BIT’s Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award, presented yearly at our Dining in the Dark gala, seeks to recognize, celebrate, and honor an individual or organization’s exceptional commitment to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace.

Diversity and inclusion initiatives are happening all over corporate America, primarily targeting 4 pillars of the minority population:  gender, veterans, LBGTQ and ethnicity. The disabled community, although the largest minority group, is widely being left out of the conversation.

To take on the D and I battle for the disabled community, it takes a compassionate and tenacious person. It requires strategy, patience and gumption to convince all levels of an organization, from the C Suite to HR, to turn a D and I initiative that is inclusive of people with disabilities, from an empty company promise to an embraced and effective culture.

Diana Ferguson is 100% that person. When she joined our Board of Directors in 2016, her first order of business was to inform me that she would be a “roll up your sleeves” type of Director. I almost cried at her declaration. She followed this up by walking the walk.

Diana had those hard conversations within her own organization, Oppenheimer Funds, creating an award-winning program within a historically conservative financial institution. Her influence helped us develop BIT’s model of leading with education for both our employer partners and candidates. She coached me on how to evolve our business to one that can work within the Fortune 100 space.  The manner in which we present BIT to corporations today derived directly from Diana’s guidance.

Nothing I could say or do would express the gratitude I have for Diana’s leadership. It is with much regret to announce Diana will be leaving our Board of Directors.

To honor Diana and her importance to BIT, we will be changing the name of the Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award to the Diana Ferguson Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award.  Diana may no longer be on our Board of Directors, but her contributions will impact BIT forever.

Thank you, Diana.

Mike Hess