Diverse group of people

At the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are a top priority.  That's why we have an entire office dedicated to advance this important area of corporate governance and society.

We celebrate the differences that make each North Carolinian, Commerce employee, culture, region, community, industry and business unique, and are committed to prioritizing DEI in everything we do – from employee relations to business practices, to collaborations and partnerships within the economic and workforce development community. Our goal is to lead by example in cultivating an environment – and state – where all people feel valued, respected, and safe to bring their whole self to work. North Carolina’s economy should be one that works for all people of this great state.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion have become buzzwords in the corporate world and beyond. But what does DEI really mean? And why is it important?

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Within today’s business environment, diversity, equity, and inclusion are key elements for economic growth:

  • High-profile companies and Fortune 500’s have long utilized inclusive workplace policies as proven recruitment and retention tools.
  • Diversity and inclusion practices enhance employer reputation, increase productivity and overall job satisfaction, and boost employee morale.
  • Businesses actively consider local laws and policies when making decisions about where to headquarter, relocate, or expand.
  • Businesses are becoming increasingly vocal in their support for laws and policies that protect all of their employees and their families – whether at home, in the workplace, or in their communities.
  • Companies are looking to our public officials to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all residents while encouraging real economic growth that benefits everyone.

DEI is both a moral and a business concern; it is not just the right thing to do, it is also economically advantageous.

Additional Information

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Did you know...

  • 67 percent of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering  employment opportunities, and more than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity. (Glassdoor, 2014)
  • 83 percent of all millennials are more likely to be actively engaged if they believe their company stimulates a diverse and inclusive culture. (Deloitte Millennial Survey, 2018)
  • Highly inclusive companies see 1.4 times more revenue, are 1.7 times more innovative, and notice 2.3 times more cash flow per employee. (Gartner, 2018)

According to McKinsey’s 2019 study, Diversity Wins, which analyzed performance data from 15 countries and over 1,000 companies: 

  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21% in 2017 and 15% in 2014.
  • Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed those in the fourth by 36% in profitability, slightly up from 33% in 2017 and 35% in 2014 .

As these statistics illustrate, prioritizing DEI translates to increased revenue, innovation, employee retention, and job satisfaction. And companies who fail to support DEI consistently underperform and may consequently fall behind. Now is the time for systemic change. As the private sector becomes more competitive by the day, and the country’s population demographics continue to evolve, don’t be left behind. Learn how your company can strengthen DEI in the workplace and take steps toward greater social and economic success.

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For more information on how you can implement good DEI practices in your company, please contact one of our DEI Office team members.

Betty Marrow-Taylor Headshot 2

Betty Marrow-Taylor
Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Officer | Biography




Catherine Rivera Headshot 2

Catherine Rivera
DEI Program Analyst





Mose Dorsey


Mose Dorsey
Compliance Officer



Lorraine Dulin

Lorraine Dulin
EEO Officer

The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion — and Commerce overall — look forward to working with partners, both public and private, to achieve goals outlined within the state’s new First in Talent Economic Development Strategic Plan.

Equity is a key factor in job creation, workforce development and our state’s post-pandemic recovery. Together, we’ll work to ensure all North Carolinians reap the benefits of new investments and structural improvements. Collaborating with our partners statewide, we aim to improve the social determinants of health, like economic stability, environment, healthcare, and education, that may help or hinder an individual’s pathways to economic prosperity, as well as “…bolster a robust small business recovery, inclusive of opportunities for new entrepreneurs and women-and-minority owned firms,” which is one of the strategies identified in the First in Talent plan to prepare North Carolina businesses for success.


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August Celebrations and Observances

Black Business Month
Black Business Month was created by two entrepreneurs, John William Templeton and Frederick E. Jordan, in 2004 who shared a passion for Black-owned businesses and understood how important those businesses are to economic growth. The intention of the pair was to “drive the policy agenda affecting the 2.6 million African-American businesses,” in order to highlight and empower Black business owners all over, especially given the unique challenges faced by minority business owners. This stemmed from Jordan’s own personal experience of the struggle to gain financial backing and funding when he began his own firm in San Francisco in 1969. Learn more about Black Business Month here.

UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous People - August 9th
The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed on 9 August each year to raise awareness and protect the rights of the world's indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. Learn more about UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous People here.

Women’s Equality Day - August 26th
Commemorates the August 26, 1920, certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gave women the right to vote. Congresswoman Bella Abzug first introduced a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day in 1971. Since that time, every president has published a proclamation recognizing August 26 as Women’s Equality Day. Learn more about Women’s Equality Day here.

UN International Day for People of African Descent - August 31st
Celebrated for the first time on August 31, 2021. Through this Observance the United Nations aims to promote the extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora around the world and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people of African descent. Learn more about UN International Day for People of African Descent here.


September Celebrations and Observances

Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15)

Celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of the Hispanic/Latinx community in the United States. The day September 15 coincides with the Independence Days for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico, Belize, and Chile celebrate their independence days during this month. Read more about Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month here.

National HBCU Week (3rd Week in September)

Celebrates a group of colleges and universities that are classified by the U.S. Government as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The week pays tribute to their legacy of promoting equal opportunities for high-quality education. Learn more about National HBCU Week and the White House’s Annual National HBCU Week Conference here.

International Week of the Deaf (September 19 – September 25)

Celebrated by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and its national associations and their affiliates globally during the last full week of September (Monday through Sunday), culminating with International Day of the Deaf on the last Sunday of the week. Learn more about International Week of the Deaf here.

Rosh Hashanah (Sept 15 – September 17)

The Jewish New Year celebration, marking the creation of the world. It is both a time of rejoicing and of serious introspection, a time to celebrate the completion of another year while also taking stock of one’s life. Learn more about Rosh Hashanah here.

International Equal Pay Day (September 18)

Celebrated for the first time in September 2020, represents the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value. Learn more about International Equal Pay Day here.

American Business Women’s Day (September 22)

Honors the accomplishments of the businesswomen across the nation and reflects on the contributions and achievements of the millions of women in the workforce. Learn more about American Business Women’s Day here.

International Day of Sign Language (September 23)

A unique opportunity to support and protect the linquistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf people and other sign language users. Learn more about International Day of Sign Language here.

Celebrate Bisexuality+ Day (September 23)

Started by three American bisexual rights activists in 1999 and observed annually, the purpose of Celebrate Bisexuality+ Day is to promote bisexual awareness and cultural acceptance; educate about bi culture and history; and reduce stigma and misconceptions associated with bisexuality. Learn more about Celebrate Bisexuality+ Day here.

Yom Kippur (September 24 – September 25)

The holiest day on the Jewish calendar, a day of atonement marked by fasting and ceremonial repentance. Occurs on the 10th day of the month of Tishrei (in 2023, from several minutes before sunset on September 24, until after nightfall on September 25). Learn more about Yom Kippur here.


October Celebrations and Observances

Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15 – Oct 15)

Celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of the Hispanic/Latinx community in the United States. The day September 15 coincides with the Independence Days for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico, Belize, and Chile celebrate their independence days during this month. Read more about Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month here.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (October)

This observance was launched in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1998, the week was extended to a month and renamed. The annual event draws attention to employment barriers that still need to be addressed. The theme for this year is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation”. Learn more about NDEAM here.

LGBT History Month (October)

Started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and the history of the gay-rights movement. Read more about LGBT History Month here.

Global Diversity Awareness Month (October)

Celebrates all the ways our different ethnicities, cultures, heritages, experiences, abilities, and other attributes contribute to more dynamic, innovative, and efficient workplaces. Diversity is a large part of what makes life interesting, and we’re looking forward to highlighting some of our partners, resources, and educational materials to help you expand your knowledge of others.

Mental Illness Awareness Week (First Week in Oct)

Created by the National Alliance of Mental Illness to raise awareness of mental illness, fight discrimination, and provide support. The theme for this year is “Together for Mental Health”. Learn more about Mental Illness Awareness Week here.

National Business Women’s Week (3rd Full Week in Oct)

Recognizes and honors working women, and employers who support working women and their families. Learn more about National Business Women’s Week here.

Asexual Awareness Week (Last full week in Oct)

Founded as Asexual Awareness Week in 2010, this international movement began as a campaign to raise awareness, build community, and create change around the world. Learn more about Asexual Awareness Week, or Ace Week, here.

International Day of Older Persons (October 1)

A day to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages. The 2022 Theme is “The Resilience and Contributions of Older Women”. Learn more about International Day of Older Persons here.

World Mental Health Day (October 10)

First celebrated in 1993, this day is meant to increase public awareness about the importance of mental health, mental health services, and mental health workers worldwide. Learn more about World Mental Health Day here.

National Coming Out Day (October 11)

Founded in 1988 to raise awareness of the LGBT community and its civil rights movement. October 11 was chosen to mark the anniversary of the second major National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which took place 1987. Learn more about National Coming Out Day here.

National Indigenous People’s Day (October 11)

An alternative celebration to Columbus Day, gives recognition to the indigenous populations affected by colonization and celebrates their culture and history. Learn more about Indigenous People’s Day here.

International Day of Rural Women (October 15)

Recognizes the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty. Learn more about the International Day of Rural Women here.

International Pronouns Day (October 19th)

Seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Each year it is held on the third Wednesday of October. Learn more about International Pronouns Day here.

Intersex Awareness Day (October 26)

Marks the anniversary of the first public demonstration by intersex people in the United States. Members of the now defunct Intersex Society of North America and their allies arrived in Boston, MA at the annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is a day to recognize the voices and human rights of intersex people around the world.