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4/6/2023 By Jonathan Terrell

KCIC has wrapped up our spring recruiting for our 2023 class of incoming consultants. We had acceptances from our summer internship program, from fall recruiting, and now with spring recruiting we have reached our target of 12. We continue to achieve an extraordinarily high acceptance rate — well north of 70% — which I attribute to the very strong self-identity and culture found at KCIC. Three of the 12 will be starting in our Chicago office, marking the first time we have recruited incoming consultants specifically for that office. As usual we targeted excellent universities in the D.C. catchment area (Georgetown, UVA, Johns Hopkins, Howard, etc.) and Northwestern University and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for Chicago.

As pleased as I am with the quality of these highly credentialed young people who will be starting their careers at KCIC, what thrills me to my core is the fact that we have, for the first time, achieved our medium-term goal of exceeding 50% in our definition of diversity hiring.

What am I talking about? Well, to clarify, I am not including gender in the definition of diversity because that would be too easy for KCIC to achieve. We have always been very friendly to female employees, and it has become self-perpetuating. The company is 56% female, including at the executive team level.

I am also not including LGBTQIA identifying employees in the definition, because I am not about to ask the question of our candidates. For many, this may be a very private matter.

As blunt as the definition may be, I am essentially using “non-white” as the definition: black, Asian, Latin, Middle Eastern. By this definition, the new class is 58% non-white — or diverse. Including the new class in the statistics brings the overall percentage for all of KCIC up to 39% from 36%. Not bad!

I personally interview every single candidate before they receive a job offer, and I have done so for the last 21 years. Whenever the candidate outwardly presents as non-white, I make a point of acknowledging their race or ethnicity, personally expressing a strong welcome as the founder of the company and my hope that, if recruited, they will help me make the company more diverse. Interestingly, 100% of the time, the open communication has been welcomed. Given that KCIC is located in cities that are majority non-white, a goal of 50% diversity in the company has always struck me as realistic in the medium term. I am certainly not ashamed of our 36% diversity percentage, but I am not satisfied either. Our 2023 class of consultants moves us towards our goal.

KCIC also recruits into our analyst program, technology group, and administration. All are already diverse or moving in a good direction. Diversity in technology is a nationwide challenge, and black women working in the field is a particular rarity. KCIC is proud to have black and Asian technologists, including a black woman, and we look forward to adding many more.

KCIC is a diversity and inclusion leader in our industry. We have been outspoken in our writing, in leading industry panels, and in having important internal conversations. Becoming a majority female and 36% diverse company did not happen by accident. It was deliberate design. My message to other companies that aspire to diversity is this: good intentions and open-minded attitudes will not get you there. If you want to be a diverse company, you need to take action. Walk the walk.

I have written about this before on the blog, including the actions that KCIC has taken in the past. In brief, my recipe for becoming a diverse company is as follows:

  • Leaders: Start with yourself and undertake a program of self-education and growth around diversity.
  • Leadership Teams: Devote some offsite time to growing, especially learning and accepting that we are all on the spectrum of racism.
  • External Messaging: Ensure that your website and materials proclaim your commitment to diversity in words and images.
  • Make diversity part of ordinary conversation.
  • Engage a series of Lunch & Learn speakers to share and encourage.
  • Deliberate Recruiting: Target at least one HBCU and black/diverse fraternities and sororities.
  • Mentorship: A diverse new class is only the beginning. Diverse recruits may be in particular need of mentorship to achieve their potential.
  • Symbols are Powerful. As a big reader I put copies of books I have read about diversity in the reception area as a symbol to all that enter. Think about what you can do.
  • Proclaim: Find opportunities to write about diversity on blogs/industry forums, join D&I diversity panels. As you become comfortable with the subject, help others become similarly confident.

Change does take a little time to happen, but with the consistent focus on actions like these, it is inevitable.

I have never found a conflict between commercial success and conducting business in a virtuous way according to our KCIC values. On the contrary. Likewise, I am certain that KCIC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has been good for business and good for our brand. It has also been a pleasure, and oftentimes, a lot of fun too.

Welcome to the class of 2023! We are walking the walk and could not be more proud to have you along for the ride.

Jonathan Terrell

About Jonathan Terrell

Jonathan Terrell is the Founder and President of KCIC. He has more than 30 years of international financial services experience with a multi-disciplinary background in accounting, finance and insurance. Prior to founding KCIC in 2002, he worked at Zurich Financial Services, JP Morgan, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

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