Working on Getting There
We are proud of the diversity of experiences, academic backgrounds, and skills our team has, but we are also aware that we are not yet where we aim to be. As a family and friends-owned business, our first three ‘hires’ were ourselves – white, Jewish men. We have relied heavily on our networks to build out our team and client base and recognize that as a firm we have inherited all of the biases embedded in the demographics and credentials we bring to the table.
We’re committed to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into everything we do. Below is a recap of what we have done and what we are currently focusing on:
- We have worked with diversity, equity, and inclusion professionals to help us understand our areas of growth, specifically as it relates to our hiring practices and communications. Through this work we overhauled our hiring process to make our job postings more accessible to diverse audiences; established protocols for blind resume and cover letter reviews; have begun to prioritize outreach to diverse networks and individuals at the onset of each hiring process, and have integrated values- and skills-based interview questions to mitigate our biases by not just looking for people who are a ‘culture fit’ with our team, but for individuals that align with our firm values and have the skills needed to perform within each role.
- We have invested in professional development opportunities for our team members to better understand issues and opportunities related to DEI, supporting team members to explore their own identities and privilege.
- We have revised and continue to periodically revisit our cultural norms, company values, and employee handbook to ensure that our policies and culture are equitable and inclusive.
- We have engaged in challenging conversations as a team about how our different backgrounds shape our perspectives and experiences. To further our understanding of the historical and structural factors that contribute to inequity, we have also reflected on social sector inequities and racial disparities in wealth, health, and education outcomes.
- We have partnered with organizations working towards equity and building power for historically marginalized groups, discounting our services to meet budget constraints for small or start-up organizations.
- We created a Leadership Team that goes beyond our three founders and now reflects greater gender and racial diversity.
- We have launched a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team to lead and support the company’s efforts in this work, hold the firm accountable to our actions (or inaction), and help us fully integrate DEI into the way that we do everything – both internally in our policies and practices and externally with our clients and projects.
- In response to the murder of countless Black people at the hands of the police reinforced by systemic and structural racism, we publicly committed to standing in solidarity with those fighting against police brutality, advancing efforts to ensure racial justice, and working to create an equitable social compact. We also created a racial justice learning and action strategy rooted in our values that include:
- Learning Up by launching an ongoing learning practice to facilitate team learning around anti-racism and racial justice and facilitating a process for our philanthropic advising team to learn together about racial justice work in our communities and collectively decide how to distribute a donation from the company.
- Teaming Up by examining each of our lines of business to understand how they might serve to uphold the status quo and what we can do differently in our approach to our client work to promote race equity
- Stepping Up by designing a set of pro bono services around real and evolving needs facing organizations led by and serving people of color working in the racial justice space
- Living It Up by supporting our team’s mental health – surveying our staff to understand evolving team needs, researching options for expanded mental health services, and checking in more regularly with managers on the team to make sure they have what they need to support their direct reports.
We are in this work for the long haul and will continue to share our progress and challenges in the spirit of continuous learning, evolution, and growth.