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Friday, Jul 19, 2024

DIVERSITY FOCUS SPOTLIGHT: Dickerson Insurance Services – Approaching Diversity with an Inclusion Strategy

When Carl Dickerson started Dickerson Employee Benefits in 1965, the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. He had just left New York Life Insurance to launch his own company with a new corporate vision that heralded his own national view. With limited competition, he managed to sell insurance to nearly every African American owned or led business of note in Los Angeles for the next 20 years. As times changed and more minority firm brokers emerged, Dickerson Employee Benefits had already built a strong reputation in the African American business community as a dependable, customer service-driven, solutions-oriented firm with a wealth of relationships and service capabilities that was attractive to businesses of all kinds.

By the 80s, Dickerson began to explore opportunities through access. At the time, Los Angeles had more emerging cultures than 90% of the U.S. Plus, access to these markets was less than scientific. To develop these new customers, Dickerson chose to invite them in. Communities responded by seeing themselves represented in Dickerson’s staff and found a shared interest in also introducing their particular social institutions to Dickerson as well. The very access that led Carl Dickerson into to the black churches, and National Urban League, had led the company into the parlors of Latin American, European immigrant, and Asian cultures of Los Angeles.

As one of the oldest general agencies in Los Angeles, Dickerson’s inclusion strategy is represented by the diversity of the brokers on the street. Those very brokers brought Dickerson home to their churches, their clubs, and families. The brand didn’t have to be big, it had to be familiar.

Today Dickerson’s commitment extends that very strategy to its global business. The same methods of joining a community with whom you want to do business prevails. Our over 50 years of success continues with relationship building at its core. Dickerson Insurance Services Inc.’s 70 employees are now led by Carl Dickerson’s sons-in-law, Tony Lee (CEO) and Michael Wolff (President, CFO, COO).

Under, Lee’s leadership, Dickerson’s culturally open business philosophy is the cornerstone of the company’s diversity.

“The diversity of global business in Los Angeles requires that we have a diverse workforce and ownership, so the fact that we have a team of 70 employees that speak 11 languages in house is one of our greatest advantages by far,” said Lee.

Cultural diversity in the firm also brings different voices to the table – leadership styles, negotiating approaches, etc. – all important resources and ideas to have in a multi-industry client driven workplace.

Additionally, as consumers have demanded more diversity from corporate board rooms the same is true for their corporate dollars. Dickerson Insurance’s diversity profile as a minority owned firm as well as a firm with a large diverse work force makes the company a unique solution for many Diversity Supply Chain initiatives in large fortune 500 companies.

“We partner with larger firms to help them find cost solutions for operations,” said Lee.

For more information about how to start working with, or becoming a diversity partner with Dickerson Insurance Services, contact Lorraine Donen at (323) 662-7200 or [email protected].


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