizational culture, and greater equity throughout our policies & practices. In 2020, CMB embarked on a DEI journey with YW Boston in order to help the organization deliver measurable and positive impact for our colleagues, clients, and communities. In 2021, a cohort of 25 CMBers—from a diverse set of roles, experiences, tenure, opinions, and identities—volunteered to participate in the InclusionBoston Dialogues Series. As a result of these dialogues, CMBers created an Action Plan to advance DEI at the organization and formed a coalition of staff to implement this plan.

The Action Plan

  • Foster a culture that encourages all employees to see the importance of DEI to their personal success and the success of CMB
  • Create opportunities for people to explore, unpack, and engage in conversations on various interpersonal dynamics, beliefs, and thoughts that shape racialized experiences for processing, healing, and reflection
  • Make CMB a place where employees can bring their entire selves to work and celebrate our differences
  • Evaluate current practices and procedures with a DEI lens and address areas for growth
  • Develop an equity impact assessment tool to guide organizational planning and decision-making. Strengthen transparency in the process through a communication plan
  • Uplift DEI in decision making

Throughout their involvement in the InclusionBoston program, CMB leveraged their expertise and turned the lens inward. Along the way, CMBers faced their own expectations of perfectionism, and persistently took action on their various goals even when the outcome was unclear - embracing the iterative nature of any DEI journey. CMB’s decision to engage in this process reveals their adaptability and appreciation for multiple markers of success. Their work paid off with new Affinity Groups, emerging structures for continued DEI work, and staff perceptions of their leadership as more actively, more publicly, and more precisely advancing inclusion.

Rebecca Booth-Fox

InclusionBoston Manager

We are optimistic that the changes we’ve made over the last 24 months—and will continue to make—will positively impact our culture both in the moment, but in the future with the culmination of many micro-changes. While we may not see the impact associated with each and every change in the moment, the cumulative impact of this work will ensure a more promising future for all CMBers.

Heather Magaw

VP, People & Culture at CMB

View next slide.

The Results

The power of Qual + Quant to raise the voice of CMBers and achieve greater equity

CMBers formed three working groups, to implement their Action Plan, and the InclusionBoston staff checked in with CMB quarterly to support their progress. Throughout the partnership, CMB cohort members took pulse surveys, which illuminated trends and shifts in their attitudes and behaviors, and their perspectives of CMB.

Through regular meetings and consistent communication, CMB:

  • Embedded a DEI lens into every company-wide decision (ex: 15% racial equity pledge within Foundation for Charitable Giving, enhanced parental leave, marketing, DEI training, increased communication (blogs, weekly updates, Teams channel, anonymous feedback box), evaluation of clients’ and prospects’ DEI commitments, and more)
  • Increased openness to new and sometimes tough conversations, which has helped to strengthen trust and accountability among our peers
  • Created a company-wide DEI tracker program to establish a baseline for DEI measures, and track progress on key metrics, including two pulse surveys and regular presentation of results and progress to CMB leadership and staff
  • Established 5 identity-based affinity groups—Asian, Hispanic/Latinx, LGBTQIA+, POC, Multifaith—and an AG Steering Committee to provide support and oversight; a Parents group was added in 2022
  • Audited CMB’s policies, practices, and procedures through focus groups and 1:1 interviews—including training & development, performance management, compensation, employee recognition, recruiting & hiring, and onboarding & retention—and used those insights to enact change in real-time (ex: increased transparency on topics CMBers weren’t familiar with, expanded job skills training inclusive of more learning styles and preferences, improved internal feedback loops, and more)

Making an Impact

There is real change behind the data. Let us show the impact.

90% of CMBers say they feel like they belong
91% of CMBers say they can bring their whole selves to work
96% of CMBers say that people work well together at CMB
91% of CMBers say that people trust one another at CMB

Changed Perceptions of Administrative Efforts

Changed Perceptions of Administrative Efforts

One of the most noticeable shifts was in the cohort’s perceptions of administrative efforts. The image below illustrates a few examples of the cohort’s perceptions of CMB’s administrative efforts. Those perceptions shifted over the course of the 13-month partnership. For example, employees perceived efforts to be more public and less private over time.

Our Commitment

Our partnership with YW Boston has ended, but the work doesn’t stop here

CMB continues to grow the DEI committee to include other CMBers who express interest in the initiative, and to engage with our industry to share our knowledge and uplift one another, such as CMB’s involvement in the Insights Association’s IDEA Council and the IDEAtor Fellowship Program. We have a vision for a more dynamic future with a stronger workforce that’s as representative of the cultures and communities in which we live and work as our insights.

CMB's vision:

  • Become the employer of choice as a premier insights and strategy consultancy
  • Give back to organizations doing important work through our professional engagement, personal time, and financial support
  • Fuse the power of human intelligence and technology to help our clients engage, innovate, and grow—which can only be improved with a diverse set of voices and skills being heard and valued at our company

Our People

Meet the CMBers bringing our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to life.

Caitlin Dailey AVP, Account Management

Casey Mohan VP, Qualitative Insights & Strategy

Christelle Kamaliza Sr. Insights Consultant

Colleen DaSilva Ryan Sr. Marketing Manager

Emily Wisner Insights Consultant

Erin Rea Senior Insights Consultant

Francesca Kulzer Insights Director

Heather Magaw VP, People & Culture

About the Client

YWCA Boston is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

YW Boston is systematically working for social, racial and gender equity. Specifically, we are working to increase access to better health, make neighborhoods safer for everyone, and close the educational achievement gap. YW Boston works across divides, bringing together women and men, adults and youth, communities, and companies. Learn more here.

It's the YOU Factor

Bring your entire selves to work. We like it that way.

At CMB, we celebrate diversity, support equity, and foster inclusion to help our clients, team members, and community partners deliver exceptional impact. We believe DEI drives innovation, so we’re building a culture where difference is valued. We’re committed to finding more intentional ways to grow in our understanding and support of others so that our employees are comfortable bringing their whole selves to work every day. Learn more about DEI at CMB here.