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You Belong Here

Bianca Feliciano Nedjar
June 11th, 2020

A little more than two weeks ago, George Floyd was murdered. The days since then have marked a pivotal moment in the fight against systemic racism and injustice in the United States. We've witnessed a broad and representative cross-section of Americans take to the streets day after day in peaceful protest, demanding change. We are watching our communities turn pain into reflection and start to hold themselves responsible, asking how we got here and how we move forward. And we are awakening to wide recognition that we all own a piece of this — that we can, and we must, do better. At Gatsby we have been asking ourselves some hard questions about how we need to change so we can become better allies.

It is no secret that the tech industry is primarily white and male. As an industry built around innovation and disruption, tech has failed to do either when it comes to advancing equity. Our sector has failed to ensure fairness in hiring practices and career development for gender and racial/ethnic minorities, and all other underrepresented groups. At the root of this problem are conscious and unconscious biases deeply ingrained in our systems and culture. Implicit biases that reinforce privilege and cause us to fear rather than accept our differences. Until we recognize the power of those biases, until we begin the hard work of naming and deconstructing them to build genuine equity in the workplace, nothing will change. It is not enough to stand in solidarity with those who have been historically disenfranchised. We must now actively work to ensure equity, opportunity and advancement and remove any barriers blocking the way. But how best to do this?

This is the conversation we are having at Gatsby. And it's not a new one. We are fortunate to be a community of knowledgeable and passionate individuals who have worked to raise matters of inequity and call for accountability both within and outside of our organization. But in reckoning with the pain of the Black community we have come face to face with the ways we have failed to be the allies we want to be. By failing to actualize aggressive action within our our organization we have reinforced the inequality our team members experience outside of Gatsby. Worse, this failure diminishes the promise of psychological safety inherent in calling ourselves a community.

We are ready to change from within, deeply and permanently.

We don't have all the answers. In fact, we're still trying to ensure we are asking the right questions. What we do have right now, though, is humility. We have the humility to accept that we have fallen short of living our stated core value: You belong here. We have the humility to require more from ourselves and each other. And we have the humility to know that, even so, there are times we will falter or fail in that pursuit. Yet we are steadfast in our commitment to keep trying.

So, where do we go from here? As we move forward we believe it is important to commit ourselves publicly to this work.

Our Commitment

We commit to inclusion: To understanding and challenging our own biases so that we can create a community that promotes interpersonal risk-taking and protects everyone's ability to contribute meaningfully without fear of harm to their self image, status or career.

  • We commit to bringing in the experts and partnering with Diversity & Inclusion leaders to evaluate organizational needs. And then implement programming with the intent of deconstructing bias, facilitating meaningful conversations, and building the necessary skills to identify, address and correct exclusionary behaviors or inequitable practices in real time.

  • We commit to creating safe spaces for all team members to share and understand their experience, and empower each other to call for change when necessary, fostering psychological safety and creating a culture of feedback and candor.

  • We commit to expanding our organizational identity by incorporating and celebrating the culture and values of all Gatsbyites.

  • We commit to evaluating policies pertaining to compensation, performance reviews and career advancement to determine if there is disparate impact on the basis of gender, race/ethnicity, age, family status, mental health or other factors and taking action where needed.

We commit to diversity: To building a community of individuals whose unique perspectives and skills enrich our collective identity and make us a more effective and powerful team.

  • We commit to a data-driven assessment of our full-cycle talent acquisition process. From job descriptions to compensation, we want to understand where we lose talent from underrepresented groups.

  • We commit to making impactful changes to our interviewing practices by experimenting with iterations of blind recruitment and the Rooney rule. We want to remove any and all obstacles to a fair and equitable recruitment process.

  • We commit to refining our employer brand to ensure that our core values are represented in every touchpoint in the recruitment process and that our approach is differentiated so that it speaks to the experiences of all identities. This will allow candidates to make the best decision for themselves when it comes to joining our team.

To make sure these intentions are made visible both inside and outside of Gatsby, we commit to building measurable objectives by which to assess our progress in both diversity and inclusion so that we may hold ourselves accountable. And, finally, we commit to periodically publishing the results of these objectives to show the community what we are doing and continue to invite further conversations.

This is in no way a final or finished statement, but rather the foundation of all the work to come. An initial step taken humbly in the hope that you will hold us accountable as we learn and grow in this process. We hope you join us in the journey. Because you belong here.

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Director of Employee Engagement and Development at Gatsby; Likes consuming mass quantities of television and film, dining al fresco and Reddit.

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