Transparent, Accountable and Purposeful: Our Journey Towards Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

By Michelle Shands
Director of Human Resources and Office Services, PCPC

It’s been nearly three years since George Floyd’s senseless murder. Businesses across the nation promised to take meaningful action to combat the systemic inequities and injustices plaguing our society. The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) understands the importance of playing a significant role in creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive (DEI) world. As the director of HR and Office Services and a Black woman working in the trade association sector, I know my voice is critical in advancing my organization’s commitment.

At PCPC, we are intentional and thoughtful about our organizational changes and initiatives, deeply diving into our practices, impact and internal dynamics. We took a good, hard look at ourselves and engaged expert consultants, and DEI and social justice advisors to facilitate challenging conversations with our CEO, staff and Board of Directors. Through organization-wide town hall meetings and one-on-one discussions, we talked, listened and reflected on what we learned.

But we didn’t stop there. We took decisive action to make real change. We are working to ensure our employees have more opportunities for growth and development, enhancing transparency and accountability, aligning our external activities with our organizational and internal DEI goals, and embracing an intentional posture that clearly defines racial justice, equity, diversity and inclusion for PCPC. By remaining focused and purposeful, we have updated leave benefits and refined our recruitment process. And we are are working toward a more transparent approach to salary and promotion decisions and investing in leadership development to ensure our employees are ready to advance – whether at PCPC or other organizations.

Although it hasn’t been easy, we remain steadfast and proud of our hard work. While others may have acted faster, we knew laying a solid foundation was necessary to build lasting change. We have made significant strides but recognize that our work is far from done. We will continually evaluate our internal systems, practices and policies to ensure they align with our DEI goals and course-correct when necessary. Moving forward, we remain committed to listening and learning, even when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient. We know that true progress requires vigilance and willingness to adapt.

It’s not about meeting quotas or checking boxes but building a culture of inclusivity that permeates every aspect of our organization. We are actively working to embed DEI into the fabric of our organizational culture, not just in how we do business but in how we treat each other and our wider community.

I am proud to work for an organization committed to making a real difference. I am grateful for the opportunity to lend my voice to this essential work. The conversation around DEI is long overdue, and while it took a tragedy to spark it, we will not turn back.