Get the ball rolling by signaling to leadership that DEI is an important issue for you.

February 27, 2023

4 Min Read
Diversity equity inclusion dei signpost

By Demar Amacker


Zift’s Demar Amacker

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is making big headlines every day, but many workers aren’t seeing that level of attention — or any attention at all — inside the organizations where they work. Other business initiatives may seem to take priority, but you can take steps to put DEI in the spotlight.

While C-Suite buy-in is critical to the success of any DEI initiative, it often starts with employees. The DEI program at my company, for example, was reignited with a grassroots effort. In this blog, I’ll share with you the steps my teammates and I took to gather support from our co-workers and the C-suite. Every organization is different, but perhaps some ways that worked for us will also work for you.

If your C-suite is moving too slowly — or not at all — to advance DEI initiatives, you can get the ball rolling, signaling to leadership that DEI is an important issue for you and jump-starting formal programs.

Why Did We Need a DEI Initiative?

I joined Zift early in the pandemic. At the same time, Black Lives Matter and other large-scale social movements that highlighted discrimination and racism had gained massive attention, sparked by events like the murder of George Floyd. As a person of color, I was deeply affected by these events, so I asked our HR leaders about our DEI plans. My company actually had surveyed employees about DEI and the results indicated that it wasn’t a priority. That didn’t make sense to me, especially with the change in the climate. I felt there must be rising interest in DEI among my peers. So, I decided to find out for myself.

What We Did to Get Co-Worker Buy-In

I reengaged a year-old diversity awareness Slack channel formed after Floyd’s murder. I found there were about 10 people who were especially interested in DEI. We decided to form a diversity committee, made up of a mix of individuals representing various departments and backgrounds. HR team members also joined and supported our committee but let us drive the initiative. Soon after, we started meeting regularly to discuss what we wanted to do as a committee to promote DEI.

Among our early priorities were to:

  • Field a new, more detailed survey to better gauge employees’ interest in DEI.

  • Open a new “diversity awareness” channel on Slack open for anyone to join.

  • Engage the C-suite to get them more involved in DEI initiatives.

What We Did to Get C-Suite Buy-In

At the time, I was the director of RevOps and reported in to Zift CRO Heather Tenuto. I asked her to join the new DEI Committee. She accepted and was invaluable in bridging the gap between the committee and the C-suite, guiding us on the most effective ways to share our ideas with the leadership team.

After several weeks of discussions, our committee crafted a proposal outlining our goals and desires for our DEI initiatives. We wanted to:

  • Roll out comprehensive DEI trainings and pool information on various DEI topics like micro-aggressions and unconscious bias.

  • Create several employee resource groups (ERGs) for different kinds of groups, such as LGBTQ+, working parents, etc.

  • Allocate a dedicated budget for internal DEI training.

  • Rewrite our job descriptions.

  • Revamp our internal and external messaging about DEI.

  • Transition Zift from a bystander to a proactive leader on DEI.

The C-suite reviewed and approved our proposal. With our employees and leadership aligned, we were able to achieve or make substantial progress on every one of these goals. Zift’s leadership team not only supported us through this process but has now integrated DEI as one of the company’s core values.

What We Learned in the Process

Speak up. Some employees were concerned about being the squeaky wheel, causing them to stay quiet on issues that mattered to them. All it took was enough employees to start talking about DEI to help them realize they weren’t alone.

To help start your DEI movement, we strongly recommend seeking collaborators to join your efforts and getting a sponsor from the company’s leadership team. Also, we found immense value in getting thoughts from diverse people. Seek out ideas across genders, races, religions, sexual preferences, abilities and even hierarchies in your organization.

Next Steps

Currently, Zift’s HR team has taken an active role in promoting DEI as one of their top priorities. As a result, we’ve successfully met many of our DEI objectives, including transforming Zift into a more DEI-focused organization and an up-and-coming thought leader in the space.

As with any organization, DEI at Zift is a work in progress. In the future, the company plans to implement more ERGs, like one for working parents, and we want to spotlight cultural awareness around events like Black History Month and Juneteenth.

I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and can’t wait to see where it goes. If my teammates and I can do this, so can you. Need some pointers? I’m happy to chat.


Demar Amacker is senior director of business operations at Zift Solutions, a leading provider of partner relationship management (PRM) and through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) solutions. Amacker was named to Channel Futures’ 2022 DE&I 101 list, which recognizes individuals committed to driving diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within the IT channel.

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