For Immediate Release
Portrait Art: The New D&I Business Tool
Diversity & Inclusion Leaders Giving Office Walls, Boardrooms a Facelift
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Canada — These days, diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a business imperative for companies. A Nova Scotia-based business is offering companies a creative and powerful D&I tool: portrait art.
Portrait art "isn’t really a new business tool," said artist and owner of Great Women Productions, Jo Napier. Portraits have historically "always been used to reflect legacy and values" but, now, women leaders, in particular, are embracing portrait "as a subtle but powerful 'design intervention' they can use to help shift mindsets and battle unconscious bias."
"Diversity leaders are looking beyond their D&I compliance goals... looking for ways to integrate diversity into office cultures on a daily basis. Portraits are a portal to what is possible for employees.
"If the portraits that hang in an office are only of male leaders, what does that say? And how does that impact the employees?”
Companies need to create inclusive-feeling work cultures - or risk losses… in market share, in their pools of candidates, even in profits, said Napier, who is founder of The Great Women Portrait Project.
In today’s hyper-competitive economic environment, organizations must evolve to succeed.
"Companies already use standard business tools – mission statements, logos, annual reports – to communicate their values,” said Napier, who collaborates with her clients, including investment firms, medical schools and government, to create portraits of pioneers. Hanging a portrait of a female pioneer, who accomplished something significant in your professional field - that's a D&I act that organizations can do something, every day, to shift culture and mindsets. It's a subtle, yet powerful, thing to do."
Diversity Training: Does It Change Mindsets?
The data shows diverse, inclusive organizations aren’t just better places to work – they work better - and that an inclusive-feeling work culture is something that is expected today by the new generation of employees.
A 2021 report interviewing D&I leaders (Addressing Diversity and Inclusion: Going Beyond the Benchmark - Workplace Intelligence, Oracle) reveals 70 % of the new generation want to work for a company that reflects a genuine commitment to inclusion.
U.S. corporations spend $8 billion annually on diversity training but the research shows a dearth of evidence as to whether they really work. Work done by behavioural scientists reveals that a key issue centers on whether diversity training actually change mindsets.
Cultures of Inclusion: Attract, and Retain, Top Talent
Corporate leaders often agree that D&I is about four elements: winning in the marketplace; leveraging talent to yield the best performance; creating a high-culture for high-performance talent; and making progress over time, not overnight.
As part of that strategy, companies updating their art have an opportunity to rethink old approaches to what they hang on the walls of offices and boardrooms.
Meanwhile, research by behavioural scientists - as captured in the book What Works: Gender Equality By Design author and Harvard academic Iris Bohnet reveals that easy-to-implement, cost-effective ‘design interventions’ can actually change mindsets. Bohnet says updating the portraits hanging in hallways, offices and boardrooms is a great example of a simple design intervention.
"Fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging among your valued talent base. Portrait art can help do that," says Napier.
Great Women Productions (GWP)
Great Women Productions is a women-owned Canadian business based in Halifax, Nova Scotia that creates portrait art and products which reflect the female face of innovation.
For more information contact:
Jo Napier, Great Women Productions