Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Getting DEI into our DNA isn’t just an HR initiative, a leadership initiative, or a DEI team initiative. We’re pulling in our whole CLA family.

We embrace all voices

CLA is building a culture that welcomes different beliefs and perspectives — so we can truly know and help our clients, our communities, and each other. 

Our desire is to be representative of the communities we serve by providing a diverse, inclusive environment where everyone has opportunity. This will allow us to:

  • Actively learn, listen, and reflect on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues
  • Hear the voices of our underrepresented CLA family members
  • Create a safe place for all
  • Implement DEI strategies throughout our CLA family 

Our goal is to approach DEI the way we approach our daily work — to weave our initiatives seamlessly into everything we do.

2021 Transparency Report
Our first DEI transparency report tells the story of where we’ve been — but more importantly, where we’re going.


Our commitment is being recognized in the marketplace. CLA was named by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity, based on an independent survey of over 50,000 employees working for companies employing at least 1,000 people in their U.S. operations.

Our five DEI focus areas

Our DEI plan focuses our activity in five areas:

  1. Leadership — We commit to lead by example, building mentorship and sponsorship opportunities, so that our pipelines can be filled with diverse candidates.
  2. Recruiting — Whether on college campuses or hiring experienced professionals, we’re building intentionality into our talent acquisition plans.
  3. Operations — We operate with a lens of inclusion, from our event planning to our policies and our supplier diversity program.
  4. Employee engagement — We foster a true sense of inclusion and belonging for our CLA family members with opportunities such as learning events, virtual belonging communities, and coaching connections.
  5. Community and client impact — We create opportunities for our CLA family to give time and financial support to DEI initiatives, whether through volunteer paid time off, nominations to our CLA Foundation, or cultivating new client and prospect relationships that reflect the communities we serve.

Our DEI work engages the entire CLA family, from interns to our leader, Jen Leary, who signed the CEO Action Pledge, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace. Today, every leader and every local office is responsible to implement and maintain a proactive DEI plan.

Our DEI journey

While our journey with diversity and inclusion began in 2014, in 2020 the national conversation on race sparked a nationwide movement. We held listening sessions, led by our Black and African American CLA family members, and collaborated on a We Stand With You public statement that reflects our beliefs. In addition, we changed our team name from “Diversity and Inclusion” to “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) in recognition of the work ahead.

In the fall of 2020, we completed a comprehensive plan that will embed DEI into our DNA. It was developed with the collaboration of more than 100 CLA family members, and engaged diverse and underrepresented voices from across CLA. We will continue to work on and elevate the results of this plan with transparent communication.

Our DEI team

250+ DEI ambassadors across 120+ locations

Our DEI council, working directly with firm leaders, guides our efforts, drawing on more than 250 local DEI ambassador voices spread across our 120+ locations.

Our CLA family can engage with each other through virtual belonging communities including abilities, Asian, Black and African American, Hispanic, LGBTQ+, military connections, parents, and women. Today we have more than 500 participants (and growing) across these communities.

Examples of DEI in action

As we carry out our DEI action plan, our efforts are evident in various new and existing CLA initiatives. 

Community impact

CLA’s community engagement approach is designed to unify the work and missions of DEI and the CLA Foundation — with joint intention focused on advancing education, employment, and entrepreneurship. This approach allows us to live the CLA Promise in a new and bold way as we work with community leaders to draw upon the wisdom, strength, and initiatives already present in our communities.

CLA Foundation

Since its inception in 2015, the CLA Foundation has granted more than $5 million to organizations across the country connecting diverse networks focused on education, employment, and entrepreneurship. In 2020, we celebrated 44% of organizations funded were led by people of color, 59% had a BIPOC focus, and 76% had a poverty focus. The CLA Foundation is committed to refining its processes to continually elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion in our communities.

Supplier diversity program

We encourage all potential suppliers who can competitively meet the diversity requirements to contact us about qualifying for our new supplier diversity program. To learn more about CLA’s commitment to promote a diverse supplier base, visit our supplier diversity program page.