Thought leadership

Achieving Diversity in Executive Search

Achieving Diversity in Executive Search

Our clients often ask how we support diversity goals at the leadership level. The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) defines diversity as, “The collective mixture of differences and similarities that includes, for example, individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences, and behaviors.” Diversity includes such visible traits as skin color, gender, age, physical traits, body size and type. Diversity may also include “invisible” traits such as religion, culture, sexual orientation, marital status, education and habits.  According to data recently published by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), only 15.9 percent of C-suite executives identify as racial minorities.

How do we support diversity in the context of a retained executive search?

At Gallagher, we are intentional about diversity and support our clients at the highest levels of their organizations. We employ a comprehensive and holistic approach to our assessment of candidates’ fit with our clients’ cultures and needs. Our partnership in executive search includes a thorough assessment of our client’s culture, including their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy, the position needs, organizational strategy, and community. The Gallagher search consultant will spend time on the front end of the search getting to know the leadership team and  board. Conversations about culture and approach to achieving diversity are critical. In our initial assessment, we work to understand the client’s DEI strategy and how leaders ensure this mission is embedded into all facets of the people strategy.


Our networking, assessment and presentation of the candidate slate directly mirrors the client’s  current state and what leaders want to achieve. Knowing where the organization is today and where it wants to go allows us to better fill any leadership gaps with the appropriate talent. We urge our clients to take a look at their existing team to see what diversity-related gaps they can fill with the new role. Diversity of thought and perspective supports higher performing teams who challenge each other to think differently, resulting in more creative solutions.

To present a diverse slate, we maintain an active and responsive network of leadership executives who represent diversity of race, gender and age. Through relationships with such organizations as the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, the National Association of Health Services Executives, the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives, and others, we  connect with diverse candidates. Should we encounter barriers during the process, we discuss these with the client so we can make timely changes to our search.

At Gallagher, we are committed to helping clients achieve diversity at the highest levels of their organizations. We are intentional about understanding organizations’ diversity goals and executing an appropriate search strategy that serves overall organizational wellbeing, helping the organization face the future with confidence.

If your organization needs assistance in developing a DEI strategy, we can provide a road map and tools. To begin a conversation, contact Carolyn Galvin, Managing Director, Gallagher MSA Search, (816) 795-1947,, or