January 28, 2021 – The Hawkins Company, a Los Angeles-based executive recruitment firm, has been chosen to help find a chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the largest city-owned water and electric utility in the nation. Spearheading the assignment is executive vice president Brett Byers.
The chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer is appointed by and reports directly to the general manager and serves as the senior racial equity advisor to the general manager, board of water and power commissioners, and LADWP leadership, said The Hawkins Company. The individual leads the office, is a member of the executive leadership team, and serves as a catalyst to leverage best practices and resources across LADWP to promote and create a thriving culture of equity and inclusion across the entire utility enterprise.
The chief DEI officer will oversee the employee services, supplier diversity, economic and community engagement, groups and the equity metrics data initiative, said the search firm. The office will be resourced with an assistant chief and will oversee a total team of 75 to 100 full-time employees.
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The individual is also responsible for developing, implementing, and providing overall management and direction for LADWP’s DEI functions, programs, and initiatives to ensure that diversity, equity and social justice practices within all divisions, offices, and units within LADWP are operationalized. The position is the expert technical advisor on department-wide matters of diversity, equity, inclusion, and disparities.
A Diversity and Equity Lens
She or he will be expected to collaborate with other senior department leaders and employees to facilitate an organizational culture that institutionalizes the use of a diversity and equity lens to address systemic disparities existing in LADWP’s workforce, contracting, economic development operations, and the delivery of the department services, said The Hawkins Company. The chief DEI officer will also lead LADWP’s approach to effectively engage communities and direct community engagement programs.
The ideal candidate will be an innovative, visionary leader with outstanding people and management skills, said The Hawkins Company. The successful candidate must be a strategic and results-oriented leader with an explicit commitment to, and broad vision for, the role of diversity, equity and inclusion in achieving organizational excellence. She or he must be adept at facilitating difficult discussions, shepherding cultural change, creating, and strengthening partnerships with the community, peer departments and staff, and aligning an array of inclusive efforts across the department.
The successful candidate should also show demonstrated success as a collaborator and relationship builder, with strong interpersonal skills and ability to build collaborative working relationships with a broad range of diverse individuals and groups, including senior executives, to achieve results. He or she also needs a strong track record in managing change with an understanding of the contexts, cultures and politics within institutions that impact the implementation of effective equity change efforts.
Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field from an accredited institution, advanced degree preferred, and at least seven to 10 years of management experience. Knowledge of laws, regulations and guidelines related to diversity, inclusion and nondiscrimination in an organization is also critical. Candidates should have experience working with or in a public or governmental organization serving large complex urban environments as well as experience with public policy development and implementation.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was established more than 100 years ago. LADWP, which has more than 11,000 employees, exists to serve all customers with safe, reliable and cost-effective water and power and currently provides 689,000 water customers and 1.54 million residential electric customers with quality service at competitive prices. In fiscal year 2018-19, LADWP supplied 146 billion gallons of water and had 733,900 active water service connections.
Established in 1984, The Hawkins Company is a management consulting firm specializing in executive recruitment. While recognized for its expertise in diversity recruiting, the firm is a general practitioner that focuses on achieving the executive level staffing objectives of private, public, educational and non-profit clients. Early on, The Hawkins Company focused exclusively on private sector recruiting. Over time, it was requested to conduct searches for government agencies and became nationally recognized for its ability to apply private sector search strategies to meet the recruitment needs of public sector clients. Today, its client base includes educational institutions and non-profit organizations. The firm has conducted over 700 national, regional and local executive searches for CEOs, COOs, CAOs, CFOs and other officers, directors, senior managers and professional staff.
Ms. Byers has over eight years of human resources and recruiting experience. In addition to her executive search consulting experience, she has served as the marketing and communications director for a trade association and worked in management with a large international staffing firm where she partnered with major private sector clients in the media, entertainment, social media, telecommunications, financial services and real estate industries. Ms. Byers has also implemented human capital strategies for executive and managerial level positions to achieve performance targets and exceed growth expectations within new and existing clients.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media