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Haley & Aldrich awards prizes to 45 students for essays on increasing diversity and inclusion

Woman attending a virtual meeting

Burlington, Mass., June 6, 2021 – Haley & Aldrich announced today the completion of its essay contest and virtual workshops focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The contest took place in the spring of 2021 and was open to all current community college and university students. Forty-five students received $1,000 each and were invited to participate in one of three virtual workshops with Haley & Aldrich staff and external anti-racism experts.

To participate in the contest, students submitted essays of up to 500 words in response to the following prompt: “If you were to envision a welcoming, inclusive, and diverse work community, what would it look like? If you were in a position to help Haley & Aldrich make progress, what steps would you take?”

​“We had originally planned for 10 student winners to receive a prize and the opportunity to participate in a single workshop with H&A staff,” said Larry Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer at Haley & Aldrich. “When I saw how many high-quality responses we received, I realized we had an opportunity to expand the program and learn from more thoughtful students who will be our future leaders.” 

Ultimately, Haley & Aldrich chose 45 winning essays and invited the students to one of its three workshops, held on April 10, April 28, and May 15. One of those students, Zain Tirmizi, a Sociology major on the Pre-Med track at the College of the Holy Cross, reflected on his experience: “It was a pleasure to share my perspective and help Haley & Aldrich undergo the dynamic and enduring work of co-creating a welcoming and inclusive work environment for people of all identities and backgrounds. From what I saw in their sessions, everyone at Haley & Aldrich—from the top down—is truly invested in and committed to creating that culture. I’m confident they’ll continue to do this hard, vitally important inclusion work by listening to people from marginalized backgrounds, having tough conversations, and making the necessary mistakes to move forward together towards a brighter future.”

The contest and workshop program support Haley & Aldrich’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Committee goal of creating a culture of diversity, inclusion, and equity to better reflect the communities the firm serves. Melissa Dixon, Melissa McEwen, and Sue Boyle of Haley & Aldrich designed and facilitated the workshops with consultation from anti-racism experts Dr. Abdimalik Buul and Elaine Reodica.

During the workshops, students and staff formed small groups to further develop the ideas the students had proposed in their essays. Several major themes emerged, including:

  • Investing in people
  • Nurturing community
  • Investing in the pipeline
  • Creating an accountability framework
  • Reimagining recruiting

Haley & Aldrich is now working internally to translate these and other workshop learnings into concrete actions that will help the company continue to build the diverse and inclusive work community inspired by the students’ essays.

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