Ensuring progress in a culturally responsive organization has always presented various challenges for those dedicated to addressing inequities and underrepresentation. In 2020, those challenges were significantly compounded by the onset of Covid-19 and intensifying race relations due to police brutality. For that reason, LinkedIn LEAD charged Yardstick with the task of creating a unique and robust virtual experience designed to drive diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts during a time of crisis. LinkedIn LEAD is a LinkedIn group dedicated to creating a space for meaningful conversations around the biggest topics in talent acquisition, leadership, and management.
One of the strategies recommended to LinkedIn LEAD was the Jeffersonian Dinner. This dinner’s goal was to engage diverse leaders in a single and communal conversation with the first installation titled, Keeping D&I Momentum During Crisis. Yardstick and LinkedIn worked in partnership to carefully curate a small list of attendees and key speakers to facilitate purposeful dialogue and foster authentic connections across numerous verticals. Yardstick was there to oversee logistics and operations and create a personalized space for thought leaders to engage virtually. Yardstick sent all attendees company-branded swag and mementos before the event. Additionally, participants were provided with a menu consisting of minority-owned restaurants from each region, providing hand-selected dinners and wine to be delivered to their homes on the evening of the event. Through subject matter expertise, adaptability, personalization, and attention to detail, Yardstick helped transform an ordinary speaking engagement into an experiential event designed to inspire, inform, and challenge attendees.