Paradigm for Parity® CEO Spotlight Series: Don Casey

The Paradigm for Parity® coalition CEO Spotlight Series showcases member company CEOs who are transforming their corporate culture to advance women of all races, cultures and backgrounds.

This week, we are excited to feature Don Casey, CEO of Dentsply Sirona. Casey reflected that “we joined Paradigm for Parity to learn from the coalition’s best practices, make sure that we set the right goals and to be inspired and challenged as we keep working towards making our vision a reality. And it is working!”

1) What motivated your company to join the Paradigm for Parity® coalition?

The belief that women and men should have equal opportunity! We joined Paradigm for Parity to learn from the coalition’s best practices, make sure that we set the right goals and to be inspired and challenged as we keep working towards making our vision a reality. And it is working! I am immensely proud to confirm that Dentsply Sirona is committed to fulfilling its pledge for gender parity and gender pay parity by 2025 — which is a full five years ahead of the general Paradigm for Parity ambition for 2030.

We know there is still work to be done to bring a truly inclusive culture into every last corner of our business and our industry. Our success in this field so far motivates us to work even harder and tackle any obstacle that may come our way.

2) What role can/should CEOs play in leveling the playing field for marginalized groups, including women and people of color, in the workforce?

I believe CEOs can and should do two things: one is to set an example and the other is to create a business strategy with in-built expectations of diversity, equity and inclusion. At Dentsply Sirona, 50% of our Board of Directors’ members are women and/or members of ethnically diverse groups, while 60% of board committees are chaired by women. I cannot think of a clearer sign to everyone in our company that women and members of minorities are not just welcome at Dentsply Sirona but that they truly have the same chances and opportunities as everyone else.

And secondly, our business strategy, and especially our sustainability strategy — “BEYOND. Taking action for a brighter world” — define clear expectations for our management at all levels to identify and accelerate diverse talent. Together with the board I monitor continuously that we reach our sustainability goals, including the ones related to diversity representation and compensation practices.

3) What do you consider to be the benefits of leveling the playing field for women in the workforce for your company and society as a whole?

It boils down to this simple equation: Diversity in employees equals diversity of thought. It is our belief that there is no company and no part of society that doesn’t benefit from listening to multiple points of view and numerous sets of experiences. At Dentsply Sirona, we are building inclusive teams and a respectful culture that allows everyone to be their whole selves. We see that this helps us be a better company. It helps us innovate better. And it helps us to be the best partner we can be to dentists and patients around the world. And I believe that this is also true for society at large — we need to make room for women at the table, ensure their voices are heard and that they have the same power and influence as men — for the good of us all.

And it is a fact that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams are 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.

4) How is your company advocating for, lifting up and supporting women of color in your workplace? What has made the biggest difference in advancing all women in your company?

We work hard to support those that have been overlooked or sidelined in the past, which was too often true for women of color. Aside from supporting external programs such as Women in DSO, BrownGirl or First to Fifty, we have created our own forum for support and growth that focuses on allyship and mentorship. Our DS Women and BOLD Employee Resource Groups empower our female and Black employees to reach their fullest potential and ensure that they can reach senior roles and take center stage in the company. With almost 850 global DS Women members from 40 nations, 87 of them in senior leadership roles, as well as over 400 BOLD ERG members, with an estimated 60% of members female colleagues, the groups have an incredible impact. And of course, our Diversity & Inclusion council works tirelessly to keep the topic at the forefront of our minds and make sure we as a company are held responsible for meeting our targets.

5) When you look at the Paradigm for Parity coalition 5-Point Action Plan, is there one step that you think is most critical to ensuring that women of color have the same opportunities for advancement as their colleagues?

While each step is of course important, step three (“measure targets at every level and communicate progress and results regularly”) is the one that stands out to me. It is all very well to say that you commit to something but in the hustle and bustle of everyday business it is easy to have ambitions fall by the wayside if they are not fixed with clear targets and the progress you make on them isn’t monitored and communicated on a regular basis. It is important to constantly check against bias and intervene if necessary. It is important to make sure that every part of the company is working towards becoming a fairer, more inclusive and diverse version of itself. It is important that we make a true difference and not just pay lip service. Paradigm for Parity’s 5-Point Action Plan is a great help in achieving all this and I would recommend joining the coalition to all who want to contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society.

Donald Casey is Chief Executive Officer of Dentsply Sirona. He has more than 30 years of global healthcare experience and an outstanding track record in identifying and commercializing medical innovations. He most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of the Medical segment of Cardinal Health. Prior to Cardinal Health, Mr. Casey served as Chief Executive Officer of the Gary and Mary West Wireless Health Institute, a non-profit research organization focused on lowering the cost of healthcare through novel technology solutions from 2010 to 2012. Previously, Mr. Casey served as worldwide chairman for Johnson & Johnson’s comprehensive care group and a member of the company’s executive committee, where he oversaw its cardiovascular, diagnostic, diabetes and vision care franchises around the world. Mr. Casey began his career with Johnson & Johnson in 1985, advancing into executive positions throughout the company’s consumer, pharmaceutical and medical device franchises.

Mr. Casey serves on the board of the nonprofit Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center organization and previously served on the boards of AdvaMed, the James Foundation, Surgical Specialties (formerly AngioTech) and West Corp. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master of business administration degree from the University of Notre Dame.

About Paradigm for Parity®

Paradigm for Parity® is a coalition of business leaders dedicated to addressing the corporate leadership gender gap. The coalition is made up of CEOs, senior executives, founders, board members, and business academics who are committed to achieving a new norm in the corporate world: one in which women and men have equal power, status, and opportunity. The ultimate goal is to achieve full gender parity by 2030, with a near-term goal of women holding at least 30% of senior roles.

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Paradigm for Parity

The Paradigm for Parity® movement is a coalition of business leaders dedicated to addressing the leadership gender gap in corporate America.