Through diversity and inclusion education, Marisol Hughes works tirelessly to create an environment where employees feel a true sense of belonging and acceptance. Today, she is EVP and general counsel and chief diversity officer for WilsonHCG.
Hughes’ commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, or DEIB, began long before this professional role. As a Latina working mother raising two boys in a multicultural household, race is always top of mind. “Every time we leave the house or turn on the TV, it’s there,” she explains. “It’s in your mind and present, for better or for worse.” Her lived experience enables her to empathize and collaborate with both protected classes and allies on a meaningful and personal level.
Recently, Hughes worked alongside CEO John Wilson to create a program called BRITE: Belonging, Respect, Inclusion, Togetherness and Equity, through which Hughes launched several new employee belonging groups, run by employees for employees, where they can share stories and find support and allyship. Each group has an executive sponsor and gets a designated budget to carry out activities and drive initiatives as they please.
Hughes’ proudest accomplishment is the environment she’s helped foster at WilsonHCG, though getting there is not always easy or comfortable. “It’s more than educating people on race and sexual orientation and lifestyle choices,” Hughes says. “It’s taking those next steps into confronting and uncovering things like unconscious bias, those ‘everybody has them, but what do we do about it?’ kind of conversations.”
With Wilson’s support and Hughes’ guidance, the leadership team at WilsonHCG prioritizes DEIB. Hughes advises staffing providers to shed the fear of taking “too strong of a stance” in this area, allow employees to come up with what they want, and support them wholeheartedly. “If your CEO and your executive team aren’t shouting from the rooftops in support of this stuff, it’s not really going to trickle down,” Hughes concludes.
2021 DE&I Influencers List