Adiat Baker
Adiat Baker is the Global Diversity Manager at Mintel. Adiat supports diversity, equity and inclusion project implementation globally and assists in promoting Mintel's brand externally as it relates to the DE&I space. Adiat also leads the company's social responsibility group in the US, MintelGives.

I love a great dinner party. One of the things I miss most about pre-pandemic life is attending fabulous dinner parties. I miss them so much that I’ve resorted to watching them on TV as a surrogate for attending them in real life. This weekend, I satisfied my appetite by watching the original 1967 comedy-drama Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, and Katherine Hepburn.

At the time when interracial marriages were illegal in 16 states in the US, a movie about a newly engaged mixed-race couple arriving home to announce their planned union and their sought-after approval from both families over a dinner party was quite groundbreaking. Fast forward 53 years and atrocities against humanity are still occurring, spawning outrage from people all over the globe; begging the questions – how far have we really come in the quest for civil rights and justice for all? How far have we really come when people need approval to just walk into their own homes, sit in their cars, go for a jog, watch birds or just ‘be?’

The passion to fight for justice is even stronger today than it was five decades ago. After George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent events in the spring/summer of 2020, people around the world joined the United States in protest against police brutality and other injustices motivated by racism. Major brands and companies globally reacted by making bold statements and promises to institute new, or ramp up existing, diversity programs.

DE&I: More than a buzzword

The rise of diversity and inclusion has been one of the most transformative cultural trends of the last 10 years. And adding ‘equity’ to the original acronym to create DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) occurred far more recently. Companies that are new to the concept viewed the events of 2020 as a wake-up call and started reaching out to consulting firms to build a framework, creating business cases, and surveying employees to get feedback on how to make their environments more inclusive. And the results are compelling. Companies big and small are reporting that DE&I programs are making their businesses more profitable, more innovative, and better service providers and partners. The immutable fact is that having a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace is simply the right thing to do.

The rise of diversity and inclusion has been one of the most transformative cultural trends of the last 10 years.

What is Mintel doing about it?

This past summer was more than a history lesson or an opportunity to participate in a trending hashtag. It was a call to action; at least it was for me. So when Mintel – a global and diverse organization of individuals from 48 nationalities, speaking 37 languages – announced it was creating a Global Diversity Manager position, I threw my proverbial hat in the ring and answered the call to action. I was pleased with Mintel’s ability to look inward and determine that its claim of being ethnically diverse was no longer enough. The notion that the organization can be even more equitable and inclusive when it comes to talent and company culture, while also enhancing business practices and strategic planning, was heard loud and clear. Furthermore, Mintel’s demonstrated commitment to do so is highly commendable. The role is a great fit for me. I’ve spent the last five years successfully driving charitable initiatives for the company in the US with a DE&I focus to create the most impact in local communities. And I look forward to being the driving force on this new journey as well.

Let’s get to work

My immediate priority is to assist in building the framework for Mintel’s new, global Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). The mission of the ERGs is to provide a safe space for Mintel employees and their allies to find common ground, express their views, gain insight into existing challenges, and counsel senior leadership.

The ERGs will serve as a springboard to tackling other DE&I initiatives in the months and years to come, including:

  • Enhancing our hiring processes
  • Establishing ongoing DE&I training and development at all levels
  • Creating focus groups to identify gaps in Mintel research
  • Increasing partnerships with universities, alumni groups, NPOs, and professional business alliances
  • Benchmarking supplier diversity
  • Growing community outreach and support initiatives through Mintel Gives

Needless to say, the first year will be very active and full of ‘firsts.’

Welcoming everyone to the table

It’s not just about having a seat at the table. It’s also about enjoying the dinner party and leaving feeling like you’re better off than when you arrived.

The principles behind DE&I also apply to my beloved dinner parties: Diversity is crucial when curating the guest list and inviting the guests; inclusion is essential to making your guests feel welcome; and equity is paramount when meeting guests where they are in life and making necessary accommodations for them without making them feel uncomfortable.

Like a good dinner party, Mintel Diversity will ensure that Mintel is inviting an array of people and ideas to the table. We’re ensuring those individuals feel seen, heard, and that they are part of the decision-making process. We are meeting employees, partners, and clients where they are and making accommodations as needed.

It’s not just about having a seat at the table. It’s also about enjoying the dinner party and leaving feeling like you’re better off than when you arrived.