President, Deb Dagit Diversity
Deborah Dagit joined Merck as their Chief Diversity Officer in June 2001. She has had responsibility for global equal opportunity, employee relations, recruiting and staffing and diversity & inclusion and has now transitioned to lead Deb Dagit Diversity, a consulting firm that offers practical just-in-time resources, tools and support for diversity practitioners.
Under Ms. Dagit’s leadership at Merck, organizations such as Diversityinc, Working Mother, the Families and Work Institute, the Department of Defense 2010 Freedom Award (Veterans), the 2005 Department of Labor New Freedom Award (People with Disabilities) and the Human Rights Campaign have recognized the company for its exemplary work in diversity and inclusion. Merck has undergone more than 55 different federal audits for compliance with U.S. Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity requirements for federal contractors since 1980 - each time, receiving a letter of compliance. Ms. Dagits’ current clients include TD Bank, Northrop Grumman, KeyBank, the Marine Corp, Lincoln Financial, The City of New York, the Arcus Foundation, Highmark, Traveler’s Insurance, Linkage, Iowa Women’s Leadership, and the Northeast HR Association.
Ms. Dagit joined Merck from Silicon Graphics, Inc. where she was the leader of Learning Communications and Diversity since 1993. Prior to Silicon Graphics, Ms. Dagit was the leader of Strategic Cultural Initiatives for Sun Microsystems, Inc. from 1991 to 1993. She played a key role in the passage of the American with Disabilities Act through lobbying efforts in California and Washington, D.C.
Ms. Dagit earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in Psychology from Oregon State University, and conducted her master’s coursework in Clinical Psychology at San Jose State University. She was a founding member in 1991, and a past Chair of the Conference Board’s Workforce Council on Diversity.
Among her many awards, Ms. Dagit has received the 2010 Winds of Change Multicultural Form on Workforce Diversity, the 2006 Champion of the Year from Out and Equal; the 2000 Exemplary Leader from Silicon Graphics; the 1999 Advocate of the Year from the Black Employees Network; the 1997 Award of Professional Excellence from the Northern California HR Council; and the 1996 Tribute to Women in Industry. Ms. Dagit was also asked to speak on diversity and inclusion at the December 2008 “Citadel of Free Speech” City Club of Cleveland which was broadcast live on NPR, and to testify in July 2011 before the U.S. Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions committee re: best practices for improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Ms. Dagit is married and has three children ages 17, 18 and 19.