B Corps. Diversity and inclusion. What do these two things have in common? They were both identified by Independent Sector as key factors affecting the social sector in the years to come. They are also defining characteristics of TMI Consulting – a management consulting firm and certified B Corps that specifically serves as a diversity and inclusion strategy resource for clients.
We talked with Tiffany Jana, CEO and President of TMI, to ask her a few questions about the company and the B Corps movement:
Tell us about TMI’s mission:
Our mission is to shift the perception from diversity as a liability to diversity as an asset. Our goal is to share why diversity is good for business. We believe cultural competence increases productivity and that diversity of thought yields innovation. We provide strategic planning and leadership development, but specifically in the context of this mission. For example, if a nonprofit organization is in need of assistance with developing a new strategic plan or evaluating their current one with a diversity/inclusion lens in mind, we can make that happen.
Why become a B corps?
I come from a nonprofit background. My co-founder and I have nonprofit hearts, but we were frustrated with the challenges of running one – the restrictions and chasing funding. Becoming a B Corps allowed us to combine our nonprofit values with the economic impact and flexibility of a business.
What were some of challenging aspects of B Corps certification?
TMI’s metrics surpass the median score for other B Corps across all of B Lab’s benchmarks.* Our lower scoring benchmark, Environment, since it’s not a cornerstone of our mission, is an area that there’s not a lot of room for us to make a bigger impact than we currently do. A non-benchmark related challenge would be the constant process of educating people on what we do and how the B Corps certification differentiates us.
What are some successes you’re proud of?
We worked with B Lab for several years on both B Lab’s internal diversity and inclusion strategy and the global B Corp community’s diversity and inclusion strategy. As a result, they now have a dedicated diversity manager and a dedicated diversity council. From Sue Cori, Chief Operating Officer at B Lab: “Diversity and inclusion are core values for B Lab and the B Corps community, and it is sometimes useful to have an external perspective on the ever-changing landscape of diversity research, methodology, and issues facing the United States and the world.”
Also, historically, we’ve never had to source any positions. Talented candidates come to us to express interest in employment all the time – especially Millennials, who are often looking for an opportunity to make an impact. We even created a job for someone who reached out to us; she had completed her Master’s thesis on a challenge we were having. Right now, the only job we’re having to source is for a Sales position, which is new for us.
Lastly, we are on the GSA schedule*, so we are expanding our presence within the federal government. Being on the GSA schedule also makes it much easier for state and local municipalities to accelerate the procurement process because we have already been vetted.
What are your thoughts on the recent tragedy in Orlando? What do you hope our community can learn?
It’s a tragic culmination of a lot of issues. I believe we’re looking at a convergence of challenges that have been inadequately addressed that are coming to a head – mental illness, gun violence, and LGBT issue awareness building. We need to take this opportunity for dialogue – to stop the “othering” and meet each other across differences and learn from each other.
Anything else you would like to share?
My husband and co-founder of TMI, Matthew Freeman, and I have authored a book – “Overcoming Bias: Building Authentic Relationships across Differences” – which is about us failing to see the humanity in each other and how to overcome that. The book releases on November 1st. You can read more about it and pre-order it on Amazon or your favorite book retailer.
*GSA Schedule Contracts, also known as GSA Schedules or Federal Supply Schedules, are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), long-term contracts under the General Services Administration’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program. GSA Schedule Contracts were developed to assist federal employees in purchasing products and services; they contain pre-negotiated prices, delivery terms, warranties, and other terms and conditions which streamline the buying process. – From GSA.FederalSchedules.com
B Corps and Nonprofits
As the B Corps movement grows in popularity, how will the sector compete for talent? How are nonprofits benefiting from B Corps? What do nonprofits have to learn from social impact businesses?
To help answer some of these questions, over the next few weeks, we will be talking to a few local B Corps to learn more about this unique sector and the impact they are making on the greater Richmond community. Check out our first post, which gives an overview of the B Corps movement and the benchmarks.
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