ACHIEVA & Diversity

ACHIEVA & Diversity

By Steve Suroviec, President and CEO

A 2016 article published by the Harvard Business Review is one of many that argues diversity is good for business because, in part, diverse groups make better decisions. In 2019, the ACHIEVA Board of Trustees embraced this idea establishing “inclusion and diversity” as one of its seven strategic priorities to guide the organization over the next several years. A work group of the trustees got specific, defining diversity and placing it into a broader context, saying the following:

“ACHIEVA is an inclusive organization fundamentally because of its core mission and vision – that is, ACHIEVA advocates for, empowers, and supports people with disabilities and their families through their lives; and, ACHIEVA envisions a community in which all people with disabilities lead lives of personal significance. As a forward-thinking organization, ACHIEVA promotes inclusion and diversity within its leadership because it knows that diverse groups make better business decisions. The diversity of thought that comes with an inclusive and diverse workforce leads to better customer service, new customers, service innovation, and higher-performing employees.”

The work group went on, saying “When people feel included, they feel empowered, work better, are more creative, and will contribute toward organizational goals. An inclusive environment gives equitable access to resources and opportunities to all. Inclusion requires each person to grant and accept inclusion from others, and this reciprocity enables individuals and groups to feel safe, respected, connected, and valued for who they are.”

In that context, the ACHIEVA Board came to consensus on the following diversity definition: “Diversity encompasses all differences that make an individual unique, including but not limited to disability, age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, national origin, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.”

ACHIEVA touches the lives of thousands upon thousands of people with disabilities and their families every year. After nearly 70 years in business, ACHIEVA continues to sustain high levels of quality and promote innovation. Reaching $50 million in revenue, last fiscal year, ACHIEVA has earned the mantle as the premier human services agency in southwestern Pennsylvania. As the parent organization, ACHIEVA oversees several subsidiaries, including 1) ACHIEVA Support, which provides lifelong direct supports in mostly Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties and the five counties surrounding them 2) The Family Trust, which supports beneficiaries of special needs trusts in nearly all 67 counties of Pennsylvania as well as parts of neighboring states, and 3) The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh, which provides advocacy and other services in Allegheny, Westmoreland and Beaver Counties.

As you can see, the services offered by ACHIEVA are diverse, the people served are diverse, and its geographic reach is diverse. That’s why it’s important that ACHIEVA’s Boards of Trustees be diverse. To that end, the two-year terms of ACHIEVA’s current trustees end June 30, 2020, and the Board’s Leadership Committee has decided to be intentional when it comes to recruiting and selecting new nominees. If you’re someone who’s committed to ACHIEVA’s mission, vision, and values, and believe your service on one of the organization’s Boards would add value, please consider expressing interest in serving as a trustee. You can do so by clicking here and answering a few basic questions. As a volunteer for one of the best charities around, your life will be touched in more ways than one.

As always, please feel free to contact me with constructive comments and questions to