The Diversity Mindset: Thinking Outside the (Check) Box

Recruiting for diversity is not about checking a box. We see it as a strategic, forward-looking solution that positively affects culture, competitiveness, and innovation.

With today’s highly competitive talent pool, recruiters need to expand their reach and look beyond the obvious. Only then can they find future diverse talent—diverse in terms of gender, race, and orientation as well as in background. Any of these can be a potent force for driving a recruitment strategy that yields far better results for an organization and its needs.

Our approach is to recruit diversity without recruiting for diversity. Being open-minded leads to the best candidates, who often bring something different to the table. Previously, that “something different” might have caused them to be overlooked—yet it is the very thing a company needs. We recognize when diverse candidates have demonstrated the skills for advancement and are ready for broader responsibilities. 

We purposefully try to meet the diverse talent and leaders of tomorrow. Because the world is constantly changing, companies need different kinds of talent—and we, in turn, have altered the way we find that talent.

We constantly challenge ourselves to ask different questions: Who’s the overlooked up-and-coming talent? Who has not been given a shot but is ready now? What other diverse leaders and networks can we tap for referrals?

Obviously, no one wants to be put in a box. The landscape demands that we expand our mindsets. Truly understanding a client’s needs reveals new approaches and solutions.

Adding diversity at the top levels of an organization has a cascading effect that generates more diversity.

During the last two years, we recruited four women CEOs without a mandate, with stellar results for our clients. One client needed a leader with clinical development and regulatory experience. We brought in a woman who was an incredibly strong Chief Development Officer, known in her field and industry for her technical skills as well as for her mentorship abilities. This hire caused a chain reaction: Her reputation as a strong leader and coach helped attract other diverse talent to the organization. The company welcomed the diversity and provided an environment that nurtured it.

For another company, we met a woman who had not been in the C-suite, yet she had a strategic mindset and phenomenal skills based on her international commercial roles. The client needed someone who could lead the group through a strategic reset. Our candidate had done just that. Now she is a great fit as their CEO.

At Catalyst Advisors, we do this for our clients and walk the walk ourselves. We were both promoted to partner recently, and our backgrounds could not be more different. Amy spent 25 years with global executive recruitment firms, rising from researcher to partner, while Borjana joined Catalyst Advisors three years ago and quickly learned the recruiting industry after 15 years in pharma. Avoiding the obvious and focusing on the right skill sets is the catalyst all companies need for success.

The Diversity Mindset: Thinking Outside the (Check) Box
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