September 22, 2021 – HARRT’s Faculty Director, Professor Corinne Bendersky facilitated a conversation with Malaika Billups, Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer, The City of Los Angeles, and Ruby Flores, Commander and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) regarding the DEI-driven culture in Los Angeles, the 3rd largest city in the world. Our speakers shared the complexity of operating in the public sector with multiple government regulations while driving culture change and developing comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. The city’s DEI leaders must consider multiple stakeholders including 50,00 employees, approximately 4,000,000 residents, more than 250,000 businesses, and over 50,000,000 visitors annually.
The session focused on L.A.’s evolving journey to align the city’s forty-five very different departments and bureaus such as airports, police, fire, transportation, and public works to name a few. Our speakers provided insights on the importance of planning, collaboration, and accountability in a decentralized organizational structure, the critical role of internal and external communications to gain consensus, the imperative of creating strategic department alignment to build a universal DEI-driven culture, and the challenges of implementing change management initiatives to overcome implementation barriers.