“The world changes and you always want to take a look and see if you evolved with it.”
Those are the words of Andi Owen, President and CEO of MillerKnoll (opens in a new window). It was late 2020, the US was in the throes of the early months of the pandemic as well as a reckoning with racial injustices still plaguing the country. Andi knew MillerKnoll couldn’t stand idly by; it needed to evolve. It needed to lead.
MillerKnoll was already investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) measures both within the corporate structure and beyond. They hired a Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to connect DEI initiatives to the company’s purpose and business objectives. They diversified their suppliers to ensure minority-led companies get a fair chance to compete. And the company’s charitable arm, Herman Miller Cares, funded causes aligned with its corporate values of inspiring future designers, preserving planet Earth, and strengthening community.
Andi wanted to take this commitment to the next level, to be intentional about human connection and bridging differences. To achieve this, she says, people needed to “start meeting each other, spending time together, and telling stories about our lives.” Enter Global Nomads Group and the beginning of our multifaceted partnership with MillerKnoll.
Global Nomads brings to the partnership more than 20 years of experience creating engaging educational content and facilitating cross-cultural dialogue that builds empathy and understanding. Our combined effort allows MillerKnoll to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in its company and community, while Global Nomads Group increases investment in our programs and their impact.
Recognizing Andi’s visionary leadership, Global Nomads honored her with the award for Connecting Across Difference at our inaugural 2021 Globe Ball. MillerKnoll has connected Global Nomads to others who support our mission and has also made generous financial contributions to support our programming.
This fall we are collaborating to present a Student-to-World: LIVE! Event as part of MillerKnoll’s #DesignYourFuture campaign. The event will engage high school students from an under-resourced school in Chicago in a live, youth-facilitated conversation with their international peers growing up in vastly different cultures and contexts. Without our partnership, these young people quite simply would not have had the opportunity to participate in such eye-opening, perspective-shifting dialogue.
“Opportunity is not balanced across humanity,” says Matt Tedesco, President and General Manager, Americas East and Workplace Experience MillerKnoll. “But with our partnership with Global Nomads we can help bring more underrepresented students into our industry while introducing youth to a world they otherwise would not have known.”
At MillerKnoll, corporate giving is driven by employee engagement. Matt, who was introduced to Global Nomads through a business colleague, was sold on the mission immediately. He championed the forging of this new partnership and joined our board of directors in 2021. His dedication quickly deepened; Matt will soon be stepping up as board chairman, lending us his decades of marketing and management experience.
“I am excited to take on the role of Board Chair this year,” Matt says. “It’s an important time where students of all backgrounds need the critical skill-building opportunities MillerKnoll and Global Nomads can provide together.”
With his leadership, we are certain to cement our partnership with MillerKnoll and interweave our shared goals of a more just, inclusive, and sustainable future.