On May 25, 2020, our country was shocked into a racial awakening by George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police. And to those of us who weren’t fully paying attention prior to this, we were faced with an unignorable realization: racism, inequality, and outright harm to people of color is certainly not a thing of the past. Nor is racism something that only “bad apples” do. We began to truly see that racism is baked deep into our institutions, systems and policies — as a country and society.
That not only marked a turning point for me as an individual, it also marked a turning point for Intelligent Demand as an organization. This email is an update of where we are on our journey.
In June 2020 I shared my early maturity thoughts that Saying nothing and doing nothing was unacceptable. In that letter, we made some “first commitments” to do the following:
- To start asking and answering the question, What can we do to make a real, positive difference?
- Accountability: We began that questioning-and-answering process and it continues today (see below)
- To donate to Black Lives Matter and Campaign Zero in the name of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others
- Accountability: We did that. And we continue to direct our corporate giving toward nonprofits who are fighting for racial and social justice including most recently with our holiday donation campaigns and MLK Day recognition
- To donate $5,000 in free agency services for any client who will let us help them connect one of their marketing campaigns to a social justice topic before the end of 2020
- Accountability: So far, two clients have taken us up on this offer, and we continue to offer this to other clients as well. (Reach out if you are interested!)
- To commit to listening, learning, serving as a witness, being better allies, and to ACTING on our beliefs more effectively in our daily lives — both personal and professional
- Accountability: See below
Since June of 2020, here is what we have done at Intelligent Demand to help fight systemic racism and work to make our company and our industry more diverse, more fair, and more inclusive:
- We established a DEI board of advisors made up of DEI experts and BIPOC business leaders.
- Wrote and published our first DEI policy. We activated it (and continue to activate it) internally with our current employees; with new employees, as part of our new employee onboarding process; with our contractors/freelancers; and with our management team, and externally with our recruiters and partners; making it publicly available on our website, and in all of our job descriptions. We also are having authentic discussions with our management team on what our policy means in terms of their role and expectations as leaders at Intelligent Demand.
- We established a DEI Team to help inform and guide our companies diversity, equity and inclusion strategies, plans and policies. We meet at least monthly.
- We did empathy and bias training for all employees in the company. We also did empathy and bias training for every manager in the company.
- We are currently implementing online learning resources on such skills as how to recruit, interview and hire in more fair and inclusive ways.
- We are establishing a DEI road map and plan for 2021 to focus and guide our DEI efforts, and to ensure we continue our DEI efforts across the company in sustained, productive, measurable ways. Our road map will include a commitment for us to begin tracking and reporting our diversity and inclusion statistics in 2021.
- We are continuing to direct our corporate giving toward nonprofits who are fighting for racial and social justice.
- We used the Covid pandemic as an opportunity to allow ongoing virtual work for our team from anywhere across the United States. This, in addition to making it very clear with our recruiters that a diverse candidate pool is an expectation for all open positions, is already helping us to expand our diversity.
- We are extending our offer to help Intelligent Demand customers in their own DEI efforts by helping them connect their marketing to social and racial justice in creative, strategic ways.
- As Intelligent Demand’s CEO, I am sharing our company’s DEI journey with anyone who is interested — in hopes that it might positively influence other business leaders to accelerate DEI efforts at their own companies.
The truth is, we are very early in our DEI journey; we have only begun. But we are committed to it. And tenacity is one of our core values.
We are looking forward to sharing our progress again with you later this year. Until then, keep up the good fight. And please reach out if you’d like to talk about how we can work together to make our spheres of influence more diverse, more fair and more just.