I’ve gotten the question a few times since we made the switch:

“hey, why don’t you use DEI when describing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?”

It’s a good question and one I spent quite a lot of time considering before defining what made the most sense for Ascending. I’d like to share a few of those thoughts to help create clarity, consistency for those who follow, explore and/or partner with us.

First: to us, the order matters a great deal.

In our American, San Francisco Bay Area context (Ascending was founded in Oakland) I most regularly hear individuals talk about Diversity


Our Brilliant, Part-time UX Consultant

Startup Dreaming, courtesy of Google Images

Hello hello everyone! 👋🏿

Welcome back to the fourth installation of Ascending’s Launch Team. It’s been an exciting series of announcements (you can read the first few here if you haven’t already.)

As we draw nearer to our September Beta launch, we’re excited to share this next member of the Ascending Launch team!

Welcome our UX Design Consultant, Andrea Burton! Keep reading to get a quick highlight on who Andrea is, where they’re coming from and how to connect.

Andrea Burton — she/they


6 months. 30 Teams. 1 mission. Join our Beta!

Courtesy of Google Images

Last week, we spent time addressing why corporate diversity programs are not a good starting place for pursuing real, long-standing workplace culture change.

Given the especially difficult summer 2020 has been for Black & other underrepresented people, we knew it was important to clearly communicate how it de-prioritizes the people within your organization & perpetuates an already broken system.

The current system assumes if you just put in enough effort things might change. Showcasing more visible diversity on company’s careers pages isn’t enough of a response. It is actually harmful when it doesn’t include concrete investments for long-standing culture change.


Image courtesy of Google Images

During a her Ted Talk, The Danger of a Single Story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie quotes Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti saying “if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story and to start with, ‘Secondly.’”

When recalling this quote, I’m struck by the word “secondly”.

Logically a “secondly” requires a “firstly” or a “previously”; a reminder that something preceded this moment and the subsequent statement. …


Startup Dreaming, courtesy of Google Images

Howdy everyone! 👋🏿

Welcome back to the third installation of Ascending’s Launch Team. It’s been an exciting series of announcements to make (you can read the first two here and also here, if you haven’t already.)

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but we’ve been working diligently behind the scenes and are thrilled to share this next member of the Ascending Launch team!

With that, it’s our pleasure to highlight our Head of Product, Whitney Robinson! Keep reading to get a quick highlight on who she is, where she’s coming from and how to connect with her.

Whitney Robinson — she/her


Startup Dreaming, courtesy of Google Images

Hello, hello everyone! 👋🏿

Welcome back to the second installation of Ascending’s Launch Team. It’s been an exciting series of announcements to make (you can read the first one here if you haven’t already.)

As I mentioned in the last announcement, we’ve been working diligently behind the scenes and are so excited to begin sharing some of the first fruits of our labor. Part of that is taking the next two weeks to focus on announcing our Ascending Launch team & foundational partners! …


Startup Dreaming, courtesy of Google Images

Hey everyone! 👋🏿

Thanks for continuing to follow the story of Ascending. It’s been an exciting 3+ weeks since our Juneteenth launch announcement (you can read that here, if you haven’t already.)

During the past few weeks, we’ve been working diligently behind the scenes and we’re excited to begin sharing some of the first fruits of our labor. On that note, some of you might have noticed we’ve been using the royal-we in our communication. And maybe a couple of you have thought, who are these [royal] “we’s” they speak of?

Well, if you have wondered then you’re in luck…


For those of you who have followed Ascending since our Juneteenth unveiling, you’ve likely noticed a common theme upon which we’ve built our foundation: Empathy.

The Greater Good Science Center of UC Berkeley defines empathy as: ‘the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.’ In other words, Empathy is the stuff that bridges the gap between experiences and creates connection between each of us.

Candidly, Empathy is not what most people envision when imagining what it takes to begin creating an inclusive workplace or the process of…


The San Francisco Bay Bridge, courtesy of Pexels

Last week, I took a few moments to share some personal details of my life including the reveal of my startup, Ascending.

Within the last week, the team and I have seen dozens of folks respond, subscribe, re-post and engage with this message. With our growing audience, we thought it’d be useful to pull back the curtain on how we think about Ascending’s approach to empowering teams to build empathy.

To begin with it’s helpful to know how we self-identify: Ascending exists as a community for startups committed to building a culture of racial empathy. …


I don’t hold the belief that life is a horizontal continuum, but I do believe that each of us who are fortunate enough to still have breath in our bodies exists somewhere between Jeff Bezos and Breonna Taylor.

Why do I feel so confident in making such a statement? Because yesterday I realized I knew Breonna Taylor.

Originally, I saw her face in the news and repeatedly thought, “She looks just like the Breonna that I grew up with at Kelloggsville.” (Kelloggsville was my local, West Michigan public school.) But my mind kept processing Louisville, Kentucky, and ultimately dismissed the…

Jeremy Evans-Smith

Exploring software based solutions to equity diversity and inclusion.

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