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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in ALGA
Last year, the ALGA Board began work considering issues related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in ALGA. Organizations like ALGA thrive on high-performing cultures in which all members feel included and empowered to contribute.
Why did the Board decide to take up DEI issues?
Some board members observed imbalances in ALGA leadership in comparison to the make-up of the membership. In addition, there were a few concerns voiced by members in this regard and about speakers at the conference.
*Is* there an imbalance in ALGA leadership participation and membership?
From an audit standpoint, it is hard to know. ALGA does not collect data on the diversity of individual members, so we cannot determine if the makeup of our leaders or conference speakers reflects the membership. A back-of-the-envelope review suggests an imbalance. For example, in the past ten years more than 90% of board members have been white. Over the past ten years, almost 70% of committee chairs have been men. In an unscientific review of conference speakers since 2010 there have been more (and in some cases significantly more) men speaking than women nearly every year and there is an especially strong predominance of men speaking in general sessions.
So, what has the Board done so far on DEI?
In October 2016, the ALGA Board reviewed a draft DEI statement. It became clear that more information and an expert facilitated discussion would help move us forward.
In January 2017, the Board hired Rhodes Perry of
Rhodes Perry Consulting
to conduct a survey of members and facilitate a strategic planning session with the ALGA Board and committee chairs.
In March, our consultant developed and ALGA shared the Diversity Survey and Climate Assessment. Approximately 250 members responded to the survey. See a summary of the survey results below.
In May, the ALGA Board and committee chairs participated in a strategic planning session that resulted in the
ALGA DEI Implementation Plan
(you must be logged in to see the report) written for us by our consultant. The ALGA Board is still reviewing and finalizing the direction that they want to set for ALGA based on this plan.
At the Board meeting this September the Executive Committee and Communications Liaison were tasked with initiating DEI Committee recruitment.
What were the results of the survey?
A summary of the key findings include:
Only 65% of respondents felt their identities and lived experiences were valued by ALGA and felt encouraged to share feedback with ALGA leadership
41% of respondents asked for more focus on DEI to meet ALGA’s broader strategic goals and 31% wanted to keep the same level of focus, 22% were unsure and 6% asked for less focus
58% of respondents were not clear about the pathway to get more involved with ALGA leadership positions (i.e., Committee and Board participation)
61% of respondents were concerned that there is not a clear DEI strategy
Respondents identified ALGA’s Board as the accountable group within the organization for managing DEI improvements
What does diversity mean to ALGA?
Diversity for ALGA may be broader than the definition generally used. Typical diversity elements include those such as gender, race, ethnicity, and background. As an organization we also include structural diversity elements such as geography, government type, and shop size. All of these characteristics help ALGA make decisions to serve all of its members.
So what is next?
First, the Board is recruiting passionate, experienced members for the DEI Committee. The Board has not finalized the committee work plan, but it will certainly include collaboration with existing committees and ALGA members to:
Work towards ensuring that the Board, committee chairs and members, and other leadership positions generally reflect the makeup of the membership
Develop a DEI education and communication plan for members
Develop a Board-approved DEI strategy that drives positive outcomes across ALGA
Design a methodology to create baseline diversity data against which to measure progress while protecting members’ privacy
Improve on the measures noted above that emerged from the initial survey of the membership
Establish selection protocols to intentionally recruit and develop ALGA members with diverse characteristics into leadership positions
Establish selection protocols to encourage a diverse group of conference speakers
Do you want to be a part of driving DEI change in ALGA?
fill out this application form
for ALGA Board review. You must be a full member of ALGA with current dues. As a group (including the chair), members of the committee should have the following characteristics. Don’t worry about experience if what you primarily bring to the table is the first bullet. It is the most important one. Email
if you have questions or want to discuss further.
Commitment to building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization
Exceptional interpersonal skills, including some experience engaging with and effectively communicating complex DEI concepts to employees or volunteers with diverse values, beliefs, and traditions
Sincere desire to raise awareness, build capacity, and educate members on ALGA’s DEI vision & implementation plan
Experience working as a leaders or staff for organizations committed to cultivating diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments for those that often feel excluded or not valued within a workplace or organization’s dominant culture
Understanding of the role DEI plays as a factor for future organizational growth, relevance, and success
Join us in building on ALGA’s strong foundation of technical skills, audit excellence, professional networking, audit advocacy, and much more!
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