The On Community Making Diversity Progress

Jul 1, 2021

The ON community of industry leaders continues to weigh in on their DEI progress as we head into the second part of 2021

Take The Survey Now!

As a values-driven executive search firm, we believe a better experience starts with a more diverse experience. We understand that our role in placing senior executives and board members is an important driver of organizational change. As part of ON Partners’ commitment to building more diverse organizations, we’re actively listening to our community of leaders and executive influencers to understand what actions they are taking, where the challenges are, and how they have progressed in their DEI journey.

We’ve created a brief ongoing community DEI survey. Industry leaders have responded, spanning private and public companies across multiple marketplace sectors including technology, consumer, life sciences, industrial, and private/growth equity. In Part 01 of our report, we shared early findings from our ON community including what was working, what wasn’t, and who our community admired the most for their DEI initiatives and progress.

In this installment, we dig deeper into our communities’ DEI activity and progress, along with sharing an update of our own journey so far in 2021. And, we want to continue to build on these learnings by hearing more from you.

Take The Survey Now!

New Initiatives Underway

When asked to rate their companies’ DEI progress to date, survey respondents gave an average collective score of 3.4 out of 5.0 stars.

Our community understands that a diversity and inclusion statement is barely the first step in working to improve DEI efforts and falls far short of what organizations can do. It is clear from survey responses that a multi-pronged approach that extends far beyond a diversity statement is needed.

One respondent noted, “Progress is about a full sense of participation, representation, opportunity and being respected & understood. It is a constant, continual process which has many layers to it.”

DEI initiatives that respondents indicate are underway in their organizations include:

  • Establishing a DEI council
  • Uncovering personal bias
  • Inclusive leader development/training
  • Creating diverse communities (within larger organizations)
  • Establishing defined recruitment goals
  • Pay equity/financial review
  • Executive mentoring program

Breaking DEI Barriers

Several barriers were identified by respondents as slowing organizations’ diversity efforts:

  • Changing mindset
  • Executive-level focus/priority
  • Dedicated resources
  • Talent pipeline (tech, etc.)/attracting diverse talent
  • Education/changing culture, old practices: Reaching all levels of an organization, including the “frozen middle” (white, male managers), and making them willing to put the effort into shifting actions.
  • Ability to attract women
  • Low turnover

Barriers as described by respondents include:

“Senior leadership in key roles not understanding the importance or not believing we have a problem to solve.”

“COVID has disproportionately affected women in the workforce. Supporting teamwork and collaboration, offering equal growth opportunities, and recruiting diverse candidates are focus areas for reaching diversity, equity and inclusion goals.”

“Employee involvement in decision making as well as development, promotion, selection of diverse leadership.”

“The predetermined notion that skill set should not be the first requirement for a position.”

It is evident from the survey results that organizations still have a long way to go in reaching diversity goals. But recognizing the barriers is a critical part of the journey, and progress is being made.

Recognizing Progress in the ON Community

In 2020, 37% of all executive search assignments ON Partners completed were diverse leadership placements. We are happy to report that in the first half of 2021, 39% of all search engagements we completed were executive diverse placements. While there is still much work to be done, we are proud to collaborate with organizations that are committed to their DEI progress, and here are a few of the new diverse leaders in place in 2021:


Jun Chen, VP Information Technology and Security at Glassdoor

Chen is a senior operating executive with 25+ years of experience delivering IT and cyber security solutions to Fortune 100, highly regulated global brands. She joins Glassdoor from Publicis Groupe, where she was the Deputy CISO and SVP, Cyber Security. Prior to that, Chen spent eleven years at Epsilon, most recently as the SVP of Cyber Security Operations and the Deputy CISO.

DSP Group

Shira Fayans Birenbaum, Board Member at DSP Group

Birenbaum is an established executive, leader, and coach, with a long track record of B2C and B2B, digital transformation, and business growth expertise. She serves as global president of CYMPIRE Ltd., a disruptive cyber simulation platform. Prior to that Birenbaum served as COO and CMO of Microsoft Israel, she had responsibility for all marketing and operational aspects of Microsoft Israel’s daily business, including budget, investments, business programs, analytics, strategy, and their financial aspects and implications.


Andrew Ruiz, Chief Sourcing Officer at BNSF Railway

Ruiz joins BNSF as a seasoned supply chain leader having spent over 18 years at Lockheed Martin, most recently as the Vice President – F-35, Supply Chain Management. At Lockheed, Ruiz was the primary interface between SCM, program management, and customers for supply chain strategies, execution, and performance for F-35.


Pooja Vig, Head of Marketing (NA) at Logitech

Before joining Logitech, Vig spent over seven years at Samsung Electronics where she was most recently the Senior Director of Customer and Channel Marketing (Home Appliances). At Samsung, she held leadership roles in integrated marketing (mobile), category management (consumer electronics), and marketing & sales for LED lighting.

View more diverse executive placements in the 1H of 2021 here. We will continue to let our executive influencer community guide our actions and we’d like to hear where you are in your diversity journey. Take the survey yourself here.

Take The Survey Now!

And for more information on how to build diverse leadership organizations, read ON’s strategic guide of six key considerations when evaluating your own organization’s DEI practices and how to work toward a more diverse and inclusive labor pool.

See our successful, diverse work with extraordinary clients here.

Follow our work, updates, and recent success on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About ON Partners

Since 2006, ON Partners is the only pure-play executive search firm building diverse C-level and board leadership teams. We rebuilt the institution of executive search for the way you work. Our approach includes present partners who engage with their clients from the first brief to the final decision, individually crafted solutions that are unique to each client, and an easier experience all around. Named by Forbes as one of America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms and to the Inc. 500/5000 Lists nine times, ON Partners is consistently ranked among the top 20 retained executive search firms in the U.S.

Untraditional by Choice. Original by Design. Since 2006.

Start your journey with us today.

If you want to create a new path – ON Partners knows how to help you get there.