As VP of DE&I and social responsibility for the Adecco Group, North America, Bridges Holmes plays a crucial role in the company’s mission to “Make the Future Work for Everyone.” He joined the company in May 2021 to help ensure the contributions of every colleague are valued and that sustainable solutions are supported within the organization, its client relationships and communities it serves.
His work in DE&I began well before the Adecco Group, however. For over a decade, Holmes has held a variety of related roles at organizations including Cox Automotive, CARE USA and MarketSource, where he focused on closing the opportunity gap and fostering career advancement and a sense of belonging for historically excluded communities.
He creates alignment and inclusion among multiple business units and brands. One technique he often refers to is called the Trusted 10, through which you list the 10 people in your innermost circle, write down their identifying characteristics and then examine your list as a whole. How diverse is it? Would the group’s unique backgrounds benefit you and the people around you? Would they benefit from solutions you are working to create? Although these conversations are happening more often, they are still rare in the corporate world, Holmes says. “People expect more from their employers — and, in turn, businesses want more from their partners and client relationships.”
Holmes adds, “Communication is the underpinning of diversity, equity and inclusion — how we communicate [and] interact to bring an environment of inclusivity.” Ironically enough, the pandemic created opportunities with regard to DE&I, he adds, as companies had to find better ways to reach their people. “The virtual environment created a more equal playing field for DE&I teams to operate. Now, we can spread the word faster and a lot more broadly to our employee base.”
Holmes also draws on the power of volunteerism to foster inclusion and belonging. He aims to inspire employees of diverse backgrounds, identities and experiences to play a hands-on role in driving DE&I initiatives. “It is [in] the daily rhythm — where stories are shared — that we build real connections and see we have more in common than we realize,” he says. “That’s when you see the greater good taking shape. The meaningful conversations, the empathy, the differences being embraced, the open minds.”
2023 DE&I Influencers List