Former Chief Diversity Officer, Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion for Merck; President of Deb Dagit Diversity, LLC
Deborah Dagit joined Merck as their chief diversity officer in June 2001, where she was responsible for global equal opportunity, employee relations, recruiting and staffing, and diversity and inclusion. In anticipation of her retirement from Merck at the end of 2012, she launched Deb Dagit Diversity LLC, a consulting firm that offers practical, just-in-time resources, tools, and support for diversity practitioners.
Under Dagit’s leadership, Merck received recognition for its exemplary work in diversity and inclusion by organizations such as Diversity Inc, Working Mother, the Families and Work Institute, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Human Rights Campaign.
While at Merck, Dagit introduced the company’s signature Business Insight Roundtables, an innovative global strategy that builds on and enhances prior employee engagement efforts.
Dagit joined Merck from Silicon Graphics, Inc., where she led Learning Communications and Diversity since 1993. Prior to Silicon Graphics, Dagit was the leader of Strategic Cultural Initiatives for Sun Microsystems, Inc. Previously, she founded and managed Bridge-to-Jobs, a job placement organization through which she helped to place 400 people with a broad range of disabilities into full-time employment.
Dagit also played a key role in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act through lobbying efforts in California and Washington, D.C.
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 and a past chair of the Conference Board’s Workforce Council on Diversity. She served for seven years on the Board of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and was the co-chair from 2009-2011. She also has served on the Business Advisory Council for Catalyst and continues to serve on the Corporate Advisory Team for the Tanenbaum Center for Inter-religious Understanding.
Dagit is currently the vice chair of the U.S. Business Leadership Network Board and serves as a board member for the Families and Work Institute. She is the author of “The Promise of Diversity: Reflections on the Not-So-Level Playing Field” and “An Employer’s Guide to Hiring and Accommodating People with Disabilities.”