Botello believes that investing internal resources in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives can have a big effect on business operations at the micro and macro level.
“I think our industry will be committed to this effort, not just because of social justice movements, but because it’s the right thing to do and there’s a business case for diversity and inclusion,” Botello said. “I strongly believe that more equitable teams create additional value for both customers and businesses.”
While establishing and maintaining an inclusive work culture that benefits a company and its employees can sometimes be arduous, he said, “it has proven to be a worthwhile endeavor.
“Here at Marsh, we seek to create that environment,” Botello said. “And obviously, it’s not perfect, and we’re not looking for perfection. We know that sometimes we will be wrong, but what we want is for people to feel that they should not be afraid of being wrong.
For Botello, DE&I is about “learning and being brave”.
“Marsh and McLennan has been around for 150 years, but it is our responsibility to shape progress for the next century,” Botello said.
Create a balanced workplace
The insurance arena has historically been a male-dominated space that can be intimidating to enter, especially for women. The lack of professional women in all areas of a company, especially in executive-level positions, can deter potential talent who don’t anticipate upward mobility.
“We need to focus on representation at the top level to make sure it’s effecting change from the top down,” Botello said. “We also need to provide training to colleagues so they can better understand what their biases are to really drive equity and inclusion in processes like recruiting and promotion.”
There is also the question of how to make working for an insurance company seem attractive to women and ultimately attract them to the field.
“We certainly face stiff competition from other professions that seem more attractive, whether it’s teaching, engineering or economics,” Botello said. “You never really hear about a young woman aspiring to be an insurance professional at a young age, and that’s something we really need to address to create meaningful change.”
Extension programs are one option to show how a career in this field can be rewarding and challenging with real opportunities for growth. It is also imperative that, in a time of COVID-related career changes and more favorable remote jobs, a company really needs to impart a sense of value to its employees that they might be looking elsewhere.
“I think it’s fascinating to explore this topic in depth to find meaningful solutions,” Botello said.
Reflecting on memorable initiatives
Botello has been called to use his position as a DE&I specialist to create substantive change and opportunity for people who may feel underserved by professional industries. While systemic issues abound for various BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ people, as well as women, Botello is proud of her involvement in helping address and rectify these longstanding injustices in any way she can.
Throughout her time at Marsh & McLennan, Botello is very proud of her involvement in her ‘Leading the change‘ initiative. Created in 2020, the company committed $5 million over three years to support select organizations advocating for greater equality for the Black community and double the impact for colleagues who donate to racial justice organizations through a double match program.
“We also set out concrete actions to advance racial justice, including establishing a global network of black colleagues and a racial advisory council,” he said.
One of the organizations they supported was Gideon’s Promise, which is committed to transforming the criminal justice system by creating a movement of public defenders to bring equal justice to underserved communities.
“The funds we are providing are used to support a program called PIPED, which stands for Public Interest Professionals Expanding Diversity,” Botello said. “It was designed to help build stronger relationships between the legal system and underserved communities, while also awarding scholarships to public defenders.”
“This is one of the main challenges of American criminal justice. [system],” she added. “There is a lot of work and few well-prepared public defenders. So we are trying to fix that through this partnership.”
The company has also supported the Better Chance initiative, which connects middle and high school students with opportunities that help them gain placement at competitive educational institutions.
“The funds we provide will directly help more than 2,000 students a year, establishing vital career platforms while connecting them with employers seeking more diverse talent and seeking to advance equity in our communities,” Botello said. “I believe supporting our communities through life’s various challenges is more important than ever, which will then foster responsible business structures to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are available to all.”
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