Throughout his career, Jon Muñoz has held a range of DEI leadership roles at America’s biggest employers such as T Mobile and Hilton. Now, at Booz Allen Hamilton, a global consulting leader that employs 29200 diverse and passionate people, Muñoz has taken on the role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, a title that offers a unique glimpse into the culture of the organization.
The HR Digest recently connected with Jon Muñoz to learn more about his career, initiatives at Booz Allen, and what changes are to come in the post-pandemic world of work.
The HR Digest: You have seen many ups-and-downs in the past years, what experiences inspired him to do better in terms of global diversity initiatives?
Jon Muñoz: I’ve held positions in multicultural marketing, community engagement with diverse nonprofit organizations, corporate social responsibility, and human resources at companies like J.P. Morgan Chase, Sprint, and was most recently vice president of global inclusion and diversity at Hilton. But, after 25-years in the corporate world building diversity, equity, and inclusion-focused programs and initiatives, I wanted to leverage my background and experience in a new industry. I wanted to work with a mature diversity, equity, and inclusion management practice and bring it to the next level.
The HR Digest: What major changes under Diversity and Equity stood out well for Booz Allen since you joined the company?
Jon Muñoz: What attracted me to Booz Allen was its ongoing 20+ year commitment, mission-driven senior leadership team, and reputation in the DEI space. Booz Allen is regularly included in lists such as Forbes’ Best Companies for Diversity (2020 and 2021) and Working Mother’s Top 100 Companies (22 years).
Since arriving just over six months ago, I have been busy networking with leaders firmwide to create awareness and support for the launch of the new DEI Strategy and Action Plan. With the endorsement of the senior leadership team and board of directors, in May we created workstreams in support of the plan’s 4 goals. We’ve also defined metrics and action times for a 3-year strategy so we can ensure we’re moving towards those goals and can truly reach them.
The HR Digest: What DE&I strategies by you have helped Booz Allen add success to the industry?
Jon Muñoz: Most recently, we completed an independent assessment of our DEI management practices. The thorough review gave us insights into our practices and lead to a new DEI Strategy & Action Plan. We’ve set new goals for ourselves to “lead by example by being more transparent and model inclusion; empower employee potential by driving equitable access out outcomes; inspire belonging where all people are seen, heard, valued and cared for; and use its voice to be a force for advancing equity and resilience, and use our capabilities to increase equity in the communities in which its employees live and work.”
I’m eager to work with the Booz Allen leadership team and colleagues firmwide to reach attain these new goals and build on the work that’s already begun.
The HR Digest: How can you tell if you’ve succeeded in convincing executives to bring more diverse talent on board, or if they are simply paying lip service to the idea?
Jon Muñoz: When it comes to success in diversity, equity, and inclusion, I’ve learned the numbers don’t lie. After over 20 years of working on DEI, Booz Allen’s 11-member Board of Directors is 73% minority (gender and ethnicity) and 45% female. Currently, 89% of the Booz Allen leadership team are women or ethnically diverse.
Action leads to results, and those expectations should be set at the top. Any company’s C-suite should discuss DEI set the standard and send the signal – loudly – that diversity is a business imperative. Then they need to be held accountable for that.
It’s also important to create development programs to support different workforce segments. Help them foster mentorships and personal networks, which Booz Allen has created through its five global business resource groups (BRGs). Not only do these BRGs establish important relationships for new hires and mid-career employees, but they’re also ways for talent to see and access role models. Evaluating the workplace culture and benefits will help us become an employer of choice for everyone.
Action leads to results, and those expectations should be set at the top.
The HR Digest: What’s next for Booz Allen?
Jon Muñoz: Many companies like Booz Allen have now added “equity” as a focus area to diversity and inclusion. For me, equity is the understanding that people may need different inputs to succeed. The aspiration for this work is to make Booz Allen an equitable place where anyone can reach their full potential.
The next step for us will be rolling out a comprehensive firmwide DEI approach that broadens Booz Allen’s commitment both internally and externally.
Right now, we’re committed to being transparent and to modeling inclusion. I joined the team as the firm’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer is just one piece of the puzzle. We also stood up a DEI Executive Council to serve as the new governing body for the firm’s DEI mission. The DEI Executive Council will provide oversight of the DEI strategy to ensure transparency with mission evolution and progress, and drive accountability at all levels.
One of the goals of this leadership team is to make Booz Allen a safe space where people feel seen, heard, valued, and cared for across the firm by offering increased opportunities for employees to learn from and engage with each other.
The ultimate external goal is for Booz Allen to become a force for advancing equity and resilience by identifying the biggest challenges and deploying our world-class capabilities to solve them.