Caring: The Foundation of a Sustainably Inclusive Culture

In May 2021, BDO USA’s leadership team appointed Bernadette Pieters as BDO’s first Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO).
In this new role, Bernie, a leader in the firm since 1999, oversees and drives forward the firm’s DEI strategy, spearheading key programs to create impact, foster change and continue to build a sustainably inclusive culture for our people.

Read on for a statement from Bernie on her approach to her role, which originally appeared in BDO’s inaugural DEI Transparency Report.


An adage I often repeat to myself and share with my colleagues at BDO is: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I believe one of the best uses, and primary purposes, of my platform is to show our people, clients and communities that I care, that BDO cares, and that we are striving every day to maintain a culture where our people can demonstrate their care.
My appointment as the firm’s first CDEIO comes at a time when true expressions of care—ones that are expressed openly and genuinely—are more essential than ever.
We’ve all been through so much since early 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing fight for racial equality have challenged us in unimaginable ways. Some in our communities have suffered so much more than others, not only these past months, but long before. We will not be able to fix the root causes of this hurt overnight, but I do believe that we have a chance to heal and create a better society, and better firm, by listening to and learning from one another. In order to heal, we must hear—and we must learn.
Listening and learning form the basis of our forward action at BDO. The firm has long been on a journey to become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization, and we are actively investing our time and resources to move this journey forward—one conversation and one individual at a time. From those conversations, we’ve realized how much more we can be doing to support diversity and weave inclusion into the fabric of our culture so that we can adapt, grow and advance our understanding of DEI over time. This work isn’t about getting to a destination—it’s about always progressing, always learning and always caring for others. Our understanding will change as we deepen our relationships and commitments to one another.
My passion for BDO’s DEI journey stems from the incredible relationships I have formed with people throughout the firm over more than two decades. I continue to be amazed by the collective talent and commitment of my colleagues, especially when it comes to lifting one another up and paving the way for a broad spectrum of talented professionals to enter this field.
As you read our inaugural DEI Transparency Report, I hope you will recognize stories of the many ways we are making progress on our DEI journey and the many more ways we are planning for additional action. I hope you see that we are serious about healing, hearing and learning. I hope you will notice a true passion for helping people thrive.