In 2019, LINC asked an incredible set of Lehigh Valley leaders to join a DEI Council with the goal of helping LINC support local employers to advance their DEI strategies and practices and to connect employers with each other and with resources to make transformation possible.
We sat down with the two co-chairs, Scott Blair and Orville Trout, to learn more about them.
Scott Blair, Orville Trout,
Sr. Director of DEI EVP of Human Resources
B. Braun Medical Crayola
Interview with Scott Blair and Orville Trout
LINC: What brought you to the Lehigh Valley?
S: I came to the Lehigh Valley to lead diversity, equity and inclusion work as the Chief Diversity Officer at Northampton Community College. Since then, I have been honored to have had the opportunity to engage with leaders from many organizations on the work of Inclusive Excellence and to now be a part of the amazing team at B. Braun here in Bethlehem, PA as their inaugural Senior Director for DEI.
O: I came to the Lehigh Valley to lead the HR Division for Crayola. This was a great career move for me as I worked for the parent company of Crayola – Hallmark Cards, Inc. for 30 years. This move allowed me to fulfill my career aspiration and to continue to be a part of the Hallmark family of companies.
LINC: What’s one of the Lehigh Valley’s best kept secrets?
S: The amazing spaces to get outdoors! From the D&L Trail to a short drive west to Hawk Mountain, there are so many amazing places to be outside and enjoy the natural world around us.
O: One of the best kept secrets of the Lehigh Valley is the civic mindedness of the companies that call the Lehigh Valley home. This is both from a financial perspective, as well as from the volunteer efforts of employees that work for those companies. Employees in the Lehigh Valley are extremely generous with their time and passion to help others who are less fortunate.
LINC: What has been your proudest moment working on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion?
S: During the Summer of 2020, I was proud to partner with Kumari Ghafoor-Davis from CALV and Marci Lesko of the United Way to create a group that brings together DEI professionals from across industries to discuss our work; our challenges and triumphs. We meet monthly and it is a valuable space to build relationships and support each other.
O: My proudest moment is in partnership with our leadership team, developing our DEI strategy that aligns with our mission. DEI has been an unspoken part of Crayola’s mission since the company’s inception, and we are now being declarative of our support for DEI.
LINC: How do you describe your company’s business case for DEI?
S: Disparities in our healthcare system occur in many ways and are deeply rooted in our culture. As a medical device company, B. Braun has an important role to play in raising awareness around the health disparities that exist in many of our communities and the impact that has in blocking access to quality care. The more we lean into the work of DEI, the more innovative we can become in creating a healthier future for all.
O: Crayola’s mission is to help educators and parents raise creatively alive kids. We are for kids – all races, abilities, and backgrounds. So, by the very nature of who we serve, it is imperative that our organization and our products mirrors the marketplace that we serve. The fulfillment of our mission is by its very nature the business case for DEI. Distinguished financial performance would not be possible if we did not deliver on our mission.
LINC: What is one piece of advice you have for leaders of companies just getting started on their DEI journey?
S: DEI must be treated as a core value for it to be successful and sustainable and this starts with education. Any other core value, we hold space to consider why is this important and how do we act in a way that is in alignment with this value. DEI must be treated with such care and responsibility. Additionally, we need to acknowledge that for many, this is a new value proposition so we must prioritize robust professional development to not only speak about why it’s important but how are we going to exhibit this value in our everyday work for the Company. That is “The Work” as we call it and that is the opportunity in front of us.
O: My advice to leaders of companies who are doing this work, to treat DEI like any other strategic initiative designed to deliver distinguished financial performance. A company is only as good as the people that works for the company. Data shows that companies who are more diverse outperform companies who are not. DEI must be looked at from a business lens – how do you resource this work appropriately to help deliver distinguished financial performance.
Thank you, Scott and Orville, for sharing your insights and successes!