The topic of this blog may be different than normal, but it is crucially important. Two years ago, Spectrum Customizer, and our sister firm, Pollinate, committed to acknowledging and addressing systemic racism and took action to ensure our workplace reflected our shared values of diversity, equity and inclusion. And while no accounting of effort will be sufficient, our firms have been increasing our efforts year after year. We’ve been remiss in this reporting, but we are proud that our work never stopped.
While DEI efforts at our companies began back in 2019, we refocused and accelerated those endeavors in earnest following the disturbing and devastating events of 2020, including the murder of George Floyd. Prioritizing tangible action, we achieved the following:
- Augmenting employee benefits
- Implemented employee donation matching policy, resulting in a total of $6,677 donated to 38 non-profit organizations in 2020
- Introduced 8 hours of paid Volunteer Time Off (VTO) per employee annually, totalling over 600 hours of community support each year
- Added Juneteenth as a holiday in 2020
- Acting local
- Pledged to spend company money locally. Moving forward, all employee and client gifts come from local small businesses.
- Donated 500+ hours to develop a Call to Safety and UNICA domestic violence resource awareness pro bono campaign, as a direct response to the staggering increase in domestic violence since the start of the pandemic
- Providing community resources
- Launched Portland OpenPath, a community collective with the goal of bringing diverse voices and talent into the tech and advertising industries of Portland. We offer members of overlooked communities grants to attend code school, as well as professional development assistance including resume and portfolio reviews, informational and mock interview, and networking opportunities.
- Improving the hiring processes
- Diversified the job boards where our listings appeared, to ensure they were visible and accessible to all
- Revised every job description to remove any gendered language
- Altered our interview process to be more equitable by providing question templates for hiring managers to ensure all candidates have a level playing field
- Continued discussions around unconscious-biases
- Set 2021 DEI goals across key areas, including employee onboarding and retention, pro bono work and volunteer opportunities
Since 2020, we have primarily focused our efforts in the following two areas:
- Employee onboarding and retention
- Continued our relationship with Portland Means Progress (PMP), with monthly event attendance (open to all staff) and goal setting
- Set a spending goal with minority and BIPOC-owned small businesses in Portland, OR
- Held one company-wide, virtual DEI training with Cinthia Manuel from Authentica Consulting in 2021
- Worked with Cinthia Manuel again to review internal data and practices to make recommendations for improvement
- Successfully took part in our first Emerging Leaders Internship program
- Received a grant from PMP in 2022 to meet with a DEI consultant (Jesse Hyatt from https://hyattassociates.com/) to better align our 2022 goals with what our team is able to accomplish
- We have, and will continue to move forward with our employee donation matching program, currently in its 3rd year
- Continue with virtual DEI company training
- Pro bono and volunteering
- 2021 pro bono work included a series of Spanish training videos and an ad for El Programa
- Expanded Portland OpenPath by partnering with Learning.com to offer Epicodus grants to two students
While we are proud of the steps we have taken to date, we recognize there is always more that we can do as leaders in our industries. It takes constant commitment to improve and grow. Moving forward, we will set a goal of annually publishing the results of our previous year’s DEI efforts to continue to hold ourselves accountable for this necessary work.