Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

At the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are a top priority.  That's why we have an entire office dedicated to advance this important area of corporate governance and society.

We celebrate the differences that make each North Carolinian, Commerce employee, culture, region, community, industry and business unique, and are committed to prioritizing DEI in everything we do – from employee relations to business practices, to collaborations and partnerships within the economic and workforce development community. Our goal is to lead by example in cultivating an environment – and state – where all people feel valued, respected, and safe to bring their whole self to work. North Carolina’s economy should be one that works for all people of this great state.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion have become buzzwords in the corporate world and beyond. But what does DEI really mean? And why is it important?

  • Diversity refers to the presence of differing elements such as race, culture, gender, gender identity, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical value systems, national origin, etc.
  • Equity ensures everyone is on a level playing field, or in other words, has access to the same treatment, opportunities, and advancement. Equity recognizes that each person’s experiences and needs are different and aims to identify and eliminate barriers that prevent the full participation of certain groups. 
  • Inclusion is actively supporting and embracing diversity in a way that clearly shows all individuals are valued, recognized, and accepted for who they are. Inclusion refers to how people with different identities feel as part of the larger group. Inclusion does not naturally result from diversity; you can have a diverse team of talent BUT that doesn’t mean that everyone feels welcome or valued.

Within today’s business environment, diversity, equity, and inclusion are key elements for economic growth:

  • High-profile companies and Fortune 500’s have long utilized inclusive workplace policies as proven recruitment and retention tools.
  • Diversity and inclusion practices enhance employer reputation, increase productivity and overall job satisfaction, and boost employee morale.
  • Businesses actively consider local laws and policies when making decisions about where to headquarter, relocate, or expand.
  • Businesses are becoming increasingly vocal in their support for laws and policies that protect all of their employees and their families – whether at home, in the workplace, or in their communities.
  • Companies are looking to our public officials to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all residents while encouraging real economic growth that benefits everyone.

DEI is both a moral and a business concern; it is not just the right thing to do, it is also economically advantageous.

Relevant DEI Statistics

Relevant DEI Statistics

Did you know...

  • 67 percent of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering  employment opportunities, and more than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity. (Glassdoor, 2014)
  • 83 percent of all millennials are more likely to be actively engaged if they believe their company stimulates a diverse and inclusive culture. (Deloitte Millennial Survey, 2018)
  • Highly inclusive companies see 1.4 times more revenue, are 1.7 times more innovative, and notice 2.3 times more cash flow per employee. (Gartner, 2018)

According to McKinsey’s 2019 study, Diversity Wins, which analyzed performance data from 15 countries and over 1,000 companies: 

  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21% in 2017 and 15% in 2014.
  • Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed those in the fourth by 36% in profitability, slightly up from 33% in 2017 and 35% in 2014 .

As these statistics illustrate, prioritizing DEI translates to increased revenue, innovation, employee retention, and job satisfaction. And companies who fail to support DEI consistently underperform and may consequently fall behind. Now is the time for systemic change. As the private sector becomes more competitive by the day, and the country’s population demographics continue to evolve, don’t be left behind. Learn how your company can strengthen DEI in the workplace and take steps toward greater social and economic success.

DEI Office Staff Contacts

DEI Office Staff Contacts

For more information on how you can implement good DEI practices in your company, please contact one of our DEI Office team members.

Betty Marrow-Taylor
Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Officer | Biography

Catherine Rivera
DEI Program Analyst

Mose Dorsey
Compliance Officer

Lorraine Dulin
EEO Officer

DEI and the State Strategic Plan for Economic Development (the First in Talent Plan)

DEI and the State Strategic Plan for Economic Development (the First in Talent Plan)

The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion — and Commerce overall — look forward to working with partners, both public and private, to achieve goals outlined within the state’s new First in Talent Economic Development Strategic Plan.

Equity is a key factor in job creation, workforce development and our state’s post-pandemic recovery. Together, we’ll work to ensure all North Carolinians reap the benefits of new investments and structural improvements. Collaborating with our partners statewide, we aim to improve the social determinants of health, like economic stability, environment, healthcare, and education, that may help or hinder an individual’s pathways to economic prosperity, as well as “…bolster a robust small business recovery, inclusive of opportunities for new entrepreneurs and women-and-minority owned firms,” which is one of the strategies identified in the First in Talent plan to prepare North Carolina businesses for success.


Additional DEI Resources

Additional DEI Resources

Upcoming Holidays, Events, and Celebrations

Upcoming Holidays, Events, and Celebrations

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day – January 17th

A federal holiday in the United States marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year. Born in 1929, King's actual birthday is January 15 (which in 1929 fell on a Tuesday). Learn more about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. here


  • Black History Month – February

An annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. History. The 2022 Theme for Black History Month is “Black Health and Wellness.” Learn about the origins of Black History Month here.


  • Lunar New Year – February 1st

Also known as the “Spring Festival” or “Chinese New Year.” One of the most sacred of all traditional Asian holidays, a time of family reunion and celebration. A festival typically celebrated in China and other Asian countries that begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, 15 days later. This year marks the Year of the Tiger. Learn more about the Lunar New Year here.


  • International Day of Women and Girls in Science – February 11th 

The day recognizes the critical role women and girls play in science and technology. Learn more about the International Day of Women and Girls in Science here.


  • NAACP Day – February 12th

Celebrates the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on February 12th, 1909. This organization is the oldest active civil rights group in the United States. Read more about the NAACP here.


  • International Mother Language Day – February 21st

Established by the United Nations to recognize that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion. Learn more about International Mother Language Day here.