Building Culture Book Club Fosters Courageous Conversations on DEI

With our commitment to reinforcing a culture of welcoming and belonging that values diversity, equity and inclusion, we launched the Building Culture Book Club last year. Participating associates learned about and discussed DEI concepts while building connections with associates from around the organization.

Courageous Conversations About Equality

In this first year, we read Equality: Courageous Conversations About Women, Men and Race to Spark a Diversity and Inclusion Breakthrough by Trudy Bourgeois. Each chapter has a separate courageous conversation, which made the book perfect for a focused chapter-by-chapter discussion. These discussions included the roles of women and men, driving one's own equity, having the courage to get messy, forging meaningful partnerships, a new style of leadership and creating a new future.

“Joining the book club changed my perspective. It was a good way to explore new topics and connect with other associates I don't normally engage with," said Mark Cage, Capital Markets Associate. “Hearing everyone's perspective and interpretation of the topics in the book was a highlight for me."

Dr. Kathleen Walls of TAGA Consultants, and Brittany Rihanek, Senior Manager of Content Marketing and Focus Area Leader for our DEI Education & Culture Building, led the conversations.

“I enjoyed leading the conversations and encouraging people to speak up and share their thoughts," said Dr. Walls. “I also enjoyed each aspect of the experience – reading the chapters, meeting in advance to prepare, listening to the participants share their insights and how each chapter impacted them as well as their interactions with each other."

Not only did the chapters lend themselves to great discussions, but each chapter concluded with calls to action, which were used as starting points to have associates identify an action they would take going forward. Associates committed to diving deeper into a topic, talking about a topic with people outside of work, looking for opportunities to create positive change, being curious and inquisitive in a friendly manner and being open to other people's perspectives.

“The discussions and connections associates were making to the chapters and their own and other associates' experiences was a one-of-a-kind opportunity. It was incredibly inspiring and motivating for me," Brittany said. “We've made a big commitment to growing our culture; associates proved their own commitment with their thoughtful participation."

“As an outside consultant, it was helpful to partner with and be on the same page (so to speak) with an in-house person," Dr. Walls said. “This collaborative partnership strengthens the commitment and the importance of the endeavor to other members of the organization. Associates will apply what they learned in their interactions at Opus and beyond."

To create an inclusive space that encourages growth and learning, the Building Culture Book Club is a place of grace that welcomes questions and curiosity. Participants are not expected to have all the answers but to come with an open mind.

Initiatives like this don't only impact those who participate – it can create a ripple effect throughout our culture, the organization, the industry and the community.

We're excited to launch this year's book club soon. 


Every voice brings unique perspective and value and collectively can make our world and workplaces better. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) serve to amplify everything we do; a culture and environment that actively values DEI makes us stronger, more creative, more competitive, sustainable, and just plain better. Learn more about our DEI work.

Filed Under: DEI, Our People