If last year proved anything, it was that America's long history of inequality is not a relic of the past. Many of us spent more time thinking about, speaking up against, and working to change the everyday racism faced by Black people in the United States in 2020 than we did in years past, thanks to the leadership behind the Black Lives Matter movement and media attention over the police brutality faced by Black Americans.
So when honoring Black History Month in 2021, doesn't it seem right to focus not just on the past, but on the present? Not just to learn about the notable accomplishments of impressive Black politicians, artists, and entrepreneurs, but also acknowledge the reality of the Black experience today—and work to improve it?
We asked several of our partner companies what they're doing to honor Black History Month at work, and we were inspired by the range of responses. From digging into economic injustices to investing in projects to support the Black community to sharing the real-life experiences of their Black employees, these companies are finding ways to not only honor Black History Month, but encourage positive change all year round. Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
1. Honoring and Celebrating the Black Family — Freddie Mac
"Our ARISE Business Resource Group is hosting several programs and activities throughout Black History Month that celebrate the diversity of the Black family. The month kicks off with a fireside chat about Black wealth and economics featuring Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. Later in the month, Shanti Das, Executive Director of Silence the Shame, Inc., will share the importance of mental health and well-being. We will close the month with a panel discussion on the Black employee experience at Freddie Mac. The discussion will feature stories of empowerment and resilience that celebrate and support employees."
Learn more about Freddie Mac and their open roles here
2. Investing in Skills and Scholarships — Facebook
"During Black History Month, Facebook Elevate will host programming with the theme GenerationBlack. Among the activities will be a discussion called #GenBlack is Skilled covering how a new generation of Black professionals can be key contributors to a more inclusive society.
Elevate is a community and learning platform to accelerate the economic impact of entities of color. Elevate is committed over the next 3 years to reaching 1 million Black and 1 million Latinx and Hispanic members of the community with training in digital skills as well as distributing 100,000 scholarships to Black learners working toward digital careers."
Learn more about Facebook and their open roles here
3. Planning Virtual Events for the Whole Family — LogMeIn
"At LogMeIn, we will be celebrating Black History Month all month long! Since this year's theme is 'The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity,' our Employee Resource Group, BE@LogMeIn (Black Employees at LogMeIn) will be partnering with our Families ERG (Families@LogMeIn), our Corporate Social Responsibility Program (Mission Possible), and our wellness program (Thrive) to offer engaging, impactful, educational, and fun events all throughout February. We'll be hosting a virtual paint night, virtual volunteering event, discussions with Black authors and publishers, and a fun children's book giveaway as part of our celebrations."
Learn more about LogMeIn and their open roles here
4. Celebrating Black Joy — Moody's
"To kick off our Black History Month celebrations, Moody's will activate our annual Speaker Series and host multiple events that highlight the contributions of the Black community and celebrate Black Joy. Our Black Inclusion Group will be profiling Moody's employees and Black leaders for a weekly, educational newsletter throughout February. In addition, we are producing an employee-led video that shares the importance of Black Joy and cultural/family traditions. Our employees will also be able to choose from an array of Zoom and desktop backgrounds that will display quotes from prominent Black figures."Learn more about Moody's and their open roles here
5. Inspiring, Educating, Engaging—And Investing — ServiceNow
"ServiceNow is honoring Black History Month in the U.S. in February and in Europe in October. We've worked closely with our Black at Now Belonging Group to develop programming that will inspire, educate, and engage employees globally. We have a series of events focused on themes of allyship and intersectionality, which will feature special guest speakers, ServiceNow leaders, and employees in discussion and interactive dialogue. Additionally, we just announced an important piece of our efforts to live our company value, 'embrace diversity, create belonging': a $100M investment in Racial Equity fund, which is focused on building equitable opportunities in underserved Black communities in the U.S."
6. Communicating Inclusively — Clarus
"Here at Clarus we're honoring Black History Month in a couple of ways. Our DEI ERG is encouraging employee conversation by disseminating a companywide email acknowledging BHM and its significance. Additionally, we're promoting employees to be mindful of written communications, specifically in making sure we're using non-biased language.
We continue to partner with WayFinding Partners as they work with us on developing a long-lasting DEI strategy at Clarus. This includes the company partaking in a workshop called 'Let's Talk About Race' — opening our eyes to racism in our society and how we can defeat it."
Learn more about Clarus and their open roles here
7. Centering Black Culture and History — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
"For more than 10 years, Blue Cross NC's African-American and Black Employee Network (AABEN) has created meaningful programming for employees each February in honor of Black History Month. The network has hosted various events to celebrate African-American culture through song, dance, poetry and more. Their programming also provides education and awareness. Topics have ranged from historic Black Wall Street in Durham, to a panel of employees sharing how their hair is part of their identity and how corporate America can be more inclusive of cultural differences, to hearing directly from Black leaders who share their career journey and lessons learned."
Learn more about Blue Cross NC and their open roles here
8. Highlighting Black Luminaries — MongoDB
"To celebrate Black History Month, members of TUPOC — MongoDB's affinity group for people of color — highlight Black luminaries via daily posts in the #black-history Slack channel, a channel that's open year-round but is especially active in February. TUPOC will also honor Black History Month by hosting a company-wide event, and all employees will have access to a cross-company event celebrating Black History."
Learn more about MongoDB and their open roles here.
9. Celebrating and Supporting Black Futures — PagerDuty
"This year, our Black employee resource group at PagerDuty, Array, is approaching Black History Month with the theme 'Black Futures Month: Excellence, Resilience, and Equity.'
Our programming is designed to celebrate Black excellence and highlight our resilience, in order to build an equitable future. We'll be partnering with other employee resource groups representing Black talent across the Tech sector, hosting our first meeting with our first Black board member, Dr. Alec D. Gallimore, fundraising and volunteering with a local middle school of predominantly Black students, and introducing a mentorship program for our Black employees."
Learn more about PagerDuty and their open roles here
10. Empowering Growth and Development — CSL Behring
"CSL Behring will be formally launching the Promising Futures Scholarship mid-February. This scholarship program will award 37 scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 annually.
The program has been specifically set up for our Black colleagues and their dependents to provide financial empowerment and support professional career growth & development."
Learn more about CSL Behring and their open roles here
11. Learning Through Film, Art, and History — Autodesk
"This year in honor of Black History Month, Autodesk is kicking off our festivities with our speaker series. This development opportunity will promote our growth as we learn about the power of storytelling and why we need to call on courage to increase mutual understanding and foster a sense of belonging. In addition to team events, we've partnered with MoAD, the Museum of the African Diaspora, to facilitate film viewings and discussions across culture, art, and Black history."
Learn more about Autodesk and their open roles here
12. Hosting Ta-Nehesi Coates and Town Halls — T. Rowe Price
"T. Rowe Price remains committed to equity and is mindful of the socioeconomic impact of systemic racism. To foster learning on the history of racism and the myriad of ways it shows up in our communities, the firm hosted local and national experts in the last several months. The firm is also providing opportunities to connect with Black leaders within the firm, virtually.
Next month, MOSAIC @ T. Rowe Price, the firm's business resource group (BRG) focused on promoting inclusivity and attracting, developing, and retaining diverse talent, will host New York Times bestselling author Ta-Nehesi Coates. He is the keynote speaker for our annual Black History Month event.
The BRG will also host a town hall to discuss the firm's vision to become a more equitable and inclusive workplace for Black professionals. The discussion will be led by Black leaders with representation from the Management Committee and several advocacy groups."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price and their open roles here
13. Sparking Curiosity and Dialogues — Bounteous
"Bounteous honors Black History Month to pay tribute to the accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history. This year, Bounteous' affinity group, b: shades, curated a collection of events that span the entire month. The events include movie screenings, trivia nights, a brave space conversation, and a guest speaker appearance by Dr. Annice E. Fisher. Additionally, our team will host a special edition of our Get to Know Bounteous info-session on February 11 at 12:00PM CT for people who attend or have attended Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) and any person who identifies as Black/African American and/or a Person of Color. Bounteous celebrates all month long through these educational and social events geared towards sparking curiosity and hopefully, a dialogue."
Learn more about Bounteous and their open roles here
14. Celebrating Trailblazers — New Relic
"In honor of Black History Month, our Relics of Color ERG has put together a spectacular lineup of
events and activities to celebrate Black excellence in tech and beyond. This month, we will celebrate our inaugural Mikey Butler Day. Mikey was a VP of Engineering at New Relic until his passing in late 2019. He was a trailblazer in technology, and an amazing and inspiring leader, coach, and mentor. Other activities include a fishbowl discussion on 'What Does Black History Mean to You?' and a Black Trail Blazers employee spotlight series celebrating our Relics of Color."
Learn more about New Relic and their open roles here
15. Reading and Learning Together — CarGurus
"Our People of Color (POC@CarGurus) Employee Resource Group (ERG) will be sponsoring multiple events in celebration of Black History Month (some events will be co-sponsored with several of our internal ERGs). These events will consist of speaker series, workshops, and group (virtual) activities!
Events planned include a discussion with Gretchen Sorin, author of Driving While Black, a Black History Month Stump Trivia night, a reading of Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, and a Family Reading Night where we will by providing children's books written by Black authors."
Learn more about CarGurus and their open roles here
16. Launching an Employee Resource Group — Mindbody
"Mindbody will be celebrating Black History Month with the inaugural launch of our Mindbody Black Alliance ERG. MB Black Alliance members have developed a full program of content to celebrate, educate and foster awareness of black culture everywhere, from past to present. We will be highlighting our own team member stories and aligning them with the businesses that we serve."
Learn more about Mindbody and their open roles here
17. Addressing Workplace Equity — StackOverflow
"BnB creates a safe space for Black and Brown employees within Stack Overflow. Instead of working with only one team on initiatives or confining programming to one month, BnB partners with Stack's leadership to address workplace equity across multiple dimensions, long-term. This includes:
- Helping all employees educate themselves on racial injustice
- Partnering with HR on D&I efforts
- Providing leadership opportunities for employees of color
- Ensuring content channels - from our popular blog to our podcast - are inclusive in their approach to storytelling
- Donating resources like money, products, and services to organizations that promote the social advancement of people of color"
Learn more about StackOverflow and their open roles here
18. Stories Untold — CallRail
"Our goal is to make Black history more relatable to people who aren't as familiar with the Black experience. Historically, Black History Month is associated with overcoming struggles and highlighting injustices. We want to demystify the Black experience through focusing on Black lives throughout the African diaspora. There are many untold stories of diverse culture, unity, and joy that we feel should be shared as a part of our history."
Learn more about CallRail and their open roles here
19. Supporting the Fight Against Racial Injustice — Folsom Labs
"Folsom Labs is celebrating Black History Month by focusing on community support. It is important to us to show our continued support for the Black Community not only in February but as an ongoing company initiative. Last year we held an employee charity matching event to support those that are doing critical work in the fight against racial injustices. On our team, we believe long-lasting change starts from within. So this year, not only are we kicking-off Black History Month with another charity event, but we're also focusing on ongoing DEI education and training for employees."
Learn more about Folsom Labs and their open roles here
20. Volunteering and Learning Through Film — Commvault
"At Commvault we are excited to host our 2nd Black History Month celebration. Even though this year we are virtual, we have kicked things off with a Martin Luther King Memorial Virtual Tour, on MLK Day, for our Vaulters and their families. Vaulters in the US were excited to have a day to reflect and volunteer in their communities. Our Multi-Culture ERG is blogging internally daily about prominent Black figures, weekly Black History Trivia, and will end the month with filmmaker Keith Beauchamp who will talk about Black history and share his film The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till."
Learn more about Commvault and their open roles here
21. Spotlighting Black Excellence — NBA
"The NBA is honoring Black History Month with the following initiatives:
- "#BlackExcellence Spotlight – Internal NBA website (Home Court) will spotlight Black employees across the company as they reflect on 2020, look ahead to the future and share details about what work they are proud of, in or outside of the office.
- Player Conversation – Current NBA player will join a virtual conversation about the fight for racial justice, how he supports Black businesses, celebrates Black culture and more.
- Virtual volunteer opportunities with the YesSheCanCampaign and Jersey Cares
- NBA Town Hall on Leaguewide Social Justice Efforts"
Learn more about the NBA and their open roles here
22. Hosting Fireside Chats - Procore
"Black History Month in the U.S. takes place each year in February. This year, we turned to members of Procore's African [Descent[ Council (PAC) employee resource group to learn what the month means to them—and why it matters to the communities in which we live and work.
One of the many ways we're celebrating Black History Month at Procore is by hosting an internal virtual fireside chat about the life and legacy of Black leaders and the significance of the month. All employees have been invited to join select speakers for a discussion about the annual commemoration and ways to get involved. The fireside chat is part of an ongoing speaker series that explores stories and conversations around life, race, gender, social justice, and equality. Learn more about Procore's Employee Resource Groups and ongoing efforts to build a more inclusive and diverse future."
Learn more about Procore and their open roles here.
23. Educating & Celebrating with Events, Guest Speakers, and More — Raytheon Technologies
"In honor of Black History Month, our Raytheon Black Employee Network (RAYBEN) employee resource group has planned a series of events that educate, celebrate, and honor the importance of Black history. This month-long program of events focuses on the cultural diversity of the Black community, moments in Black history, guest speakers, including former football running back Brian Mitchell and poet Nikki Giovanni, and games that bridge the gap between the past and the future. We also use this opportunity to highlight our Black employees throughout the month."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies and their open roles here.
24. Facilitating Courageous Conversations — Lockheed Martin
"Our theme for Black History Month 2021 is, 'The Black Family: Representation, Diversity and Identity.' Lockheed Martin's African American Council for Excellence (AACE) Business Resource Group will use Black History Month to explore the wide-ranging diversity of the black family life through educational content, presentations and courageous conversations. We will also use this month to bring families together and reconnect as we view black stories and learn to make a simple meal where everyone can contribute. What's more? Our focus won't end there. Beyond Black History Month, AACE will support multiple programs to recruit, retain and develop black employees and give back to our community."
Learn more about Lockheed Martin and their open roles here.
We asked 30+ women how you can make 2021 your best year yet.
Resolutions are one thing. Goals are another.
How do you move from vaguely hopeful statements about what 2021 will mean for you personally and professionally to thoughtful plans that are likely to come to fruition?
You set good goals. Specific goals. Goals that tie back to your values, goals that can be tracked, goals that make you excited to get out and start working towards them.
We asked 32 incredible and accomplished women about the advice they'd share with anyone looking to make 2021 their year. Here's what they had to say!
1. Make goal setting a ritual.
Sure, a new year is just a change of date, an arbitrary way to mark time. But if we create meaning around it, it can become something else entirely. Carmen Kelly, Training & Development Team Leader at Quicken Loans, likes to see it as a real beginning. "I enjoy embracing the fresh, new year with hope of what could be, and a huge part of that is goal setting," she says. "Having goals in life is essential. Even creating goals for different areas of your life is key. This can help with making sure you are balancing out all critical aspects of your life that are most important to you."
Starting with reflection can help make sure that your goals are well-connected to where you are mentally, personally, and professionally. "I always start with reflecting on my past to gain better understanding of myself," says Ankita Patel, Principal Software Engineer at Clarus. "What my capabilities are versus what I really foresee myself doing in next quarter or so. It allows me to see where I stand, what difficulties I have faced, and to shift my perspective from doubting myself to believing in myself. It forms the baseline of starting fresh and helping me plan for my future."
For Jess Tsai, VP of Business Operations at VTS, the ritual of goal setting begins with a long journaling session. "I reflect on the last year and rate myself on a scale of 1-10 for how happy I am in these ten areas: health, emotional/mental, relationships (friends/family), love/romance, service, learning/personal growth, experiences, spirituality, career, and finances," she says. "In the areas where I scored lower, I reflect on why. Then I go through each area and write out in detail what my life would look like if I scored 10 in each area, and try to visualize that life and feel like I'm already there. Depending on my scores and what's most important to me right now, I set some intentions for where I want to focus for the year."
2. Build around your values.
Disparate goals scattered across different aspects of life aren't as likely to motivate you as one set of goals that coalesce around a theme, says Jac Le, a Senior Territory Sales Representative at Autodesk. "Whether or not you're conscious of it, values are the foundation of goals, dreams, character, and decision making," she says. "Instead of creating New Year Resolutions, I create a Theme that I want to focus on for the year, which is based on my values. It can be a word or phrase. From there, every goal set throughout the year is measured in alignment with that Theme to ensure that my goals are an expression and enhancement to my values instead of a stressor to check off."
If you're having trouble thinking of a good place to start from, or naming the values that drive your everyday life, Dipabali Chowdhury, a Learning & Development Specialist at MongoDB, has advice that can help. "The more self-awareness you can build, the more specific your goals will be and the more motivated you will be. Sometimes, we set goals without understanding what's important to us. We follow someone else's compass instead of our own," she says. She suggests asking yourself reflection questions: "When I was happy at work, what contributed to that joy? When and why was I frustrated at work? What mindsets held me back from achieving my goals this year? What challenges did I overcome? What are my natural strengths? What skills, knowledge, or behaviors do I want to build in the new year?"
Claire Lucas, Senior Manager, Services Operations at Elastic, suggests beginning with an end vision in mind. "I work backwards," she says. "I journal about my vision for the end of the year, trying to think about it uninhibited from any constraints. I then focus on creating a declaration for myself that will help me break through to reach my goals. The declaration ties together who I am today, and who I need to be in the future to fulfill this goal."
3. Consider making personal and professional goals in harmony.
You might have personal goals that are completely unrelated to what you do at work. That's okay! Great, even. But you do need to make sure that they are complimentary at least so far as how they'll be achieved, says Lee Ann Mangels, Senior Director of Program Management at Clyde. "Your personal and professional goals have to be somewhat aligned. If you decide to improve your time management in the new year, it will only work if the practice or process you start applies to your home and work life," she says. She gives an example: "Several years ago, I started taking 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon to review the week ahead. What meetings do I need to prepare for? What are we having for dinner? Do I have to coordinate any personal appointments for our family? Investing 30 minutes on Sunday has been a game changer for me."
4. Start big, then whittle down as needed.
Being aspirational when you make your goals is key—but so is creating a practical plan to achieve them. "I always try to look at the bigger picture [when goal setting]," says Beatriz Alvarez, Talent Acquisition Sr. Analyst - Recruitment Events Lead at Lockheed Martin. "I try to set a long term goal that seems impossible, making sure it is measurable, down-to-earth, and real—and most importantly, that it is motivating. Once I have my eyes on the prize, I strategize by setting up a group of smaller goals that will help me achieve it."
That being said, it's important to not lose sight of those aspirations, either. Amanda Fennell, Chief Security Officer at Relativity, has advice for finding the Goldilocks moment between too-easy and too-hard goals, finding the just-right pace where you're pushing yourself: "You never know how far you can go unless you set stretch goals. If I only set goals that I knew I could ace, it would be stacking the deck. I want to know how far I can push myself and in taking this approach, I have achieved some pretty amazing things. As Captain Marvel says: 'Higher, further, faster.'"
Yasameen Raissinia, APAC Commercial New Business Manager at Smartsheet, is a fan of the stretch goal, too. "I always like to push myself either personally or professionally to hit smaller attainable goals that add up to a big audacious goal. For example, I always try to set the goal of getting to the Presidents Club which typically has a goal post of 130%, which is massively difficult to achieve. In order to get there, I try and break down my weeks and my quota to overachieve, and try to give myself smaller goals around numbers of accounts, or contracts I close per week, helping me get to the major and impressive goal!" she says.
Bridget Barrot, Chainalysis's VP of Customer Success, has a three-step framework for getting that balance right. "The best lesson I've learned about setting goals is they need to be simplistic, realistic, and strategic," she says. "Simplistic: It's important to find things that are easy to measure, so that you can regularly assess them. Anything that requires too much work to analyze will set you up for failure. Realistic: Stretch goals are important, but it's also important to be practical about what you can complete in any quarter or year. When they get too lofty or too numerous, it's easy to just give up on them all together. Strategic: It's important to differentiate between goals and a 'to do' list. Goals can be a mix of big and small things, but they must be grounded in results rather than just a list of tasks to check off."
5. Write goals down.
"We're all familiar with the numerous studies that underscore the correlation between writing down our goals and our ability to achieve them," says Shavit Bar-Nahum, Senior Vice President of Leadership Development at Moody's Corporation. "The bottom line is, if it's not documented, it's less likely to happen, you are less likely to hold yourself accountable, and it's much easier to slip back into old habits and behaviors. So whether you are embarking on a new opportunity, learning a new skill, or increasing your sales objective, write it down. And not just for yourself. From documenting it in a system of record to creating a visual reminder for yourself, capture your goals in a way that you and others can see your intentions and can support you on your journey."
Going beyond writing down goals can help, too. Mary Kay Evans, pymetrics' Chief Marketing Officer, recognizes the power of writing down her own story: "One of the most challenging and rewarding exercises for me was actually writing out my story. Not goals in a bullet point list, but rather in a story format as though it's already happened. I began the year 2018 by writing the story I wanted to tell by January 2019. It was a narrative looking back on my accomplishments and challenges faced and how exactly I overcame them. By being vivid and specific, like a good narrative requires, I really had to bring my vision of the year ahead to life. It went beyond simply listing my goals to describing outcomes and how I would experience them. This preparation made all the difference as 2018 was a year of tremendous growth and accomplishment for me. It works!"
6. Find a way to track your goals over time.
The many women we talked to had different ways of tracking, but the unifying thread is that each had found a way that worked for them. Alisa Cash, Director of IT Solution Delivery at BCBSNC, sums up the key approach: "Do not set a goal that cannot be measured. This does not have to be an emphatic measurement (such as achieving 100% on time delivery = x; 90% on time delivery =y), although the more you can do this, the clearer resources tend to be."
For Sarah Morningstar, Ph.D., Data Researcher at Primer, breaking her goals into timely metrics helps. "I have found that I am more likely to achieve my goals if they include specific and actionable metrics; otherwise, it is hard to determine if I am successful," she says. "For example, one of my goals for 2021 is to practice more yoga. However, the term 'more' is vague and difficult to know when I have achieved it. Instead of more yoga, I decided I wanted that to mean that I will practice yoga at least two times per week. Over the year, I need to practice 104 times or 26 times per quarter to be successful. Each quarter I work backward from 26, I do more some weeks, and others it's less. I allow this flexibility because I know that being a mom and a working professional, I can't always control my schedule."
Amanda Sternklar, Marketing Director at State Listings, agrees, and notes that she checks in on her progress every week: "The most important thing for me is ensuring my goals are measurable, through metrics directly related to my own activities. That means that if I want to increase our blog following in the new year, my goals would look something like 'Create 3 original blog posts each week' and 'Be a guest contributor on 10 blogs in 2021.' That way, I can create a tracker—mine is a physical page in my planner, but there are also various apps that help with this—to see my progress at a glance. I review my tracker on the first Monday of each month to make sure I'm on track and figure out any steps I need to take if I'm not."
Amy Luo, Senior Product Designer at Lattice, likes identifying specific behaviors that she can easily keep in mind. "Be specific and focus on actions or behavior when defining your goals," she says. "Try setting a number you want to achieve or a completion date. It'll help keep you on track and you can clearly measure your progress toward the goal over time. For example, if you want to work on your writing skills, a general goal like 'Become a better writer' would be too vague and difficult to measure. A specific and actionable version could be 'Write for 30 minutes every day' or 'Publish an article every month.'"
For Stacey Chase, Senior Manager Internal Audit at Siemens, adding a visual element to her goal metrics is what keeps her on track. "I use a Kanban board on Trello to plan and organize my activity," she says. "In my first column I list my goals for the year and assign them a color. As I work on things throughout the year and add tasks I tie them back by color to the goal the effort is in service to. This helps me multiple ways. First, it is a visible reminder I see daily or weekly of the goals I have set. Second, I am constantly tying back my efforts and time spent back to my goals. Third, it gives me early warning that my goals or my efforts may need to be reevaluated if I find most of my energy is spent on things other than my goals."
7. Don’t keep your goals to yourself!
Many of the women we spoke to highlighted how important it is for your goals, personal and professional, to exist outside of your own head. "Be sure to share your aspirations with others and ask for feedback along the way—don't assume your supervisor knows your near and longer-term plans," says Wyetta Morrow, Executive Director, Human Resources at Raytheon Technologies. That's particularly true for goals that can be advanced at work, she notes, adding, "Our career journey includes a village and it helps to have others that can advocate for you when you may not be present."
And there's no need to limit that sharing to just your manager—what about all of the other people that care about you and want to see you succeed? Janet Higgins, Vice President of Regional Sales at Ciena, suggests broadening your circle. "Build a support group around you. Share your goals and your thinking with your trusted mentors and friends. Actively think about who you can leverage in this way. Chances are they would be more than happy to reciprocate. Seeking the perspective of people outside your industry who only have your best interests at heart and are willing to give you straight honesty is pure gold," she says.
8. Considering making your goals three-dimensional.
Writing down your goals is a classic approach, but if you have a creative bent or are a more visual learner, maybe going a step farther and making a concrete representation of your goals will help you focus on them. "Try creating a vision board that includes pictures and words of the mini goals and milestones you want to focus on to help you achieve your bigger picture goal," says Gursharn Dhami, Senior Global HR Business Partner at Stack Overflow. "If you make it visible, you may just feel more accountable to accomplish what you've envisioned for yourself!"
Brooke Kaylor, Program Manager, National Security Group at Primer, agrees with the power of seeing your goals around you. "Visualize it. Decide what it is you want to do and make it so real you can touch it, see it, taste it. When I decided to change my career completely, I put things into my workspace that reminded me of where I wanted to go. Articles, photographs — anything that kept my focus on my goal," she says.
9. Tackle the hardest things first—if that’s possible (ribbit).
There's an argument to be made for starting with easy wins, but Laura Ripans, Datadog's Director of Channels & Alliances, won't be making it. "Get the important things done first," she says. "For me, this is early in the morning when I have no distractions. Stay focused and concentrate on the things that matter most." She suggests reading Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. "There's an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're done with the worst thing you'll have to do all day. For Tracy, eating a frog is a metaphor for tackling your most challenging task—but also the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life," she says.
As it turns out, Claudia Petrocchi, Executive Director of HR Operations for CSL, is a big fan of the frog approach, too. "Years ago, someone shared a Mark Twain quote with me: 'If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first.' This quote clicked with me—it's so visual that it really helps me. Normally I would wait the whole day and think how awful this frog will be. But now, I'll eat the frog right away. For years I had a sticker of a frog on my laptop. So, if I had that crazy email or that crazy project, that would be my frog."
Sasi Murthy, VP, Product and Solutions Marketing at Netskope, has a visual trick to help you remember to keep that big, hard goal front and center: "Invest time in thinking about what you want to achieve, not how you will do it. Then find a jar and place a big rock or a few that represent these goals inside, and fill the rest with smaller rocks. This will be a reminder that we are most effective at anything we set out to do, when we give it the space in our 'mental jar' first, and follow it with the smaller goals."
That being said, make sure the hard thing you're going after is even possible. For Shelly Anderson Bodine, a Chief of Staff at SoftwareONE, remembering that she's operating in an environment where she can't control everything is key. "I once had a leader tell me you needed two things to get promoted," she says. "First, a position had to be available, and second, you had to be ready for the role when it was available. That feedback has always stuck with me throughout my career. I realized I really only had control over the latter. So each time I would move into a new role, I gave myself 6 months to acclimate. At that point, I evaluated what I could do to be better than the next person in the role I have and where do I want to go next. From there, I would create a list of things that would bring me closer to my end game, narrow down to the 2-3 most impactful, and those became my goals."
10. Goals aren’t set-it-and-forget-it.
If you set goals in January and ignore them from then on out, your chance of marking them "achieved" at the end of the year is low. "Try not to think of goal setting as a yearly activity," says Sarah Burke, Senior Director of Software Engineering at Ciena. "Achieving goals requires continual review and reassessment of priorities. Book some personal time in your calendar once a month to remind yourself to check in on how you're progressing and hold yourself accountable for re-adjusting. You are responsible for your success!"
11. Go beyond a 12-month horizon.
Many of the things you're most interested in—be it becoming a VP, launching your own company, writing a book, finishing an advanced degree moving to a different country, or any other number of goals—might not happen in just one year. Tami Early, VP and General Manager Sales—Major Accounts at Ciena, suggests breaking down your goals into "digestible and achievable bites." She uses the VSEM method: setting a 5+ year vision, a 2-4 year strategy, a 12-18 execution plan, and 12-month rolling metrics. "This method of goal setting allows me to think about my long- and short-term objectives, while holding myself accountable to measurable outcomes inside of a year," she says.
12. Treat yourself with grace.
You won't achieve all of your goals, and that's okay. As Megan Sykes, Contracts Manager at Elastic reminds us, "Don't set overbearing expectations on yourself. Afford yourself grace. While it's important to progress personally and professionally, we have to be adaptable to the circumstances around us (which can change over time) and live with integrity."
That's never been more important than after the year 2020. "I'm very goal orientated both personally and professionally," shares Amanda Eleuteri, a Sr. HR Business Partner at CarGurus. "Early on in my career, I would feel defeated if I didn't achieve my goals for the year. I try to be mindful that sometimes a goal is not achieved because priorities change. That was certainly the case in 2020 as needs in the business evolved and what I was focusing on shifted in response."
NSA's Meredith D., PhD, echoes the importance of revisiting, and revising, your goals: "Your goals are not meant to be set in stone! There are several factors that can require them to change, even dramatically at times. Be flexible and willing to change your SMART goals. Sometimes we can foresee that the goal is not going to be achieved in our original timeframe. Or we change our mind completely! This is not a failure. It is an opportunity to reflect and revise the goal given the new information at hand."
After all, it's about the journey, not the destination. "The process of working toward a goal is often more important than achieving the goal itself," says Stephanie Cheng, Product Engineer at Folsom Labs. "The shape or timeline of your goal can change as long as you check in with yourself and continue to consistently work toward them. It's okay if you don't achieve your goal on the first try. Working toward goals is really about building the muscle memory to form slightly better habits each year. With consistency, patience, and positivity you can build the tools you need to succeed."
Think you may want to work with one of the incredible women highlighted here? Check out open roles at the companies mentioned:
- Apply for open roles at CarGurus
- Apply for open roles at NSA
- Apply for open roles at Folsom Labs
- Apply for open roles at Autodesk
- Apply for open roles at Clyde
- Apply for open roles at Lockheed Martin
- Apply for open roles at Relativity
- Apply for open roles at Smartsheet
- Apply for open roles at VTS
- Apply for open roles at MongoDB
- Apply for open roles at Chainalysis
- Apply for open roles at Moody's Corporation
- Apply for open roles at pymetrics
- Apply for open roles at BCBSNC
- Apply for open roles at State Listings
- Apply for open roles at Lattice
- Apply for open roles at Siemens
- Apply for open roles at Raytheon Technologies
- Apply for open roles at Stack Overflow
- Apply for open roles at Primer
- Apply for open roles at Datadog
- Apply for open roles at CSL
- Apply for open roles at Netskope
- Apply for open roles at SoftwareONE
- Apply for open roles at Ciena
- Apply for open roles at Quicken Loans
- Apply for open roles at Clarus
- Apply for open roles at Elastic
With "back to school" looking just a little different this year, we asked our partner companies what they're doing to make the transition as smooth as possible for parents.
Being a parent was hard already. Then came a pandemic that shuttered schools and childcare facilities and added "teacher" and "round-the-clock caretaker" to the list of things that American parents must be for their kids. And with many schools not planning to open for several more months (and many of the ones that have opened finding that they need to shut their doors again), it's looking like that will be the case for a while. Working parents will have to continue to juggle the wellbeing, education, and raising of their children while also doing their full-time jobs either remotely or in-person as essential workers.
Many companies are stepping up to help make that juggling go a little easier.
Some already had generous policies to support parents and others are experimenting with what works for their employees for the first time. While parent-specific policies have caused a stir at some tech companies, taking care of working parents allows them to participate more fully at work and improves retention across an organization.
Here at PowerToFly, we have the privilege of partnering with companies who truly believe in creating work environments where everyone—including and especially women and underrepresented minorities—can thrive. We asked several of our clients to share ways that they are supporting the working parents on their teams in the hopes that their ideas and policies can shed some light on what industry-leading companies are doing in this space and inspire others to do the same.
So, whether you're looking for ways that your company can do better, or if you're a job seeker looking for your next role at a parent-friendly company, we hope you'll be inspired by some of these initiatives:
Flatiron Health is enabling flexibility
"With parents of school-age children facing so much uncertainty during the pandemic, Flatiron Health has extended policies to support employees with children. Flatiron promotes a flexible working environment, allowing parents the time and space to attend to childcare and facilitate education. All Flatiron employees have been given permission to work remotely until July 2021, which allows parents to move temporarily to a location that may be more ideal to coordinate childcare and schooling. This flexible environment includes empowering parents to block their calendars for childcare and schooling and communicate openly to their teams about their roles and expectations as their children return to school. In partnership with The Next Generation, the Parents' Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Flatiron Health, parents are also invited to take part in supportive discussions via Slack conversations and in smaller Zoom support groups to highlight and address the needs of the parenting community."
Learn more about Flatiron Health here.
Bridgewater Associates is investing in parental wellbeing
"In response to COVID-19, Bridgewater Associates has made several enhancements to our existing benefits program to help employees and their families stay safe, juggle their personal responsibilities, and support their overall wellbeing in this time of uncertainty. An area of focus has been supporting working parents and caregivers during this time. In addition to existing parent discussion groups, generous PTO, and unlimited sick days that provide flexibility to all, we added these new benefits with parents in mind:
- Flexible working hours
- Additional discounts for online academic support and tutoring
- Assistance in sourcing educators, distance learning supervisors, and childcare professionals
- Expanded back-up childcare options
To address the coronavirus itself, the firm assists in finding local testing options, provides case management to those testing positive, and will put on a drive-up flu vaccination clinic in the fall for all employees and families to mitigate against the compounding risk of both viruses.
More about Bridgewater's approach to benefits here."
Learn more about Bridgewater here.
Elastic is encouraging parents to “shut it down”
"Elastic is supporting parents by providing essential time off during COVID-19 with regular shut-it-down days. Shut-it-down days happen twice a month, allowing parents (and all our Elasticians) time to rest, reset, and deal with challenges. In addition, all Elasticians have four weeks of COVID time off to use if a loved one is ill, for spending time with family for things like homeschooling, or just to take care of themselves (sometimes parents need extra care, too). We've also invited experts such as parent educator Julie King to run 'Parenting in a Pandemic' seminars that offer strategies for handling a changing education environment. Lastly, our Elasticians support one another through community Slack channels that offer a safe space to share practical advice for new parents, parents with teens, homeschooling, and beyond."
Learn more about Elastic here.
PwC is subsidizing childcare
"PwC is offering an array of options to help support working parents in the ways that works best for them. The firm recently introduced a sabbatical option for up to six months, is offering enhanced support for those working reduced schedules, and is giving some roles the option to participate in job sharing. PwC has doubled its back-up care reimbursement amount to $2,000, which can be used to pay any caregiver—including friends and family members—to help with child care. The firm's emphasis on protected time provides working parents time to tend to homeschool needs during the work day. The firm is offering discounts on tuition programs, tutoring, and college admissions counseling. PwC also offers mental health support resources for its employees and their families at no cost. This includes access to 1-on-1 virtual coaching, community support groups, free meditation and well-being apps, trauma counseling and online resources."
Facebook is changing employee evaluation
"Facebook made several changes to support our employees during this time. We removed all performance ratings as a way to address the anxiety, uncertainty, and conditions we were all dealing with. We introduced new paid-time off programs to care for family and are offering flexibility to our employees in terms of work schedules—allowing for alternate working hours—and the ability to go offline for chunks of hours, without taking paid time off. We've also provided financial support for work-from-home set ups and childcare.
By recognizing and acknowledging the variety of circumstances impacting so many people right now, we've helped to make sure that our teams empathize with this uncertainty and need for flexibility given whatever we may be facing personally. And from a recruiting perspective, we now offer candidates the ability to split their interview over multiple days.
Maxine Williams, Chief Diversity Officer at Facebook, puts it this way: 'When people feel vulnerable, they don't need you to solve the problem for them, but they do need to know that you are there for them if they need it.'"Learn more about Facebook here.
Schneider Electric is listening to parents
"At Schneider Electric, we are focused on listening to our working parents and quickly adapting to their needs as school starts back in this challenging environment. We have encouraged parents to take advantage of existing programs like flexible work arrangements, added more options (like online, phone, chat, and video counseling options) through our EAP for those needing additional support, and introduced new programs like temporary part-time options to better manage life's current demands. We are working alongside employees so they know they are not alone; bringing in external experts for live virtual sessions, offering forums for employees to share their concerns and ideas, and providing virtual training on everything from practical remote-working tips to how to build resilience and avoid burnout. The employee feedback we gain from surveys and crowdsourcing will lead to additional programs and resources in the coming weeks."
Learn more about Scheider Electric here.
CarGurus is seeking to understand parents' needs
"We aim to create a safe space for parents to share their concerns, fears, emotions and other thoughts pertaining to back to school. We have offered the following to the parents at CarGurus:
- An employee resource group (ERG) for working parents and caregivers to give a voice for the organization's parents
- Informal roundtable discussions with the working parents and executives at CarGurus to communicate any frustrations and discuss tips, tricks, and thoughts on how to care for children as we work remotely during the pandemic
- Unlimited paid time off (PTO), which the senior executive team highly encourages the company to use
- Options to decrease or end contributions to dependent care FSAs when camps and childcare facilities closed
- A premium membership to Care.com for all CarGurus employees
CarGurus' goal is to keep discussions open with our Parent ERG and continue to be flexible in terms of receiving feedback and adapting as the school year progresses. Knowing that what works this month may not work next month, we believe that being flexible and understanding will be one of the best things we can do for the working parents at CarGurus."
Learn more about CarGurus here.
Bounteous is providing resources to make schooling easier
"Bounteous understands that the school season will look a little different this year. Whether children have opted for in-person or remote learning, we know that this is unchartered territory for our parents. To navigate through this work and school from home experience, our team has created a B: Connected Guide filled with professional resources, helpful videos, and links as well as a calendar complete with supplemental activities to support families throughout the day.
Team members can access creative learning pages and inclusive social opportunities to engage children of all ages, including college-bound students. This guide also provides parents with tips around safe social interaction and a list of extracurriculars ranging from books clubs to cooking lessons, and more. We want to put our team members at ease and provide stability in and outside of the Bounteous community."
Learn more about Bounteous here.
AAA is bringing parents together to help each other
"AAA is happy to have a dedicated Business Resource Group called Parents@AAA. Our BRG is composed of parents from all backgrounds and walks of life, who span across all levels and roles within our organization, united under the common goal of supporting working parents. We are supporting parents and their children's unique back-to-school situations by providing resources tailored to their individual needs. We have compiled information on COVID requirements and district expectations across our 7 states, in one place for parents to easily navigate. We actively provide ongoing tips and best practices for parents to navigate these uncharted waters. We provide our parents with resources through our Employee Assistance Program for needs like counseling, parenting tips, homeschooling resources, and work-life balance best practices. We stay in the forefront of these changing times by having so many of our team members actively involved in helping one another, together."
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is connecting parents with childcare resources
"We want to say to working parents: we see you, and we want to help. Nearly a quarter of our workforce at Blue Cross NC has children age 13 and younger at home. While our own onsite backup childcare center will be closed through at least the end of 2020, we're supporting our parents in many ways during this time. We're:
- Providing qualified employees with a childcare subsidy to help offset costs for tutoring, remote learning supplies and equipment, childcare, and more
- Connecting our parents virtually through a "Pandemic Parenting" group on Yammer, our internal social media platform
- Offering discounts to childcare finders, like nanny services and Sitter City, and tutoring services
- Setting the expectation that leaders and employees will be open to flexible work schedules to support this new work life"
Gainsight is welcoming family member cameos
"At Gainsight, we have set up a slack support group and Employee Resource Group for employees with children. We also have arranged for flexible schedules and have a policy that welcomes children (and pets) to say hello in Zoom meetings. Over the summer, we also set up a 'Lil' Gainsters' Summer camp with Zoom meetings that included arts and crafts, reading with our CEO and CMO, and cooking segments. It was a blast!"
Learn more about Gainsight here.
Mindbody is enabling at-home school with tech
"Mindbody is implementing several new policies and support mechanisms for our working parents. We recognize that parents need flexibility in their jobs now more than ever, and to feel confident that they will not be evaluated in an inequitable fashion to their colleagues in their work performance. We are giving parents the opportunity to work with their leaders on their schedules and empowering them to do so. In addition, to create transparency for team members and their colleagues, we have updated the default Slack status options to include a designation for childcare. This indicates to others who may be contacting working parents that responses may be delayed. Additionally, there is a designated Slack channel for parents across the organization to share and connect. Finally, Mindbody is implementing a new IT hardware recycling program where our retired functional IT equipment like desktops, monitors, and laptops will be available for team members to have mailed to their homes for their children to use for distance learning. This program will be ongoing and meant to first support team members who are in need of financial assistance for IT hardware."
VideoAmp is putting parents first
"Our People Team quickly mobilized to figure out what the top concerns and priorities were for parents at VideoAmp. We used guided questions on topics like the tactics of back-to-school, emotional concerns, work implications, and employees' goals to better understand their needs. From what we learned, we're now encouraging all employees to be mindful of their peers' calendar work blocks and to respect time set aside for family meals, daily breaks, and time spent supporting their children with things like schoolwork.
Through our ongoing health and wellness initiatives, we strongly encourage kids to join our virtual dance and fitness classes with their parents. We also partner with Modern Health and offer company-funded mental health support, education, and resources for all employees and their eligible dependents. The telehealth service offers parent circles led by registered therapists where people can openly share their questions and concerns.
From its inception, VideoAmp has had a People First philosophy. We are passionate about health and wellness, and take the needs of our parent employees to heart. To this end, we offer annual vacation cash stipends to support taking time to reset and spend time with loved ones. For parents specifically, there are resources for child care and ongoing educational needs which they are eligible for from their first day at VideoAmp."
Learn more about VideoAmp here.
Chainalysis is welcoming inverted working hours
"Chainalysis has approached the COVID-19 pandemic with flexibility and grace from the start and as school resumes, we've doubled down on that approach. This translates to flexible (or inverted) working hours for parents with the full support of our leadership team and CEO as well as an environment that welcomes impromptu cameos on Zoom from children, pets, and spouses. We have a #parentlife Slack channel that gives parents an outlet to discuss back-to-school options, day to day challenges, and the inevitable novel and often humorous situations we're finding ourselves in. While we don't know what the finale of this journey looks like, we're committed to iterating and adjusting as much as possible for our team and their families."
Primer is normalizing the challenges of parenthood
"We are supporting parents by giving them explicit permission to manage their time including homeschooling during the traditional workday. At our last all-hands, our whole executive team communicated that as long as people get their work done, they are free to do it however works best for them and to take the time they need to support their kids. Second, we created a 'guide to working with parents' and circulated it around the company. This helps non-parents empathize and understand the experience parents are going through.
The main goal is to normalize what's happening so people can live their lives openly without judgment, and to make sure parents feel they can speak up about their situation."
Learn more about Primer here.
ServiceNow is investing in a culture of belonging for parents
"ServiceNow continues to pay attention to our employees' well-being by helping them avoid burnout and being mindful of external factors. We've added a stipend for employees around the world to set up their home offices, and a Perk Allowance program so employees can purchase products or services, including childcare and homeschool resources (textbooks, education classes & supplies), as well as personal technology equipment and packages to support at-home learning for kids. Even ServiceNow's Workplace Services teams around the world got creative, coming up with ways to keep employees connected with social activities in a virtual environment. From regular fitness classes to family game nights, to virtual happy hours and even cooking classes, the employee activities served as reminders of our culture of belonging, even when people couldn't be physically together."
Learn more about ServiceNow here.
Kensho is getting creative (hello, Uber Eats family dinners and No Meeting Thursdays)
"Kensho has always fully supported working parents and this unprecedented time is no exception. It's not enough to say we have a 'flex schedule'; you have to walk the talk, and our leadership team does just that. Our CEO, Adam Broun, recently mentioned in a company-wide meeting that schools will be back in session, which may impact parents' schedules, and we will work with them to meet their needs. In addition to flexible schedules, we offer a monthly stipend for Uber Eats for families to enjoy a meal together, as well as 'No Meeting Thursdays,' which helps parents plan their schedules. We also have the Kensho Parents Slack channel where parents support each other by sharing current news articles, words of encouragement, ideas and of course bragging about and sharing pictures of our beautiful children. And on the days when flexible schedules and friendly advice isn't enough, we have our unlimited vacation policy to use to recharge. The Kensho Family extends far beyond the walls of our offices and we truly care about each individual Kenshin."
New Relic is expanding access to childcare
"To better support Relics as we continue during shelter-in-place, we have added a few more items to our support options for caregivers. New Relic is committed to supporting our employees during this challenging time and helping to bring some relief to our employees and their families. Expanded options include:
- Access to Care.com memberships to help employees find trusted caregivers
- Subsidized backup care services for emergency backup needs
- Access to Virtual Babysitter Club, a network of professional performers who immerse children in remote social entertainment for an hour at a time that allows parents to catch a break or get some focus time and can be booked with <24 hours' notice. Activities include adventure games, dance parties, trivia, interactive magic, and puppet shows
- Options to go part-time or take leaves of absence"
Learn more about New Relic here.
Quip is celebrating employees' children
"Parents have a lot on their plates, from juggling work, caring for their families, and balancing busy schedules. Here are some resources available to support parents as children resume schooling:
- "Kiddos" Chat Room: Parents can share their experiences, ask questions, and support each other as we navigate what the new school year looks like.
- B-Well Together Pandemic Parenting series: B-Well Together is a daily 30-minute webinar series, and Friday mornings are dedicated to the topic of parenting during this pandemic
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources include free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and work-life services.
- COVID-19 Global Back-up Child Care: Services include reimbursement for child care and educational support, such as tutoring and learning pods.
- And because we can always use a little more cheer, we recently hosted a Kiddos Live Show where our kiddos showcased their many talents."
Autodesk is piloting a new child care leave program
"Many Autodeskers around the world continue to work from home to stay safe with their loved ones. While working from home has its perks, it also comes with challenges for parents who are balancing both work and parenting. To support our working parents, Autodesk launched the Remote Learning Child Care Leave program in anticipation of the new school year. The program is designed to give parents the flexibility and support to spend time during the work week to focus on their child's needs. Check out @AutodeskLife to see the #AutodeskParents campaign and hear from our Autodeskers on #parentWFHtips."
Learn more about Autodesk here.
Netskope is letting parents choose what's right for them
"Here at Netskope, we understand the challenges that come with managing a workload and children's educational needs. To support health, safety, and our working parents, our offices will remain closed throughout 2020 to provide our employees with the flexibility to be home with their children. We trust that employees will manage their schedules as needed, and invite them to be creative. Some start their day later so they can use the morning to focus on school. Others are working four 10-hour days per week so they can spend a weekday focusing on the educational needs of their children. We encourage our employees to find out what works best for each of them and continue the open dialogue with their management teams. Our employees are the key to the success of our business, and with support and togetherness, we will get through this difficult time."
Learn more about Netskope here.
uShip is leaning into flexible work
"We're supporting our parents by allowing as much flexibility as possible. uShip is not requiring anyone return full time back to the office. We've actually thrived as a remote workforce, and it's really made us challenge the way we view effectiveness of in person collaboration. We're being supportive and flexible with schedules as well, asking parents to block off time when they know they'll be away for an extended period to help with personal matters and schoolwork. We've also found a way to continue providing home-cooked family meals every Friday from our chefs for touchless pick up at our office. There's also a uShip Slack channel dedicated to parents where we can share tips and provide encouragement to each other."
Raytheon Intelligence & Space is helping parents work around school schedules
"Raytheon Intelligence & Space's ultimate success as a company is dependent upon our most important asset — our people. Over the past six months our leaders have been working with their teams to create a culture that allows our workforce to thrive as we continue to adjust to our new work environment. We have listened to employee feedback around childcare challenges and particularly school schedules. Many of our employees are parents now juggling hybrid and remote schooling while simultaneously working to meet our customer commitments. While there is no simple solution, we are thinking creatively to identify solutions that meet the needs of both the business and of our employees. For example, we have made several tools available including flexible work arrangements, Bright Horizons Back-Up Care and Family Support, and our Employee Assistance Program. We are focused on helping our employees navigate these unique and uncertain times."
Learn more about Raytheon Intelligence & Space here.
This summer, as the extrajudicial murders of Black Americans prompted renewed focus on the Black Lives Matter movement, companies and organizations across the United States started to center the experiences of their Black employees and prioritize conversations about race in a real way.
Some companies already had robust diversity and inclusion initiatives that combated some of the systematic injustice Black workers face. Many more, though, realized they had to invest in building them. That work started with learning what it takes to be a truly anti-racist—not just non-racist—workplace. Many companies have gotten quieter about Black Lives Matter since June, so we wanted to know what companies were doing to make good on the promises they made earlier this year.
Here at PowerToFly, we're lucky enough to partner with industry-leading companies who really believe in creating equitable work environments where diverse talent can thrive. We interviewed several of our clients to learn about the ways in which they're working to build anti-racist workplaces. We hope that their answers provide some transparency to the ongoing work companies are doing to ensure that their stated commitments to DEI translate into meaningful action, and inspire other companies to follow suit.
Mindbody empowers employees to act
"It is not effective to be 'not racist.' It hinders change and slows the momentum needed to break down long standing barriers individuals experience. Mindbody believes we must be 'anti-racist' and lean into this topic and lead by example. We have focused our attention on educating our team, through formal education such as small group trainings and larger webinars teaching us about our Unconscious Bias, How to be an Inclusive Leader, How to Cope with Civil Unrest, and Raising Diversity in the Home, and through informal education such as fireside-like conversations with our team members, hearing their specific experiences with racism. One key learning we have had recently at Mindbody is around a word we commonly used to use, 'ally.' We have had to shift the meaning of being an ally, as something active vs. something passive. We have asked our employees to be active allies and stand up and share their thoughts and experiences on these topics. We have given our employees a new volunteer day off to be used July-September 2020 to volunteer for an organization of their choice and focus on a way they can actively create change. If all 1,200 employees give 8 hours, this will give almost 10,000 hours of active work to create the change we need in this world."
Learn more about MINDBODY here.
Moody's invests in community-building events
"Moody's is committed to a diverse and inclusive culture. We aspire for Moody's to be a place where everyone feels comfortable being their true selves, where we demonstrate empathy and civility – and where we celebrate the differences that make us stronger. To further our commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion at Moody's and racial justice in the communities where we live and work, we proudly share an array of events we held in June and July 2020.
Thousands of employees attended one or a mix of 43 events we've held across the world on racial justice, including our racial justice town hall, signature Juneteenth event, learning sessions from our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), and Moody's Courageous Conversations and Moments That Matter series.
The reach and success of these events was made possible through strong employee leadership and participation – especially from our Diversity and Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility teams and employee-led Multicultural ERG and Black Inclusion Group."
Learn more about Moody's here.
T. Rowe Price drives awareness through conversation
"Although the pandemic continues to separate associates physically, the firm's collaborative culture and united stance on racial equity has galvanized employees to use their voices to promote equality. Bill Stromberg, President and CEO, issued a public statement on June 4 that reflects our commitment to fighting racial injustice. In addition to the T. Rowe Price Foundation committing $2 million to organizations working to fight racial injustice, the matching gift program is available to employees who are interested in financially supporting racial equity causes.
To ensure the cultural conversation continues, the firm has held dozens of Diversity Dialogues across the company. These sessions are facilitated by thought leaders and experts in diversity and inclusion and provide employees with a safe space to speak candidly about their experiences to leadership and colleagues. This comes on the heels of T. Rowe Price evolving its business resource group, MOSAIC, which helps drive multicultural awareness at the firm, into three heritage communities – Black/African American, Latinx, and Asian – to promote an even greater sense of belonging. T. Rowe Price is encouraging employees to tap into resources available on TRPConnects, an internal social media site which offers mental health and wellness information, personal accounts and stories from colleagues about their experiences with racism, and educational resources on systemic racism."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price here.
PwC supports direct action in their community
"PwC stands against racism in the workplace, in our communities and in our country and is taking six actions to combat racial justice. The firm is taking steps to support its Black professionals, to improve diversity and inclusion efforts within the organization, and to contribute to the efforts of those who are fighting for racial justice and equality on the front lines. Specifically, this includes donating time to social justice organizations, giving employees one week of utilized time each year to volunteer with nonprofits, and supporting students and teachers in underserved communities to build a more diverse, tech-skilled future workforce, among other commitments. PwC people are encouraged to support each other and speak out against bias and stigma, to join one of our inclusion networks and to participate in blindspots training. The firm is also offering free racial trauma counseling for PwCers and their families."
Learn more about PwC here.
Invesco prioritizes listening and accountability
"After the senseless killing of George Floyd ignited protests against police brutality and racial inequity, Invesco was quick to speak out and take action. In an open letter to clients and employees from President & CEO Marty Flanagan we said forcefully that Black lives matter. Our zero-tolerance approach to racism of any kind is embedded in our existing programs, such as unconscious bias training for all managers. We implemented a series of listening sessions with clients, the Invesco Black Professionals Network, and other internal Business Resource Groups. Communications kits for managers encouraged dialogue within teams and Juneteenth was established as a paid holiday for US employees. We continue to build anti-racism programs and will hold ourselves accountable by measuring our ability to increase hiring, promotion and retention of diverse colleagues. Our CEO joined over 500 business leaders to urge Georgia lawmakers to sign the Hate Crimes legislation into law."
Learn more about Invesco here.
Snap strengthens allyship
"At Snap, creating a fairer, more inclusive, and truly anti-racist culture is everyone's job. Above all, this problem is not for underrepresented groups — or a DEI team — to solve. And so, to create a truly inclusive and anti-racist culture at Snap, we need our team members to become skilled allies.
We launched our Allyship Program in February 2020, with the objective to support Snap team members and turn goodwill into good action. The Allyship Program combines bold personal storytelling and frank conversations to inspire empathy and build awareness with formal workshops to equip team members with the knowledge, resources, skills and inspiration to be good allies in the workplace."
Learn more about Snap here.
S&P Global makes D&I a core part of business
S&P Global has most recently committed to accelerating progress through the following actions: leading courageous conversations with employees across teams to develop greater understanding around issues of racial justice; expanding our full-time staff devoted to advancing Diversity & Inclusion; doubling our financial investments in D&I initiatives and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs); expanding existing inclusion training globally to address bias and microaggressions; and contributing USD $1M via the S&P Global Foundation to non-profit organizations that support equity and racial justice. In 2018, the Company added a D&I metric to its strategic goals to track performance, and the global D&I Council leads and governs all such efforts across the enterprise.
Learn more about S&P Global here.
VideoAmp prioritizes education for their entire team
"The inflection point for us began the week of George Floyd's murder.
As a young and rapidly growing ad tech company, we paused and looked at where we could improve and grow from the Black Lives Matter movement. The VideoAmp executive leadership team spoke openly about the events during an All-Hands and from that meeting, the People Team took some immediate actions like the observation of Black Out Tuesday and making Juneteenth an annual company holiday. We felt these actions provided time and space for reflection and increased awareness of racial injustice in our country. And instead of having a purely top-down approach, we quickly launched our Employee-led Advisory Group (EAG) to create actionable, sustainable and meaningful ways to grow as an organization, ensuring all employees could be seen and heard. Over 100 employees quickly rallied together - the EAG now meets twice a week and has already formed actionable initiatives in three categories: 1.) Learn through self-education 2.) Participate in community outreach and 3.) Give Back through time and financial contributions. The group not only brings plans to life but also measures what success will look like with KPIs around specific initiatives to drive accountability for VideoAmp.
We continue to explore ways to educate our organization on the specific needs of the Black community and how to combat racism through proactive and ongoing learning and resource-sharing. We recognize that we still have a lot to learn. We formed a thought-leader speaker series with Dionna Smith from the PowertoFly team as our inaugural presenter. She spoke on power, privilege and how to be an ally for change. This first presentation drew an audience of over 100 employees which was 61% of the VideoAmp employee base. We've also launched a book club, featuring Black authors with physical books purchased from Black-owned bookstores, and have scheduled film and TV viewing events to further increase our knowledge and awareness of Black history and racial injustices in America. In addition, we share timely content related to the Black Lives Matter movement through a weekly company-wide newsletter and we have offered the opportunity to be part of Allyship Healing Circles through our partnership with Modern Health, among other mental health support at no cost to our employees and their dependents.
Lastly, through our partnership with PowerToFly, we're continuing to implement more assertive diversity hiring and recruitment practices, making VideoAmp a place where anyone can feel valued and inspired to thrive. We're on a mission to further diversify our workforce and drive a culture where all people feel they belong and are educated on how to be an ally for change in our organization and our communities."
Learn more about VideoAmp here.
Lattice partners with employees and customers to drive change
"To ensure an anti-racist work environment and help combat racism, Lattice took to company-wide crowdsourcing for different ways to help. Once we gathered a substantial list, ERG groups worked with our Leadership team to prioritize and assign items to individuals and teams. Examples include donation & support opportunities, company-wide allyship/anti-racist training, and we're finding/building ways to support our customers' DE&I efforts through our people management platform."
Learn more about Lattice here.
Kensho keeps the conversation going via continuous education
"Kensho is committed to educating our employees and fostering an anti-racist culture. Kensho employees recently attended The Adaway Group's Whiteness at Work virtual summer series. This was a four- part series addressing: Whiteness at Work, White Dominant Culture, Building Anti-Racist Skills and Operationalizing Racial Equity. After each session our Head of DEI, Shea Kerr, lead a debrief discussion to give employees the opportunity to discuss what they learned, as well as share their own experiences. This was a great way to bring these issues to the forefront and keep the conversation going with our employees. Kensho's DEI Committee is also working on bringing in additional DEI focused training that will take place throughout the year."
Learn more about Kensho here.
CarGurus creates a welcoming work environment
"At CarGurus, we strive to build and nurture a global culture where inclusiveness is a reflex, not an initiative. We are all responsible for fostering an anti-racist workplace by proactively centering diverse perspectives, amplifying underrepresented voices and deeply engaging in learning, dialogue, and action to drive forward systematic change. For us, that means investing in targeted and accessible programming and learning opportunities that enhance cultural humility, encourage growth, and promote inclusive leadership at every level. We are also striving to create more equity in our practices and policies so that everyone feels they can bring the ultimate expression of themselves to work every day despite their race, gender, or background."
Learn more about CarGurus here.
MongoDB shares resources in their team and in their community
"At MongoDB, we are committed to learning about and combating racism in the workplace. Here are some of the educational programming we have that promotes anti-racism: On August 13th, 2020, we had an internal event 'Decoding Inclusion Conversation on Race: Driving Impact with Power and Privilege' featuring Netta Jenkins (Forbes Top 7 Anti-Racism Educator), and sponsored by our CEO, Dev Ittycheria. During this session, Netta discussed the murder of George Floyd and the impact on Black people and the global community. She also discussed racial trauma and symptoms of race-based injustices
in the workplace. Members of our employee affinity group, The Underrepresented People of Color Network, shared resources for people looking to learn how to be anti-racist to support the current racial justice movement, and during our annual event, MongoDB World, we launched the MongoDB for Justice fund, in order to raise funds to enable organizations advancing anti-racism work."
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Quip centers anti-racism training across their work
"Quip believes that we have a moral responsibility to help lead the fight for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive tech industry. We acknowledge that this is a challenging and ever-changing area, and takes ongoing work. We believe that diverse and inclusive teams are essential to build the best product, to meet our business goals, and to create a work environment where people from all backgrounds can feel like they belong, which will ultimately make our entire team more successful. Quip has been actively teaching and educating team members on how to build a more anti-racist workplace through various methods:
- Hosting a book club on the book How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Creating a central repository to encourage folks to support organizations fighting racism and police brutality
- Developing a dos and don'ts messaging guide centered around racial equality
- Doing a virtual volunteering event by reading Anti-Racism Children's Book for the kids at UCSF"
Learn more about Quip here.
Relativity explores diversity within its community
"We are committed to ongoing efforts to foster a culture of inclusion and belonging at Relativity. We are proud of our new internal learning series, 'Culture Collective,' where we explore the rich diversity of identities and cultures that make up our company and the communities we serve. This is a monthly series sponsored by one of our Community Resource Groups (CRGs) called Faces of Relativity in partnership with our entire CRG community. These sessions allow us to explore cultural mindfulness and establish actionable steps for how we can make an impact as allies. In addition to the 'Culture Collective,' we host monthly deep dive conversations and learning sessions with our CRG leadership, an anti-racism toolkit curated in partnership with the CRG community, and have built out a robust internal learning curriculum for 2021 that will aim to educate Relativians on culture, unconscious bias, power/privilege, and more."
Learn more about Relativity here.
Smartsheet builds anti-racist environments, including coding ones
"A group of Smartsheet employees has been actively working to remove offensive terminology from our engineering coding language. Just like many everyday terms and figures of speech have racist roots, so too do many of the standard terms used in coding. Although this is anti-racist work that is far less visible than more common organizational initiatives (like unconscious bias and inclusion trainings, both of which Smartsheet is launching this year), it is no less important and only further highlights how ingrained racism is in our world."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Interested in discussing what it takes to build anti-racist workplaces in real time? We're hosting Allyship to Impact, a two-day free virtual conference focused on providing resources and practical guidance to combat racism at work, this September 10-11. We hope you can join us.