Since becoming an advocate for DE&I in the labor space in 2017, Wen Stenger’s influence has grown by leaps and bounds. “It is a huge passion of mine. As an Air Force veteran and member of the LGBTQ community, I understand the difficulties of missing that feeling of belonging in your personal life and work life,” Stenger says. “My mission is to leave this world better than I found it. Whatever I can do to make sure people don’t experience the stigma and difficulties I’ve had to experience, mission accomplished.”
Five years ago, after noticing contingent workers were being overlooked in DE&I efforts, Stenger developed DE&I reporting for their contingent labor program at Thomson Reuters to go beyond diversity spend and identify gaps in inclusion. “For decades, DE&I efforts focused only on permanent employees, but that missed nearly half of the workforce,” Stenger says.
Last year, after striking out on their own, Stenger was tapped by a client to develop an internal DE&I training program for staff and improve DE&I and mental health resources for contractors, helping the client earn a LinkedIn Diversity Champion award.
The success of that program encouraged Stenger to take their efforts to the next level. In December, they launched Omni Inclusive, a sustainable and inclusive staffing company. “What I am proud of is we are one of less than 20 LGBTQ+ staffing companies in the industry. We were the first in Minnesota,” they said.
In addition to unconscious-bias training and change management for leaders and suppliers, Omni Inclusive trains companies in establishing DE&I programs for contingent labor.
“We focus more on the inclusion and belonging. Diverse people don’t need help being diverse; they are good at it,” Stenger says. “My audience is leaders who prohibit inclusion, whether consciously or unconsciously.” Stenger speaks out in the industry to take a stand for inclusion, holding training and education sessions on site for their clients.
In addition to running Omni Inclusive, Stenger is also involved in a local LGBTQ+ chamber of commerce group called Quorum, which helps provide support for the Twin Cities-based LGBTQ+ community through personal and business education. Stenger also works with local organizations to support the needs of military veterans and help their families to find work.
2022 DE&I Influencers List