May 16, 2019 – To meet the needs of an increasingly diverse society, many organizations have developed executive positions to guide their diversity agendas. Chief diversity officers have responsibility for guiding efforts to conceptualize, define, assess, nurture and cultivate diversity. Duties may include affirmative action and equal employment opportunity, or the constituent needs of minorities, women and other social identity groups.
Surprisingly, just 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies now employ diversity officers. But according to executive search consultants who specialize in recruiting them, there is an intense hunt underway as more and more top companies seek these key C-suite leaders.
Recently, executive search firm Hanold Associates recruited the new head of diversity and inclusion for Raymond James Financial. Pedro Suriel comes to the St. Petersburg, FL-based company from consulting firm Cook Ross. Keri Gavin and Ashley Schiele, both partners, led the assignment for the recruitment firm.
“We’re excited to add a professional with Pedro’s experience and talent to our already robust diversity and inclusion program,” said Chris Aisenbrey, senior vice president, organization and talent development. “As Raymond James continues to grow, ensuring both our businesses and our strategy remain aligned with our cultural imperatives will help ensure we continue to attract the best talent.”
An Inclusion Strategy
Mr. Suriel will report to the vice president of talent. His responsibilities will include building and implementing the firm-wide diversity and inclusion strategy. He will be charged with developing engagement, education and measurement initiatives that support the firm’s objectives in the areas of establishing diverse talent pipelines, having an inclusive work environment and educating the associate workforce.
Additionally, he will partner with the leader of the Financial Advisor Networks (Network for Women Advisors, Black Financial Advisors Network, and the Pride Financial Advisors Network) and chair the diversity and inclusion advisory group.
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Mr. Suriel was managing director of client services for Cook Ross. Prior to that, he served as managing director/partner of Accenture’s diversity and inclusion practices in North America, the culmination of more than 20 years with the firm.
Mr. Suriel has a distinguished track record of giving back to the community and for providing leadership to key D&I organizations, most notably as a director and board of director member of the Hispanic IT Executive Council. He also serves on the board of SCORE Association, a non-profit that provides mentoring services to small businesses. In this capacity he sits on the Change Management Committee and provides guidance to the leadership team on the organization’s efforts in becoming a more inclusive organization.
Raymond James Financial provides private client group, capital markets, asset management, banking and other services to individuals, corporations and municipalities. The company has about 7,800 financial advisors throughout the U.S. Canada and overseas. Its client assets total $785 billion. Since going public in 1983, Raymond James has expanded to serve corporations, institutions and municipalities through significant capital markets, banking and asset management services.
Hanold Associates, based in Evanston, IL, is a boutique search firm specializing in HR officer assignments. Jason Hanold founded the firm in 2010. Its clients include Patagonia, Nike, the NFL, eBay, Cummins, Kohler, REI, Google, Riddell, Fossil, Carnival Corp., the UFC, Blue Apron, Amazon, Under Armor, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, Vail Resorts, Abbott, Biogen, Great Place to Work, Electronic Arts, Godiva, Fiat-Chrysler, Bridgestone, Northwestern University, Heinz, Warburg Pincus, Medtronic, Zurich, Wikipedia, T. Rowe Price and SC Johnson, to name a few. A majority of the firm’s work is conducted on behalf of private equity concerns.
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The chief diversity officer role is gaining traction with organizations around the world. In the wake of a recent controversy, fashion icon Gucci is among those adding the position to its ranks, and pushing hard to address cultural awareness. Let’s go inside the search just awarded to Hanold Associates.
Ms. Gavin focuses on recruiting HR leaders in talent acquisition, organizational development, talent management, operations and total rewards. Her signature strength is said to be her relationship-building skills. She was previously director of host relations and customized training for Ragan Communications. There, she fostered relationships with communications leaders at Fortune 500 companies to secure event partnerships.
With an advanced degree in organizational psychology, Ms. Schiele leverages both organizational dynamics and skill assessment to help identify and recruit key talent. Before joining Hanold Associates, she worked as an account manager/recruiter for Kappa Search, a small technical recruiting firm based in Chicago’s West Loop. In this role, she was a full life-cycle recruiter, developing and maintaining long-term relationships with candidates and clients. Ms. Schiele has recruited candidates across industries and functions including, but not limited to, manufacturing, supply chain, engineering, IT, sales and marketing.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media