what is a CDO and Do You Need One? By Julie Rupenski, President & CEO, MedBest

Today, organizations in every industry are trying to implement new ways to shift their hiring practices and utilize untapped and diversified talent.  Enter the Chief Diversity Officer or CDO

Since the many nationwide protests we've recently experienced and the call for social justice, employers have promised to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion at their organizations.  As a result, many are suddenly searching, both internally and externally, for their first CDO.  While the position of CDO is not new, it is now gaining ground and much attention. 

According to Hunt Scanlon, diverse organizations have 19 percent higher revenue and according to Harvard Business Review, are 70 percent more likely to capture a new market. In fact, the CDO role has become so important that the LeadingAge Annual Meeting Virtual Experience included diversity, equity, and inclusive sessions. 

What exactly are the duties of a CDO? 

  • Develop, manage, and support diversity and inclusion strategies
  • Identify new diversity programs or initiatives 
  • Workforce recruitment and development and compliance
  • Address employee complaints related to discrimination and harassment
  • Training and collaboration between departments and leadership teams
  • Develop or support change and culture management initiatives
  • Address issues facing specific demographic populations

What traits should you look for in a CDO? 

  • Strong Leadership
  • Ability to Build Strategic Relationships & Partnerships
  • Cross Cultural Sensitivity
  • Long-Term Vision
  • Business Acumen
  • Experience in Management 
  • Results Driven
  • Team Oriented

Where does this role fit in? 

The CDO must have a seat at the senior leadership table if you want to see meaningful change.  The CDO should report directly to your CEO or to the head of Human Resources. They will also have a close partnership with Legal and the Communications department.

What credentials should a CDO have? 

According to for CDO positions should have a master's degree in Human Resource Management or one of the social sciences and anywhere from 5-10 years of experience. Some organizations may require applicants to hold a doctorate in one of these fields.

What is the average salary of a CDO? 

Becoming a change agent as the CDO can be a very satisfying career. Plus, the salary is very attractive. Per, CDO's can earn $225,000 in 2020 which is comparable to the average of C-Suite salaries.

Chief Diversity Officers are on the rise in the US and the growth is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.  CDOs help to create an atmosphere in your organization where all people feel welcome and valued. Their goal is to ensure that employees of all backgrounds and beliefs are able to come together for the common purpose of seeing your organization succeed. 


MedBest is a national Executive Search Firm exclusive to the Senior Living Industry established in 2001.  We recruit and acquire exceptional senior care talent, permanent and interim executives, for all types of Senior Living Organizations and Communities across the US including Assisted Living, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Independent Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing Facilities.

Ask us about our Interim Talent Solutions including: Interim Executive Director, Interim Nursing Home Administrator, Interim Director of Nursing, and Interim MDS CoordinatorConnect with MedBest on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter @MedBestJobs


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