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A retrospective of our Diversity & Inclusion Committee

By Lauryn August 22, 2022

It has been two years since The Advocator Group (now operating as Brown & Brown Absence Services Group) committed to fostering a culture of equality, respect, and opportunity by launching the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee. Founded against a backdrop of considerable unrest and uncertainty, the Committee formally launched in August 2020. Contending with a burgeoning pandemic, economic turmoil, and a racial justice crisis, we firmly established our path forward. We recognized, along with many other organizations, that discussions around diversity, respect, and equity were not just critical to have at the dinner table but also around the conference table. We were proud to launch our efforts alongside those of our parent company, Brown & Brown Insurance, as they launched their company-wide commitment to Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging.

Purposeful implementations
In the latter half of 2020, we implemented meaningful changes to our recruiting and retention processes, including structured interviews for candidates, multicultural partnerships to recruit candidates, and a wide range of flexibility in our positions. Our refocused strategies have provided our teammates the opportunity to prioritize their whole life, both personally and professionally. Our teammates are the most important part of our business, and we put considerable effort into supporting them inside and outside the office. We believe onboarding new teammates with complimentary cultural mindsets is integral to this process. Since broadening our recruiting efforts, we have hired teammates across the United States without the worry of being restricted to a physical office. We continue to expand our efforts, looking deeply at candidate pools that provide platforms for those often overlooked, including disabled individuals, mothers returning to the workforce, veterans, pre-retirees, and recent graduates.

Meaningful programming
Since its initiation, our Diversity & Inclusion Committee has produced hundreds of pieces of content sharing both history and thought-provoking ideas that challenge and widen our views on race, heritage, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and more. The Committee has also steered teammates toward music, movies, books, podcasts, and more that provide exposure to people and experiences of all types to help us better understand and appreciate our similarities and differences. What has been particularly meaningful are the opportunities to engage in safe and open dialogue about our world, how we are experiencing it, and how we want to change it. It is not always easy to self-reflect and subsequently narrate your experiences, but the Diversity & Inclusion Committee has provided safe spaces to do just that.

Recognizing the importance of togetherness, the Committee is also responsible for sponsoring the first in-office event since the beginning of the pandemic. Earlier this year, in July 2022, events for International Friendship Day were simultaneously held in each of our offices with a virtual gathering for teammates unable to attend in person.

Looking to the future – a note from our CEO, Mike Shunney
“The movement toward a more diverse and inclusive organization is never done. While we most certainly still have work to do, I am proud of the accomplishments of our organization thus far. I expect much more going forward – from myself, the Committee, and our team as a whole. I hope you will all join me, whether you are a part of Brown & Brown Absence or not, on this journey by getting involved, supporting efforts for equity, and empowering and amplifying often quieted voices.”

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