Katharina Cavano l Palladium - May 22 2024
Inspire and Empower: CREED Celebrates Two Year Anniversary

USAID Administrator Samantha Power attends CREED Second Anniversary event. 

The Coalition for Racial and Ethnic Equity in Development (CREED) recently celebrated its second anniversary in Washington, DC.

CREED, which is made up of over 130 large, medium and small for-profit and not-for-profit U.S.-based organisations working in global development, is focused on ensuring that racial and ethnic equity (REE) is front and centre within their organisations and the sector.

In addition to a virtual gathering, there was a standing-room-only crowd in Washington for the event where executive leaders and practitioners gathered to reflect and celebrate the cause. USAID Administrator Samantha Power and senior members of the agency in charge of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) were in attendance and made keynote presentations.

Palladium is both a founding member and on the Board Executive Committee of CREED. Over the last two years, the organisation has worked to build awareness, learning, and community on a peer-to-peer basis to advance REE on the basis of the CREED REE pledge.

Moving forward, CREED’s Learning Committee, led by Palladium’s Global Head of Health and CREED Board Member Farley Cleghorn, is developing communities of practice to share approaches and data driven best practices used by member organisations to advance REE.

“With the relative confusion after the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on DEI in selective higher education institutions and attempts to ban DEI and ESG at many state levels, companies are looking for concrete guidance on how to proceed,” says Cleghorn. “One of CREED’s objectives is to help navigate the confusion and assist members with tools and approaches in a peer-to-peer learning model.”

He adds that CREED has also engaged with USAID to share member organisations’ experiences around how building racial and ethnic equity can build greater inclusion, performance, and impact. “The anniversary celebration was an opportunity for a lot of people working towards the same goals to come together for the first time in the same room and start to move forward in a unified way.”

Founding Member and Cornerstone

Palladium was well represented at the anniversary celebration, with Cleghorn joined by Indira Ahluwalia Palladium Senior Advisor and CREED President and founder, and Afiya Bey, Palladium Senior Manager of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, among others.

Ahluwalia reflects that the anniversary event was a pivotal moment in the REE movement begun by CREED. “Through their participation, USAID leadership and CREED members organisations validated the need and value of REE, and reinforced CREED’s responsibility to continue to share knowledge and tools to advance REE.”

As part of CREED Talks, Bey presented on Palladium’s Career Accelerator, the Washington DC office’s summer internship program, which provides undergraduate students with a summer experiential learning and mentorship opportunity to gain exposure to the international development field and welcome in a broader range of voices to the sector.

It’s a critical part of Palladium’s approach to addressing systemic barriers and access to equitable opportunity, and a cornerstone of CREED’s mission. Bey’s presentation highlighted what differentiates the Accelerator from other corporate internship programs such as the tailored programming for both staff and students as well as the robust mentorship component. “We know that mentoring experiences benefit the mentor and the mentee, and we hope to foster a culture that recognises the value of lived experiences, in addition to professional experiences,” explains Bey.

The presentation generated interest among the event attendees, many of whom were interested in how to expand the model to their own businesses.

As the team looks forward to year three, there will be a push to grow the organisation and ensure its sustainability. “To achieve even more progress, CREED will be progressing through its own maturity model, raising funds, hiring dedicated staff to support members, and continuing to engage at all levels in the sector to make lasting improvements,” adds Cleghorn. In addition, Ricardo Michel, Palladium co-CEO, will be replacing Farley Cleghorn as head of the Learning Committee in July, with assistance from Bey.

“We have much more to do, but the CREED Anniversary event was a powerful reminder of what we are all accomplishing together,” Cleghorn says.