SAN FRANCISCO, CA – EIN 813171336 projectinclude.org
We urge companies to implement diversity and inclusion solutions that incorporate:
Companies should improve opportunities for all employees, including all underrepresented groups. Including everyone is actually easier in the long-term and intrinsically more equitable — especially for those in more than one underrepresented group, who suffer even greater consequences.
A one-off initiative approach simply cannot achieve systemic change; in many cases it does harm. An effective solution covers all aspects of a company — its culture, its operations and its team. The CEO has to drive multiple, sustained efforts, a comprehensive approach, and a long-term commitment.
Companies and their executives should hold themselves accountable by tracking results using comprehensive surveys and benchmarks. They can show you how you’re doing, where you can improve, and who needs to improve.
Studies quantify the financial benefits of racial, ethnic and gender diversity — and the many ways diversity improves company performance. And despite all this information, our diversity problem in the United States tech industry is hard to change. Research shows how bias results in discrimination in educating, hiring, promoting, paying, and funding underrepresented people of color in tech. Tech company data show the extreme lack of diversity of employees and management.
Change is hard, especially around a multidimensional issue like diversity. It is easy for all of us to become defensive and emotional, to shift the blame to others, and to feel fundamentally unheard or misunderstood. It is so uncomfortable for us to talk about the diversity problem that we have not been able to acknowledge it in full.
Though startups are making an effort to implement diversity improvement strategies, the reality is that most are taking limited, potentially harmful actions, including one-off training5, blaming the pipeline, using language like “lowering the bar,” describing the current state of the tech industry as a “meritocracy,” and focusing on gender while maintaining insider-outsider distinctions. Unfortunately, we have seen tech culture become even more exclusive and less diverse over the last five years.
We want to help. We convened as a group of tech women to move diversity forward by facilitating hard conversations and redirecting efforts. We’d like to bring together the most innovative CEOs to design initiatives with lasting and meaningful impact—ones that drive the greatest possible improvements over time, inspire even more ambitious efforts, and transform behavior and expectations across the tech industry.
We are focusing on CEOs and management of early to mid-stage tech startups, where we believe change is possible and can have a broad impact even beyond the industry. We know how hard change and making tradeoffs are from our own experiences. Implementing these values for diversity and inclusion requires hard work across an entire company; reversing a culture is even more difficult, nuanced, and time consuming. We also know if a CEO isn’t invested in the success of D&I, these programs will not succeed.