By Michele Harris

We know that change comes with time and that true change is more evolution than revolution. As we move towards a more equitable society, it is important that we take moments to remind ourselves of our history and of our progress along the way. That is why celebrations like Black History Month are so critical to our growth. This month is about more than just recognizing the accomplishments of a few, it is a celebration of our awareness and our commitment to long-term and sustained change. 

I’m sure we all applaud our decades of progress both inside and outside of the workplace, but the civil unrests publicized in 2020 re-opened our eyes to the plight of marginalized people and to the continued racial injustice suffered by African Americans and other minorities. The fact that we are able to have thoughtful and heartfelt conversations, however, is a shining light in these periods of darkness. Such times help us to realize that we are not as diversified as we would like. That is why we must continue to evolve, together. We all must commit ourselves toward taking actions and initiatives that enable a diverse, equitable and inclusive corporate environment and lifestyle. Even small steps are steps forward. 

As a professional and prominent principal at Columbus Consulting, I am proud to have a voice that can help to influence positive change. With the joint leadership of other professionals in the organization, we were able to establish a new internal committee to address our company’s commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable environment. We formed a DEI team to develop strategies, visions, and missions to work toward these initiatives. Our journey began by assessing our perceptions, opinions, and attitudes to make change happen. We began to break down barriers and identify gaps. We realize that we wanted to be allies for each other, our colleagues, our clients, and like-minded people in our retail community.

Columbus Consulting is demonstrating its commitment in various ways. Most proudly, the commitment we made towards each other. We have had very enriching conversations about who we are, our cultures, and our humanity. Just by listening to one another, being accountable to each other, and showing up for one another, we realize that we are not that different from each other. 

Through our collective efforts we have established new meaningful goals to help people and to foster growth within our industry. One such goal is the DEI committee’s initiative to educate the next generation of professionals. This goal led us to The Black Retail Action Group (BRAG). BRAG, established in 1970, is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization that prepares and educates professionals, entrepreneurs, and students for executive leadership in retail, fashion, and related industries. Our new relationship with BRAG has not only enabled us to work with highly motivated college students of color for our summer internship program but is enabling us to give scholarships so that other talented college students of color can continue their education in the retail industry. 

Every individual and every organization is on their own evolutionary path to be part of the social solution. And it is in this spirit that I would like to acknowledge their efforts. During Black History Month, let’s look at both our past and our future. Let’s commit to be open-minded and empathetic towards one another. And, above all, let’s lead by example. 

Want to learn more about the Columbus Consulting partnership with BRAG go to   

Connect with one of our experts