Unsurprisingly, many recent industry studies have shown that companies that have a diverse and inclusive workforce are more successful. As a company that is nationally recognized for inspiring and enabling creativity, we have seen firsthand how different perspectives, ideas and unique points of view can change a piece of art, a person, or a business for the better. Diversity is what fuels creative and innovative products and experiences for our Team Members, customers and Makers and it is what we strive to incorporate throughout our company.

As human resource professionals, we put people first. At Michaels, people are the true heart of our business. We believe that when we take care of our Team Members, positive results will follow. We are passionate about engaging and connecting with Team Members, our Makers and the communities we serve. As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Michaels, responsible for all aspects of the Team Member experience, I have been committed to putting people first and leading with compassion and humanity. In order to do just that, and to create a diverse and inclusive culture where Team Members and our Makers feel appreciated and valued - we need to listen.

In 2019, we launched Michaels Resource Groups. These valued internal groups are voluntary, Team Member–led and raise awareness around diversity and inclusion (D&I). They support our Team Member engagement and development, our Great Place to Work® initiative and ultimately drive business growth. These groups have provided forums for Team Members who share a common identity, and their allies, to raise cultural awareness and support one another in building community and a sense of belonging. The feedback and direction we have received from these grassroots groups, have been invaluable and are the foundation for our long-term D&I strategy.

After reviewing feedback from these Team Members and gathering insight from experts in the Diversity and Inclusion space, we created a robust long-term diversity and inclusion plan that directly tied into our core company strategy. This plan included three main initiatives: establishing an Executive D&I Council, collaborating with an expert, outside third party and working with the Customer Insights team. As a purpose led organization, it is important that we hold ourselves accountable. Purpose, combined with passion, leads naturally to accountability. Again, we took the time to listen. We actively sought out new and different voices, looking at experts in this field. We partnered with an outside company to train our leaders on Conscious Inclusion to help them connect with their own unique strengths and vulnerabilities, embrace those of others and collectively work towards common goals.

Beyond our internal teams and experts in the field, we also wanted to hear from our Makers. We began working with our Customer Insights team where we captured real-time customer feedback from valued customers - our Makers. This gave us insight into their thoughts on our current D&I initiatives and provided a new perspective on our future actions. Lastly, we established an Executive D&I Council. This council is comprised of Officers across the Company that advise and influence decisions on the important D&I matters that affect our Team Members and our Makers, as well as serve as a conduit between the Michaels Resource Groups and the Executive Committee.

As a leadership team we are focused on doing the right thing. We act with integrity and strive to do what is right. We empower our Team Members to lead with kindness and respect in every transaction and every interaction — with each other, our Makers and our vendors. So far, the initial steps that we have taken as a company and leadership team has been vital to the creation of an environment of belonging and to create a place where everyone has a voice and a seat at the table. But we must do more. We will hold ourselves accountable. We will continue to seek out opportunities to bring positivity and creativity to the communities around us. We will listen to our Team Members and our customers, as we seek to do more and do better.