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Meet the Dallas 500: Sheri Crosby Wheeler

The head of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for Fossil Group says CEOs should practice “real good DEI, not feel-good DEI.”
By D CEO |
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Former attorney Sheri Crosby Wheeler leads the diversity, equity, and inclusion charge at retail accessories giant Fossil Group in Richardson. She says it’s important for CEOs to realize that DEI is not a quick-fix and not something that one person, or even a department, can achieve for the organization. It takes the sustained, visible, vocal, and collective will of all employees—especially leader. “If CEOs and other leaders are not learning about DEI and becoming well-versed in actionable steps to improve things at their companies, then the efforts are doomed,” she says. “Employees will know that it is not something that is truly important to the organization.” A key strategy recommendation? “Practice ‘real good DEI, not feel-good DEI,’” Wheeler says. “That’s DEI that has a positive impact on employees’ work experience, not the surface-level DEI that makes for good PR but doesn’t improve the daily experience for employees.”

Education: University at Buffalo (JD), Emory University (BA)

Birthplace: “Fort Bliss in El Paso; I’m a proud Army brat.”

First Job: “I worked over the holidays during my senior year of high school wrapping gifts for customers at a Weakley-Watson hardware store. I learned the power of networking because my Spanish teacher’s family owned the store, and she was the connection to help me get the job.”

Best Advice: “‘Get it out, or get over it.’ Basically, it means I need to let it be known what I am feeling or what I am thinking or let it go and stop wasting time wringing my hands and analyzing the situation. That is not productive and creates unnecessary stress.”

Destination of Choice: “I don’t have favorite places to visit; instead, I have favorite people. So, wherever they are, I am cool with being there with them.”

Hobby/Passion: “Making people laugh. I fancy myself a budding comedian and have even done a couple of stand-up shows. It feels good when we laugh, and it is especially good when we laugh together and connect over shared experiences.”

Fun Fact: “I tried out for the Buffalo Bills’ cheerleaders twice while I was in law school. Let’s just say, J-Lo or Janet Jackson, I’m not.”

Toughest Challenge: “In the span of a few years, I went from litigating, to compliance work, to government relations work, to diversity, equity, and inclusion work. While challenging, those transitions have made me more agile and let me know that there are many ways in which I can use my skills and training to do good work.”

Proud Moment: “My most significant personal success has been maintaining some level of calm and steadiness as we endure all that we are going through in the world. I attribute that to my faith, my family, and my friends.”

Walk-Up Song: “I’d choose ‘I Won’t Complain,’ because I have so many blessings and things to be thankful for.”

Bucket List: “I’d like to visit Africa.”

Dinner Party: “Cynt Marshall of the Dallas Mavericks and Sharmistha Dubey of Match Group. As women CEOs, they are leading great organizations, and I know that I would learn and gather great perspectives from each of them.”

Biggest Risk: “Taking steps to start my own business. I am pretty risk-averse, as most lawyers are!), so this was huge for me. I have to continually beat back the illusory voice of failure, knowing that trying will never result in failure if I define failure accurately.”

Looking Ahead: “I’m excited to see how the working world will change in our new hybrid reality, and I am also excited about many companies’ renewed focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.”


This Q&A is extended content from Dallas 500, a special edition produced by D CEO that profiles the region’s most influential business leaders. Visit www.dallas500.com for details.

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D CEO

D CEO

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