Before I start, I need to acknowledge that a white guy writing about diversity, equity, and inclusion seems like an odd fit. To be honest, I feel a little self conscious. In fact, I feel self conscious even telling you I feel self conscious because it briefly makes my feelings the focus here and that’s not the point. But it’s also not right to expect underrepresented communities to do all the heavy lifting and carry the water for the majority when it comes to diversifying tech. So my writing about this is my best effort to do my part and say that promoting diversity is something we should all be interested in contributing to, and that’s what Scoop is doing with its DEI program – Justin Goss
More than a month: why Scoop invests year-round in diversity
The tech community has stared down racial and gender diversity problems and mostly struggled to tackle them. While giants like Amazon, Google, and Apple have failed to fix the widening gender and racial gap, other organizations like Scoop, have prioritized diversity from the start as fundamental to building a successful company.
Even with our best efforts and intentions, we know that there is still much work to do. At the end of 2019, Scoop assembled a cross-functional task force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) with broad organizational support. The task force’s mission is to help build a culture where all employees feel safe, respected, and a sense of belonging. As part of this work, the task force members have brought forth diversity initiatives to improve education, engagement, retention, and hiring at Scoop. Since Scoop’s inception, we’ve made it a point to take a bet on ourselves and our team. This core value is central to the way we embrace new and underrepresented viewpoints.
One of the more impactful DEI efforts came this February with a celebration of Black History Month. Black historian Carter G. Woodson institutionalized Black History Month because he worried that “if a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” This powerful and timely sentiment is no more true in our society at large than it is in every company’s culture.
Celebrating Black History Month
The highlight of the DEI task force’s Black History Month programming was our in-office panel with black tech leaders Nick Caldwell, Chief Product Officer at Looker, and Ash Coleman, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Credit Karma. The panel centered around gaining real insight about the successes and setbacks they’ve seen as tech companies have tried with varying degrees of success to make DEI initiatives a priority.
The panel reminded me that this real inequality, happening in the halls of many companies, is an urgent matter. The amount of wealth, influence, and as a result, power generated within the Bay Area is tremendous. By default, not including a diverse array of individuals and experiences in tech, especially in leadership roles, means that this wealth and influence will be received by and concentrated in the hands of the majority, rather than fairly distributed across all communities.
Building a culture we can all be proud of
The point—one central to the panel— is that it’s not right to expect underrepresented communities to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to diversifying tech for the majority. My reflections and writing here can help do a small part in promoting the benefits of diversity that all of us receive, and as a result, we should prioritize contributions to advance it. This is what Scoop is doing with its DEI program.
I came away from the panel, and last month, feeling optimistic about two things. First, Scoop is showing a serious and thoughtful approach to DEI across our entire organization.
Second, we’re treating these efforts with deserved importance, and ensuring that they have broad support from both our leadership team and our co-founders. Scoop is taking a bet on itself once again that we can and should all work to build a culture that’s welcoming and reflective of a broad range of talent and lived experiences. I’m looking forward to seeing the progress we make as that bet pays off.