We are working to make diversity and inclusion part of our company DNA at Founders. Our employees – led by our Diversity Action Council – have created this company diversity statement that will guide us along our journey to be more diverse, inclusive and equitable.

At Founders, we believe that we are better together. We strive to become a driving force for change by building a culture where all employees bring their whole, true, unique self to work every day. We want our actions to have a positive ripple effect in the communities that we serve, and that starts with us ensuring transparency and accountability in everything we do. Our commitment to further advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion is not just something we aspire to do all day, but every day.


Glasses of beer

Our Approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

At Founders we continually strive to challenge ourselves to be unique, to break barriers and to be better today than we were the day before. As our brewery grew, we recognized that changes needed to be made to our existing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program. As a result, we started over – rebuilt the team and created a metric-based Diversity, Equity and Inclusion process that is aligned to the standards of the Malcolm Baldrige National Award for Quality. Everyone wins with this focused approach towards a better business, a better community and making better beer.

Our metric-based DEI process consists of five phases and is designed to take three years to complete. Once completed, we will return to phase one and begin again. This ongoing sustainable framework approach sets us apart from a typical training program that is only done once.

Our Comprehensive Process Phases:

Phase I: Deployment of Inclusion Systems Assessment (iSA)

The development of a comprehensive plan for the development and implementation of a Diversity and Inclusion Management System. This initial plan will continue to be tailored to meet the specific needs through the stages of the process. The results of the iSA are used to develop the overall strategy and tactical plan for the execution of the developmental and training services.  Awareness and sensitivity training are also part of the targeted workshops and dialogues for employees to provide an orientation to Diversity and Inclusion and open channels of communication.

This phase includes:

  • Inclusion Systems Assessment (iSA)
    • The Five (5) Competency Dimensions to be measured through the iSA are:
      • Leadership
      • Communications
      • Organizational Processes
      • External Relationships
      • Systems Criteria/Process Management

Phase II: Focus Groups, Strategic Planning & Recommendations

A strategic plan with recommendations is established to guide our overall efforts based upon findings from focus groups conducted with staff as well as results of the iSA. A tactical diversity, equity and inclusion work plan is then developed to identify the specific training and consulting activities needed to support the overall strategy.

This phase includes:

  • Written report with executive summary with recommendations and observations.
  • Conducting Focus Groups with up to 12 employees each which provides a qualitative perspective of department employees.
  • Debriefing of key individuals and departmental leadership on iSA and focus group results

Phase III: Diversity Management & Inclusion Leadership Training

A specific inclusion education module is customized and provided to support the overall strategy based upon the results of the iSA, focus groups and the strategic recommendations. This is ongoing and will be developed in 100, 200, 300 and 400 levels, increasing in depth and ongoing.

This phase includes:

  • Training for departmental employees based upon recommendation – 2 hours for staff/leadership

Phase IV: Validation, Gap Analysis, Monitoring and Continuous Improvement

As the diversity system gains traction, it is important to validate the adherence to the established diversity processes. This is done through a re-deployment of the iSA 18-24 months after the launch and analysis of the initial iSA. This re-assessment/gap analysis allows the organization and management to identify departmental gains as well as challenges and static performance.

This phase includes:

  • A post-deployment of the iSA to measure success and/or application of recommendation

Phase V: Diversity Action Council (DAC) Development

After extensive assessment, benchmarking findings and training, the development of a Diversity Action Council (DAC) takes place to ensure proper development of a Diversity and Inclusion Management Plan and improve communication.

  • The purpose of the DAC is to:
    • Provide solutions-based insight and input
    • Generate innovative ideas
    • Help the Diversity and Inclusion Management Plan gain and maintain sustainable traction
  • Properly implemented, the DAC will:
    • Improve organizational performance through the encouragement and implementation of employee and team contributions which ultimately leads to 1) the organization’s ability to better leverage the firm’s personnel 2) increased employee morale and productivity through deeper levels of engagement and 3) more accurate and timely communication at all levels of the department and organization.

Where We Are Now

We are well underway in the work of all five phases in our new DEI process. It’s our belief that this process has enhanced and elevated our culture here at Founders and we’re making great strides at being a diverse and inclusive company built for everyone. The power of our company comes from its people and their ideas. We’re listening more and bringing in ideas from everyone – from all parts of our team and communities. A top down approach to management won’t work in the new Founders. Neither does taking the easiest way or the fastest way to creating the right culture. Inclusion is ongoing now – everyday and everywhere – not just a one-off training program. We’ve embedded this work into every facet of our business – why? Because diverse and inclusive teams are more innovative. We’ve created a stronger, richer environment where diversity blooms and everyone has a sense of belonging.

Here’s a sample of some of our work in 2020:

  • Successfully surveyed our 600+ employees to see how we are doing on specific criteria statements to evaluate the categories of Leadership, Communication, Organizational Processes, External Relationships and Systems Criteria.
  • Hosted 35 organization wide focus groups where employees spoke out on the Founders Family they wanted to be part of, and how we can improve.
  • Successfully completed Culturally Competent Customer Service Training for our entire Sales Team – and we’ll continue to keep all Founders employees participating in this ongoing training.
  • All Founders employees have completed a virtual DEI 101 training and will continue to enjoy monthly in person continuing education.
  • We have created our DAC team representing employee voices from across our company and established five subcommittees that are hard at work.
  • Our Human Resources department now includes a Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness statement in our hiring, and positions are left open until we have identified a diverse applicant pool.
  • Our Human Resources department has adopted a background-friendly employment application process to help diversify our hiring process.
  • Founders is committed to contributing to tangible change, which is why we continued to invest in our communities through our giving platform, The Big Pitcher.
  • We continue to honor our commitment to reinvest any profits from our Detroit taproom back into our community.

Some of our immediate future goals include:

  • We’ll create a DEI Dashboard so that anyone can easily follow our progress.
  • The DAC will develop action plans to solve five of the most important issues identified by each subcommittee as they implement our Diversity and Inclusion Management Plan.
  • We will take steps to not only resolve those issues, but will also communicate what we have done. We will also set up key metrics so we can evaluate how our plan is working and continue to refine the process.
  • By the end of this year, we expect to solve 10 of these issues, which will also help us get close to resolving 35 of the other criteria statements noted by the DAC.
  • By the end of next year, we will have accomplished even more and hope to be a teachable example of what other companies should strive for, both within our industry and beyond.

We will continue to update everyone on the next steps in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion process. We know there is still plenty of work to be done, and we are so glad to have you follow our journey through this process. We appreciate your continued support as we head into the future.

Founders DAC board

DAC Organization Board Organizational Chart

Founders DAC Team


  • Erik d'Auchamp
  • Andrew Korbesmeyer
  • Kent Deewall
  • Christine Bryant
  • Mark Bryson


  • Cameron McGee
  • John Gautraud
  • Jon Pataky
  • Andrew Young
  • Dayna Calkins
  • Derrick Nyman

Organizational Processes

  • Audrey Strieter
  • Melissa Poisson
  • Nic Morgan
  • Brandon VanEe
  • Dave Goldstein

External Relationships

  • Brent Patterson
  • Dave Powell
  • Mark White
  • Ashley Krull
  • Tony Barnes

Systems Criteria/Process Management

  • Marklyn Behling
  • Andrew Leedy
  • Lee Montano
  • Jera Moore
  • Kevin Fox

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