Citisoft, like many firms across several industries, initially launched a series of diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) efforts on the heels of the social unrest that gripped so many of us in the summer of 2020. While we were certainly proud of the short-term strides that we took as an organization, our leadership team wanted to ensure that the initiatives that we backed had staying power. Given the nature of the “news” cycle and, frankly, human nature to move on to the next thing, we wanted to honor our initial commitments and build on our early accomplishment and programming.
As I reported to our faithful blog readers back in December 2022, we were able to take steps towards formalizing corporate gifting and matching protocols, we developed a volunteering relationship with Junior Achievement, and launched programs focusing on higher education. As it turns out, we were just getting started and any trepidation we may have had specific to continuing down this path and maintaining our momentum has dissipated. We have continued to bring opportunities along DEI-oriented themes that have enriched the firm as an organization, and our staff as individuals.
Looking back over the last 12 months, I continue to be astounded by the contribution of so many within Citisoft that have spent countless hours on our corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) and DEI programming. As I’ve stated in past blogs on these topics, we are still early in our journey and education is paramount as we continue our learnings and strive to make an impact that goes beyond our day-to-day. With that, I’d like to highlight several achievements that we are proud to share as a firm.
Formalization of CSR Steering Committee—we launched a formal CSR Steering Committee in February with several goals, including the identification and prioritization of social responsibility activities, initiatives, and annual goals; the allocation of budget across initiatives and assistance in allocating resources as needed; single point of contact between management and employees engaged on social responsibility initiatives; and maintenance of Citisoft’s Social Responsibility policy
Junior Achievement—we’ve continued our relationship with Junior Achievement, including participation in their second annual Inspire event, a career readiness program and exploration fair for 8th-grade students throughout Greater Boston and beyond. As I write this blog, we have several Citisoft volunteers engaging with students and discussing potential career paths and goals at the event!
Citisoft Scholars Program—we awarded our second Citisoft scholar in June of this year, in partnership with Youth Guidance. As mentioned last year in our recap blog, Citisoft launched a four-year scholarship program in partnership with Youth Guidance Boston and its core programs, Becoming a Man and Working on Womanhood. We will continue to support one additional recipient each academic year.
EMEA Insights Programme—we’ve continued to grow our partnership with Anglia Ruskin University (“ARU”) in the United Kingdom, and this past autumn, members of our UK consulting team wrapped up the final session of the “Fundamentals of Investment Management.” This module is a part of ARU’s Professional Development programme, designed to prepare students for the workplace prior to graduation, and underscores their commitment to greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sector. We had nearly 60 undergraduate and postgraduate students take part in the sessions, and the feedback received from students has been overwhelmingly supportive, with participants citing the module's positive impact on their skillset and the significant value it brought to their CVs.
Citisoft DEI Speaker Series—we expanded our internal speaker series this year with several event themes built around national awareness months, including Black History Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, National Family Caregivers Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, and Women’s History Month. Citisoft was fortunate to bring in prestigious guest speakers tackling a wide diversity of topics geared to educate and raise awareness, while also sprinkling in some fun along the way. Our internally developed virtual Jeopardy game focusing on “Celebrating American Achievements Through an African American Lens” was a particular hit with the staff!
Celebrating diversity through food—Our annual Citisoft summer outing produced our first Citisoft Cookbook, which was designed to embrace the increasingly diverse cultures and backgrounds of our staff through our collective love of food. We received more than 60 recipes covering sweet to savory to everything in between. It was quite the hit, and a labor of love for our staff that painstakingly put it together.
I still think that we are in the beginning stages of our collective journey at Citisoft when it comes to our impact in an industry that has historically struggled with diversity, equity, inclusion, and social responsibility. I am continually grateful for the efforts from our volunteer-led teams for their efforts, their ideas, and their influence both on our organization and society as a whole. I look forward to our next several chapters and more good things to come in 2024.