“I want to invest in what our company looks like in the future.” - Kevin Jordan, Director, Diversity and Inclusion at ITW
For Kevin Jordan, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at ITW, these simple words redirected his career journey from accounting to diversity and inclusion strategy. Kevin’s passion for developing and engaging a diverse and inclusive workforce has inspired him to work in a space where business is personal, and the bottom line is measured in our ability to make meaningful connections with each other.
Why the shift in your career from accounting to diversity and inclusion?
Throughout my career, seeing visible role models within the company I work for was important as it demonstrated the opportunities that I might have accessible to me. At the same time, I have had great career experiences; I wanted to share those and have a positive impact on my colleagues’ experiences. I started engaging in Employee Resource Groups and looking for ways to bring people together. My passion for diversity and inclusion grew to a point in my career where I made it known that I wanted to help invest in what the company would look like in the future. Eventually it became my role and I began a new phase in my career focused on diversity recruiting and programming to engage and retain great talent.
What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
So often we start this conversation talking about numbers and representation, but diversity is so much more than that. It’s about who we are as individuals and what we bring to work every day – different experiences, backgrounds, culture … how we see the world. That is what diversity is really all about. As an employer, we have the opportunity to tap into all of that and leverage it for the good of the business, and that’s where inclusion comes in. People feel valued and part of the team, which frees them up to be who they truly are as individuals and fully participate and contribute to their teams and the organization. That’s what we are striving for when we talk about bringing the best of who we are in order to reach our full potential.
How would you describe ITW’s diversity and inclusion journey?
ITW’s diversity and inclusion journey has been very intentional and thoughtful. The Diversity & Inclusion Council (comprised of various ITW leaders) was very thoughtful about how to approach diversity and inclusion, recognizing that what may work for other companies may not work for ITW. At the same time, they recognize that commitment from top leaders is very important in driving progress. We are still early in our journey and have more work to do, but what is clear is that we believe in our people, and all the things that make them unique are what differentiates us as a company.
What is unique about ITW’s diversity and inclusion journey?
What is unique about ITW’s diversity and inclusion journey is identical to what is unique about ITW ... our decentralized and entrepreneurial culture. ITW’s Diversity & Inclusion Framework was established by the D&I Council and is shared with all the ITW businesses who have the flexibility to define what will work in their specific business. They define what the opportunities are and what makes sense for them. The D&I framework is rooted in the belief that there is no “one size fits all” and leaders should customize their approach. We have a very committed executive leadership team who is also very conscious to not dictate what it should look like from the center. People appreciate that. It drives ownership deep into the company where everyone feels involved and engaged.
What is important to know relative to how we think about diversity and inclusion at ITW?
That diversity and inclusion is not about the numbers. It’s about having the best talent. The company has made a serious commitment to diversity and inclusion that is aligned with and part of its enterprise talent strategy because we believe that people are a differentiator. As a company, we are focused on reaching our full potential. As our CEO says, the only way to do that is to position ourselves to leverage the unique skills, experiences and insights of our people in a meaningful way to drive results. To be the best ITW we can be – to reach our full potential – we recognize and celebrate our differences and appreciate what those differences bring to our business.