APRIL 28, 2021
The words Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) are not just buzz words or trends, but an intrinsic part of the work and community cultures that The IRONMAN Group is looking to further foster. The organization understands that in order to achieve their goals, it is of utmost importance to attract and welcome the world’s most talented people and athletes from all backgrounds while continuing to create life-changing event experiences globally.
Acknowledging the need to bring in outside expertise in this area, The IRONMAN Group is proud to announce it has retained the nation’s premier Diversity, Equity and Inclusion firm, Kaleidoscope Group, to lead their DE&I transformation.
Fully endorsed by Andrew Messick, President & Chief Executive Officer for The IRONMAN Group, the global sports event producer considers their DE&I effort a business imperative for the entire organization. Every part of the company will be accountable for this transformation to ensure its health and sustained growth.
“Diversity in mass participation sports is something that has and continues to carry incredible importance to us and the overall industry, and while individuals of all backgrounds have been welcomed and celebrated during our 40-year history, it is important that we recognize opportunities to further develop,” said Messick.
As the largest mass participation sports event producer in the world, The IRONMAN Group is working to lead diversity advocacy efforts through a multi-tiered outreach campaign to address the lack of black athlete diversity among race participants. In partnership with the IRONMAN Foundation, The IRONMAN Group launched Race for Change in 2020 with the mission to remove barriers to equity for its athletes, in the sport of triathlon, and in the communities where IRONMAN® athletes and first-time hopefuls live, train and race while doing the same with its internal workforce.
“Over the past several months, we have spent time reflecting, listening, learning, and discussing what role the company – and all of us collectively – must play in helping to drive change, both within the IRONMAN Group and in our race communities,” continued Messick. “With significant input from employees and leaders, we determined that the Kaleidoscope Group was the perfect partner to lead our transformation through Race For Change and internal DE&I efforts.”
According to Messick, the Kaleidoscope Group partnership reflects The IRONMAN Group’s commitment to not only raise awareness of DE&I issues that exist within the sport of triathlon, but to further create a sense of belonging for all communities of color.
It is the organization’s belief that it must empower the next generation of great competitors, coaches, and history-makers by proactively removing barriers to entry. Through its collaboration with Kaleidoscope Group, one of the initial goals for The IRONMAN Group will be to support local run and triathlon clubs and organizations focused on growing the number of Black athlete participation in the sport five-fold within the next five years. Growth of the Latinx community as well as growing female participation through the Women For Tri initiative is also critical focus areas.
The company also intends to elevate existing staff talent, build a work culture based on inclusion and work with local organizations to recruit diverse applicants.
According to Kaleidoscope Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Doug Harris, The IRONMAN Group is committed to making real progress toward a more inclusive culture and community for its race participants.
“Their mission to welcome more diverse athletes to the sport is being led by employees from all levels within the organization. That shows a true willingness which is needed to succeed,” said Harris.
The transformative outreach work required to drive change for The IRONMAN Group will be driven through the Race for Change campaign. To date, progress includes:
· An initial pledge of $1 million to fund the Race for Change initiative.
· Finalizing creation of an Advisory Council for the Race for Change program to help guide the organization’ actions to ensure resources are properly assigned efforts that deliver the greatest impact.
· Finalizing internal DE&I Committee within the organization to provide a voice to the workforce, developing ways to become a more inclusive organization.
The company plans to continue taking meaningful and substantive actions in the coming months.