The social upheaval of 2020 shed a bright new light on persistent and pervasive social and economic injustice. The investment management industry, especially the front office, has traditionally been a white male bastion. A panel at the Clifford Chance Global Funds Conference 2021 took a deep dive into the state of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the investment management industry. Fionnuala Oomen, head of strategy and delivery in the London private funds group at Clifford Chance, moderated the discussion, which featured Clifford Chance inclusion, diversity and wellbeing specialist Leana Coopoosamy and senior associate Alice Jefferis, as well as Adebanke Adeyemo, GC at Vantage Infrastructure; Justin Onuekwusi, fund manager at Legal & General Investment Management; and Karis Stander, managing director of Investment20/20. This first article in a two-part series explores the panel’s analysis of the key challenges in fostering D&I and the impact of the events of 2020. The second article will cover the panel’s discussion of the structural barriers to D&I, strategies for overcoming those barriers and the impact of investors on D&I. See “Practical Guidance for Advisers Seeking to Foster Diversity and Inclusion” (Dec. 12, 2019).