Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion & Talent Acquisition, ICF
Jana Smyth has focused on evaluating and refining ICF’s strategic DEI framework, enhancing operational processes and strengthening reporting mechanisms to ensure they are driving tangible actions that embrace, celebrate and grow diversity across ICF. While recognizing there is always room for improvement, she takes pride in the progress recently made.
For example, ICF’s transformative talent acquisition strategy recognizes its foundational role in creating an inclusive environment.
“First and foremost, you need to bring individuals with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences into an organization so they can impact and influence it over time,” Smyth said. “It sets the tone for the entire employee lifecycle and contributes to the creation of a workplace where individuals from all backgrounds can thrive, collaborate, and contribute.”
Also, their data-informed talent acquisition approach targets areas of high impact and need for ICF. Smyth and her team have recently created new practices that actively seek out and encourage diverse talent, including building strategic partnerships with organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, Women of Color, Women in Technology and more.
They have also created a range of new inclusive hiring resources that they provide to ICF recruiters, interviewers and hiring managers. As a result, 60% of early talent hires self-identify as women and 50% are from underrepresented talent groups.
Complementing this success are ICF’s highly active Employee Community Networks. These affinity groups connect people by common characteristics, interests and goals. These ECNs foster professional development, community outreach and business impact.
“At ICF, DEI remains a key component of our long-term strategy, both for our business and employees. It is an integral part of who we are and how we collectively thrive,” said Caryn McGarry, ICF chief human resources officer. “Jana has been instrumental in driving our DEI strategy forward. She is an exceptional ally who practices active listening, advocates for underrepresented voices and sets ambitious, but practical goals that will make a difference. She is taking a strong program and making it even stronger by finding opportunities for even more transparency and clarity. Jana is helping foster a culture where all ICF employees feel valued and is making meaningful impact on our collective DEI journey.”
Based on the insights gathered, Smyth and her team have outlined two primary areas of focus for 2024: Improving transparency in their progress and refining the clarity of their approach. Looking forward, Smyth and her team are committed to doing both. They will foster more sustained conversations around DEI, including the launch of several initiatives such as fireside chats, town halls and open Q&A sessions to facilitate meaningful dialogue. They will also strengthen DEI reporting and metrics-sharing, building on the momentum initiated with the release of ICF’s first-ever inclusion report earlier this year.
“We are more successful when we build teams of people with different backgrounds, experiences, and points of view,” Smyth said. “I am passionate about actively creating opportunities for open, honest discourse and ensuring we are driving tangible actions that embrace, celebrate, and grow diversity at ICF, now and over time. While this work is never done, my team and I are committed to creating opportunities to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion at ICF, one milestone at a time.”