Friday, March 1, 2024

Raleigh-based Workplace Options buys Diversity Movement

Raleigh’s Workplace Options, the largest independent provider of wellbeing and mental health care, has bought The Diversity Movement, which focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs for employers. It is also based in Raleigh.

Terms weren’t disclosed.

The acquisition continues Workplace’s expansion of workplace wellbeing and services for employees and their families, CEO Alan King said in a release. The company’s 116,000 clients employ 79 million workers and their dependents.

Formed by Raleigh businessman Dean Debnam and his ex-wife Stephanie Fanjul in 1982, Workplace Options has expanded from its initial business of helping workers find child-care services. It has 900 employees.

CEO Donald Thompson and Vice President of Innovation Kurt Merriweather co-founded The Diversity Movement in 2019 after corporate careers. It started as an e-learning offshoot of Durham’s Walk West marketing company, where they were key leaders. Three other co-founders were Jackie Ferguson, Kristie Davis, and Kaela Sosa.

Thompson has become a national figure addressing diversity, equity and inclusion issues as corporate America responded to the death of George Floyd and other racially charged incidents. He is this year’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year for the Southeast.

The Diversity Movement “was founded with the audacious goal of improving people’s lives through culture change and diversity-led programming,” Thompson said in a release. “We have created a powerhouse in digital learning, content, client success, and scalable employee experience solutions.”

No layoffs are expected, officials say. The Diversity Movement, which has 20 employees, will retain its name as a division within Workplace Options.

Debnam built Workplace Options into a large enterprise serving employees in 200 countries before selling the business to New York City-based private equity firm WindRose Investors in late 2021. CEO King has been with the company since 2002.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at

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