A Lifelong Passion Drives This Champion for Diversity
By Deb Taylor
Lisa Feigen Dugal (DC 1984) has always highly valued the talents, skills and perspectives that each person brings to the workplace. Her advocacy for diversity and inclusion in the workplace impacts her colleagues and staff, and it also changed the course of her career as she become a passionate business leader on the topic.
Today, Dugal is a senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and leads Women in Technology and Academic/Strategic Partnerships. Until recently, she served as PwC’s Advisory Diversity Leader and was a member of PwC’s Advisory Leadership Team. A respected thought leader in diversity and inclusion (D&I), Dugal will present a webinar, “Beyond Diversity: Achieving Inclusion and Belonging in the Workplace,” to Carnegie Mellon alumni on February 7, 2019.
After graduating from CMU’s Dietrich College with strong computer skills, Dugal joined a manufacturing start-up in the technology industry. There were very few women in this male-dominated field, and limited mentors and roles models. “I was fortunate to have had mentors early on,” she says. ”In manufacturing and in tech in those days, you largely had to find your own way.”
Throughout her career, Dugal has acted as a sounding board as well as an official and unofficial coach, mentor and advocate for women and minorities. She has also focused on advising those in the majority. “Changing the culture and ways of working so that people and process support a level playing field is challenging,” Dugal explains. “Both individuals and the business must understand that gaining diverse perspectives drives better innovation, services and ultimately profitability.”
Growing up with parents whose careers involved empowering women in the workforce and enabling minorities to start and own businesses, Dugal learned that people’s everyday words and actions demonstrate whether the focus on diversity and inclusion is successful or not. Dugal explains: ”It is more than just the right thing to do. By enabling and empowering all people, we can more effectively solve problems and raise the game for all. That really stuck with me.”
PwC management noticed that her actions were fueling innovation and producing positive results and offered her a recognized D&I role. “My passion for equity and fairness led my career to a new trajectory,” she says.
Dugal wants to share with others a three-pronged response to realizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as well as tools and techniques that produce measurable change.
“To achieve successful diversity and inclusion initiatives, there must be personal change plus organizational and institutional change,” she says. ”Own the challenges of change, keep the conversation open and ongoing and, most importantly, move from dialogue to action.”