A golden opportunity for diversity: Connico’s commitment to going above and beyond

What even IS diversity? At Connico, diversity means differences in background and differences in ways of thinking - not differences in traits or characteristics that can be readily seen. We have people on our team from diverse environments, varying in experiences and expertise as much as they vary in mindset and problem-solving. As a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firm in 29 states (as of this writing) across the country, we have a special role in promoting different perspectives and leadership in game-changing ways.

How many times during your work week do you hear about diversity? At Connico, we don’t just talk about a commitment to diversity; we live it every day. Our core values center around producing diverse outcomes, with respect and inclusivity leading to thoughtfulness and innovation in the work we create. Why is our culture so focused on diversity? Read on for the reveal: three ways our approach to diversity has unlocked value for our team and clients.

A diverse team produces more innovation and creative solutions
Our hiring philosophy focuses on people who bring something new to the table and add to our culture, not just fit into our existing culture. Connico ensures an inclusive environment by considering those who may not have direct experience or education in our field but can be shaped into great team members and provide fresh input on our processes and culture. We’ve even sponsored costs for employees going through the visa and citizenship processes. In fact, our staff of 29 reflects the citizenship of more than 10 countries, bringing insanely unique worldviews to the table.

Additionally, Connico encourages staff to learn about diversity and inclusion initiatives and industry programs. This includes giving our newest staff members the chance to go to conferences that address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)-related topics. When our team sees men and women who look like them in leadership positions in the industry, it encourages and inspires them to pursue leadership positions as well.

DBE mentorship and collaboration pave the way for better opportunities
As a DBE firm, Connico is passionate about finding ways to get other DBEs involved in the industry by sharing not only technical knowledge but also our 33 years of experience leading and managing a barrier-breaking DBE company. We’ve had several opportunities to mentor and support other DBE firms, but one of our proudest accomplishments was in Jackson, MS.

We taught the unique ins and outs of airport work to a locally owned consulting company’s staff, from the technical workers up to the CEO. This was a special opportunity for us to mentor and lead a diverse group of professionals, who were subsequently selected for multiple projects at both the region’s international and GA airports.

Outside of mentoring and referring to other DBEs (sometimes even direct competitors!), Connico also conducts industry outreach to educate airports and consultants about the use of DBE firms. Because Connico employees represent a minority-owned and woman-founded firm, we’ve been featured on panels through ACC, AAAE, and NSPE to discuss the importance of DBE firms, some concerns and perspectives that small DBE firms might have, and ways we can all work together to create better opportunities and projects within the industry.

Building diverse ties within the community supports small businesses of all backgrounds
Connico also promotes inclusion at the business level by using DBE firms for vendor services. In 2022, 60% of our meetings were held in spaces that are DBE-owned, and one such facility took the community impact even further by soliciting only DBE contractors for its construction and upkeep. Including services like catering and delivery services, 33% of our total meeting costs went to DBE firms in 2022. In our recruitment pursuits, we again made diverse businesses a priority: 48% of our 2022 hiring spend went to women-owned or minority-owned firms!

When it comes to educational outreach, Connico is committed to working with the right people at the right institutions. Through a dedicated effort to find the best talent from universities that focus on DEI, we’ve developed a robust internship program to give students opportunities to succeed. Over the history of our internship program, nearly 50% of our interns have been female in an industry where women make up less than 11% of the workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We participate in local Career Days to show young people from all walks of life that a career in our field is achievable. We also help fund local and industry scholarships to help reduce financial barriers to students.

Diversity is never a buzzword at Connico. We take our team and culture seriously and strive to create an environment where anyone from any background can thrive. If you’re interested in learning more about what it’s like to work as a part of this diverse and innovative team, check out our Careers page!