Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Weaving DEI into our DNA isn’t just an HR initiative, a leadership initiative, or a DEI team initiative. We’re pulling in our whole CLA family.

We embrace all voices

CLA is building a culture that welcomes different beliefs and perspectives — so we can truly know and help our clients, our communities, and each other.

2022 Transparency Report
Learn how we're moving to act and operate more inclusively in our DEI transparency report

We seek to approach DEI the way we approach our daily work — to weave our initiatives seamlessly into everything we do.

We’ve made progress since our 2021 transparency report, and our desire is to be representative of the communities we serve by providing a diverse, inclusive environment where everyone has equitable opportunity. This will allow us to:

  • Hear the voices of our underrepresented CLA family members
  • Actively learn, listen, and reflect
  • Create a safe place for all
  • Then implement DEI strategies throughout our five focus areas

    Our five DEI focus areas

    Our DEI plan focuses our activity in five areas:

    1. Leadership — We commit to lead by example, building mentorship and sponsorship opportunities, so that our pipelines can be filled with diverse candidates.
    2. Recruiting — Whether on college campuses or hiring experienced professionals, we’re building intentionality into our talent acquisition plans.
    3. Operations — We operate with a lens of inclusion, from our event planning to our policies and our supplier diversity program.
    4. Employee engagement — We foster inclusion and belonging through DEI events, virtual belonging communities, and authentic coaching connections.
    5. Community and client impact — We create opportunities for our CLA family to give time and financial support to DEI initiatives, whether through volunteer paid time off, nominations to our CLA Foundation, or cultivating new client and prospect relationships that reflect the communities we serve.

    Our DEI work engages the entire CLA family, from interns to our leader, Jen Leary, who signed the CEO Action Pledge, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

    Our DEI journey

    We’ve been on our DEI journey since 2014, and in 2022, we invested in an outside assessment of our DEI activity, added nine full-time DEI roles, framed a mentorship and sponsorship program, and hosted our first belonging and inclusion summit. We also expanded our relationship with the National Association of Black Accountants, which included a $1 million dollar grant to seed the Pathways to College program.

    Our DEI activity continues to be informed by the ongoing national conversation on race, which contributed to our 2020 collaborative public statement that reflects our beliefs. Today, every leader and every location is responsible to engage, implement, and maintain a proactive DEI plan.

    Our DEI team

    300+ DEI ambassadors across 120+ locations

    Our full-time DEI team, working directly with firm leaders, guides our efforts, drawing on more than 300 local DEI ambassador voices spread across our 121+ locations.

    We are proud to offer nine virtual belonging communities where our CLA family members can connect and engage with each other. Today, we have more than 2,000 participants (and growing) across these communities.

    Virtual Belonging Communities

    Updated VBC Listing

    Examples of DEI in action

    As we carry out our DEI action plan, our efforts are evident in various new and existing CLA initiatives. 

    Community impact

    Our client and community engagement efforts are designed to unify the work and missions of DEI, the CLA Foundation, our community engagement team, and our client service efforts. This focus area challenges us to live the CLA Promise in a bold way as we work with community leaders to draw upon the wisdom, strength, and initiatives already present in our communities.

    CLA Foundation

    The CLA Foundation joined the CLA family in committing to making “DEI part of our DNA.” To better understand the communities connected through our grants, we worked with past grant recipients to update our application to learn more about demographics, including whom they serve as well as the makeup of the organization’s staff and board. Our grant committee is focused on how grantees represent our core mission of creating career opportunities in the areas of education, employment, and entrepreneurship through connection to diverse networks that are inclusive of all genders, races, Veterans, and the disability community. In 2022, the CLA Foundation granted $1.9 million to connect diverse networks across the country.

    Supplier diversity program

    We encourage all potential suppliers who can competitively meet the diversity requirements to contact us about qualifying for our new supplier diversity program. To learn more about CLA’s commitment to promote a diverse supplier base, visit our supplier diversity program page.