Statement from President Karen Donfried on Diversity and Inclusion at GMF
The principles of diversity and inclusion are central to advancing GMF’s mission of strengthening transatlantic cooperation and reflect our core values of integrity, excellence, respect, and inclusivity. Heterogeneity of ideas and backgrounds is a key ingredient in innovation, organizational cohesion, and team performance. As such, our work’s quality and relevance are directly tied to the active effort we put into building both intellectual and demographic diversity.
GMF’s diversity policy, as defined on our website, reflects our deep commitment to cultivating the heterogeneity that makes us strong:
GMF strives to provide an inclusive community comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds in order to promote and maintain an environment of intellectual inquiry and dialogue rich in outlooks and perspectives. We value the depth that diversity brings to our mission, and we are deeply committed to building an environment in which contributions of every employee are accepted and valued. GMF believes that a diverse workforce is crucial to advancing global perspectives. Our commitment to diversity will be reflected in our recruitment, retention, and advancement. Furthermore, GMF strives to connect and engage with diverse program participants and audiences inclusive of individuals of various ages, genders; national origins and races; religions; sexual orientations; and political affiliations; veteran status, as well as individuals with disabilities. GMF is an active member of the Think Tank Diversity Consortium and The Global Access Pipeline and organizes programs to advance diversity and inclusion in the transatlantic space.
At my request, for the past year, a committed group of GMF staff served on a working group to examine diversity and inclusion (D&I) practices in internal operations, as well as in GMF’s programming, and to identify opportunities to achieve more. We gathered qualitative information about our programming, policies, and procedures related to D&I, and we conducted internal demographic surveys of GMF employees.
I am pleased to share with you both the results of this effort and our priorities going forward.
To better understand our staff make-up and identify benchmarks for future assessment, we surveyed GMF’s full-time workforce. Although this data reflects one snapshot in time, it nevertheless points to the organization’s strengths and identifies opportunities for improvement. For example:
- We are an internationally diverse institution, with over 20 different nationalities represented. Approximately 46% of GMF staff are of nationalities other than American.
- Gender representation in our workforce is 58% women and 42% men.
- Women hold 47% of GMF’s management-level positions (Executive Team, Program/Office Directors and Deputy Directors).
- 76% of staff are younger than 45 years old.
- 20% of respondents identified as an ethnicity other than White/Caucasian.
GMF Programming and Policies
We also gathered information on how GMF programs and offices implement D&I-related principles in their day-to-day activities: our audience, content of research and convening, sharing of best practices, and specific policies relating to contracting, grantmaking, and human resources.
This inquiry revealed GMF’s expanding efforts to incorporate diversity and inclusion into its programming. A few notable examples include:
In Paris, GMF’s Leadership Programs established the Inclusive Leadership Hub which studies and advocates for best practices in inclusive leadership. The Hub leads the Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network, an innovative group of young elected leaders in Europe and the United States who work to advance inclusivity in their communities.
In Washington, GMF regularly hosts and supports events such as the Annual Women of Color in Transatlantic Leadership Forum, which brings together over 100 distinguished female leaders of color across all sectors to discuss pressing foreign policy and national security issues, in addition to organizing the participation of young women of color who are building their careers in foreign policy.
GMF’s Leadership Programs coordinates the flagship Marshall Memorial Fellowship, which includes highly diverse cohorts and an active alumni network. In addition, Leadership Programs frequently hosts high-level minority leaders, promotes active inclusive leader networks, and executes the Mission Critical Inclusive Leadership initiative, which provides a leadership development and exchange opportunity for key personnel in the security sector to gain new strategies for cultivating diversity and inclusion.
Human Resources recruitment protocols routinely source and recruit candidates from underrepresented groups, and eliminated salary history as a question in the interview/application process.
GMF staff and fellows are conducting research and analysis on inclusive economic development, civic engagement strategies, and how to better engage civil society to advance D&I-related principles.
Externally, GMF collaborates with organizations – such as Women in International Security (WIIS), which promotes the work of women foreign policy experts, and the Brussels Binder, a resource for improving gender diversity in policy debates – to share lessons and incorporate best practices from others. GMF is an active member in the Think Tank Diversity Consortium and the Global Access Pipeline, two initiatives that work to improve best practices and create pathways for advancement in the sector.
This sampling of GMF activities underscores our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We celebrate these organization-wide efforts, yet recognize the imperative to expand this important work.
To advance our efforts, we have decided to pursue the following steps:
Create a Diversity and Inclusion committee to advise GMF Leadership on best practices and other action items (such as D&I goals – particularly related to integrating American and European perspectives; developing guidelines for external engagement; fostering affinity groups; evaluating employment practices; and improving communications).
Establish a compensation structure for GMF interns, which will derive from a careful study of cross-program needs and the financial requirements associated with such an initiative, as well as a review of similar efforts at peer institutions.
Conduct an annual demographic survey of the entire workforce. The results, to be shared with staff and posted on the GMF website, will be used to both assess our progress and identify areas for further attention.
Conduct diversity training for all staff on an annual basis and a range of topics to both heighten awareness and develop skills with the goal of increasing organizational competency in diversity and inclusion. We aim to involve in-house and external experts in the design and delivery of training programs.
Our diverse workforce is central to GMF’s commitment to fostering an environment of intellectual inquiry and dialogue rich in outlooks and perspectives. I encourage all GMF staff to engage with me and GMF leadership in our focus on diversity and inclusion as we reach for ever higher quality in all aspects of our work.