I have learned many lessons over the last few weeks and I’d like to share those with you. We will be moving forward on these commitments with the help of Workplace Change, a Human Resources firm that embeds Diversity, Equity, and inclusion tenets throughout all traditional Human Resources practices.
Lesson #1: We need to establish systems for contractor and vendor partnerships that are organized, consistent, equitable, and that demonstrate our values. In Camille’s case, our lack of a formal pricing system led to her having to self-advocate for her rates and also being underpaid for her services. This can never happen again. One step we are taking as a company is to formally publish our vendors rates, so they are clear and transparent.
Lesson #2: We need deeper relationships with Black professionals and the greater Black community, so they feel comfortable reaching out to speak with us when they believe one or more of our systems do not reflect our stated values. Our systems and practices won’t always be perfect, but when they are not, we need people to trust that we will listen and do everything we can to make it right.
Lesson #3: We need new hiring practices. We have a majority white, female workforce. This was never acceptable, but we are hyper aware of how this homogenous staffing structure can blind us to our own biases, assumptions, and plays into the narrative of white feminism and its exclusion of Black women. We are better than who we have become. We aren’t just saying this, we pledge that our next board member will be Black and our finalists for all recruitments will be at least 25% people of color, or we will fail the recruitment. We. Are. Committed.
Lesson #4: We need more training. Training is not the end all be all, but it does establish consistent awareness and language that will provide the entire workforce with the tools necessary to hold each other accountable for being anti-racist, fair, consistent, and, frankly, better. Workplace Change have agreed to lead this training for us beginning in August.
Lesson #5: We need to review and rewrite our people and culture policies with an equity lens and focus. Our stated values must be embedded in all of our practices and systems. As a step forward Workplace Change will be reviewing and updating our employee handbook in the coming months.
Lesson #6: White feminism. I recognize that White women have not always been good equity partners with Black women and the Black community in general. Black women (including Black queer and trans women) have often been actively excluded from the feminist movement. I have always considered myself an ally for Black people, but when I look at my company, I see that I haven’t been the ally I thought I was. I will do better, and my actions will speak louder than my words.
I’d love to hear from you, either now or later, if you think I am missing any lessons and if you think we need to make additional commitments.
Thank you for your ongoing work helping to create a home for badass women everywhere.
90 DAY PROGRESS UPDATE
- Hired an incredible new Board Member with DEI, HR, People expertise, who identifies as BIPOC.
- Completed multiple DEI Training Sessions for Leadership Team.
- Updated Employee Handbook with partners at Workplace Change to ensure policies are equitable and inclusive.
- Hired HR Manager, who identifies as BIPOC.
- Implemented ongoing hiring policies to ensure diverse pool of candidates.
- Published external vendor rates to ensure upfront and equitable hiring practices.
- Ongoing Anti-Racist Book Club amongst staff.
- Matched employee donations to racial justice causes.
We are committed to this work and look forward to updating you all on our progress again in 2021.