Driving Diversity, Equity,
At MassMutual, we believe that companies — and particularly those in financial services — have an important role to play in addressing systems that uphold economic inequities. Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has focused on education, action, and accountability for more than a decade. It is an integral part of our purpose and one of our business imperatives today and looking forward.
In 2021, MassMutual’s key areas of progress included engaging and educating employees, supporting diverse suppliers and championing diverse businesses in our communities. MassMutual CEO Roger Crandall is a signatory of CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ (CEO Action), the largest CEO-driven coalition to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In addition, we currently have six fellows participating in CEO Action for Racial Equity, a fellowship that provides the opportunity for CEO Action signatories to advance racial equity through public policy. CEO Action for Racial Equity has launched a policy agenda and corporate engagement strategies to address systemic racism, social injustice, and ways to improve societal well-being. The fellowship also held an inaugural virtual symposium with thought leaders, including national civil rights advocates and members of academia, in October 2021. CEO Action provides a platform for deepening our engagement on social justice issues and using the collective voice of the business community to impact change.
Our commitment to advancing DEI starts with our employees. We aim to create a workplace where employees from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences are welcomed, valued, and heard. Specifically, we focus on providing transformative education, creating shared accountability for our results, and increasing transparency about the diversity of our workforce. We have incorporated DEI metrics into our annual incentive plans for the past four years.
MassMutual recently became one of the first financial services companies to publish our employee demographics externally. As of 2021, more than 50 percent of MassMutual’s Board of Directors is comprised of women and people of color, making it one of the most diverse groups in the industry and among FORTUNE 500 companies, and well above the benchmark of companies of our size. We believe that a diverse employee base and boardroom are critical to achieving financial success.
Beyond working toward diverse representation, MassMutual stands firmly and acts intentionally against racism and inequity in any form. We continue to educate employees and facilitate candid conversations about race and privilege. With the help of MassMutual’s Business Resource Groups (BRGs), we added learning opportunities for employees covering the impact of systemic racism toward Asian Americans and Latinos, along with a pathway that addresses biases faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Our eight employee-led BRGs are instrumental in nurturing a culture where every employee feels like they belong.
Further creating momentum among employees in support of the Black community, we have a long-term strategy that includes partnerships with schools and colleges to address achievement gaps, intentional relationships with external organizations to advocate for racial equality and justice, and providing access to capital to Black-owned businesses. Internally, this strategy is helping to promote economic empowerment through initiatives with our Black advisors and the customers they serve and increasing representation of Black employees at all levels at MassMutual.
Integrating DEI within our procurement operation helps ensure that MassMutual’s full buying power is leveraged to drive positive change. To that end, in 2021 we announced a $150 million commitment to utilizing underrepresented diverse businesses in our procurement operations. We will hold suppliers accountable through a new, industry-leading framework for assessing and managing suppliers’ DEI performance.
To spearhead these efforts, in 2021 we established a progressive supplier diversity strategy that aligns with our core values and works with our suppliers to ensure their continued investment in DEI within their businesses. We are tapping into nontraditional networks to expand MassMutual’s base of diverse suppliers and holding ourselves and others accountable for engaging diverse businesses and driving positive change.
A vibrant, diverse entrepreneurial environment is the lifeblood of today’s economy, and MassMutual is taking a dual-pronged approach to driving growth and capital for business expansion into financially underserved Black businesses. MassMutual’s Catalyst Fund is investing $50 million to spur job creation and business growth among diverse entrepreneurs in Massachusetts, $25 million of which will go to Black-owned, -founded, or -managed businesses, and $25 million toward investments in Massachusetts-based technology and sustainability-focused companies located outside Boston.
We also announced a new program in partnership with Dartmouth College and Stanford University aimed to help diverse businesses thrive and grow. The program will impact 175 businesses over the next five years through comprehensive education, business planning, and mentorship. Bringing together national leaders in diversity, academia, and financial services, the partnership is taking a holistic approach to address the most pressing issues facing underrepresented diverse businesses today.
Black Wall Street Campaign
2021 marked the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, in which rioters killed hundreds of people and decimated “Black Wall Street,” one of the wealthiest Black communities in the U.S. at the time. In remembrance of this event, MassMutual partnered with The New York Times to create a digital storefront for 100 Black-owned businesses to celebrate and support Black culture and entrepreneurship. Through this purpose-driven campaign, MassMutual and The New York Times transformed ads into acts of economic empowerment for Black-owned businesses. And it worked. This change drove 52,000 site visits to Black-owned businesses’ websites and 18 percent of businesses’ respondents reported tangible results.