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Equity and Anti-Racism: PixelSpoke’s Journey in 2021

Black Lives Matter symbol

Last June, PixelSpoke, like many companies, released a statement about Black Lives Matter and our commitment to anti-racism. In it, we said:

“Making a public statement is an important first step, but if these statements only end up getting buried on company blogs, we cannot claim as a business community to have done our part. At PixelSpoke, we recognize that we have much more work to do.”

The statement is indeed now buried on our company blog, but we have been doing some work, and I wanted to share where we are in our journey.

First, let me acknowledge that diversity, equity, and inclusion work can feel hard, and with good reason, as it addresses some profoundly complicated issues. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the challenges, I’ve found that it’s important to not only lean into the discomfort, but also embrace the opportunities for growth and joy.

After all, diversity has been at the core of some of my best and most meaningful life experiences. It enriches us, gets us out of our thought bubbles and our echo chambers, and makes us more human.

One of my biggest learnings has been a personal blind spot in regards to our lack of intentionality around diversity in our recruiting and hiring process. As a company that only hires one or two times per year and lacks a full HR department, hires have historically been driven by an urgent need, leaving no time to examine our hiring process holistically. I love the line that “talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not.” We want to make sure that we are finding the best talent and not just sticking to our own networks out of inertia.

So where are we now? We have hired two wonderful DEI consultants, committed to 10 team equity trainings in the first half of 2021, formalized an internal Equity Team, re-imagined our recruiting process, and created an equity statement to guide our work:

Our shared passion for empathy, kindness, and creating positive change has motivated us to look deeply at our role in perpetuating systemic racism. To become anti-racist, we must make diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a core focus in our company strategy, policies, and practices.

We commit to ongoing anti-racism training for our staff; bringing more Black, Indigenous and people of color into our process; advocating for legislative change; and donating a portion of our profits to organizations that support anti-racism work.

Our short-term goals in Q1 and Q2 are:

  1. Identify three BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) owned businesses that are key suppliers so that we can vote with our dollars
  2. Achieve 90 percent attendance at our equity training sessions
  3. Partner with PDX WIT (Portland Women in Tech) to help us build a more diverse pipeline and support a thriving, inclusive local technology industry
  4. Organize roundtable discussions for local B Corp marketing agencies to improve our collective DEI efforts

We look forward to continuing to share our journey in the coming months and years!

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