This July, on my first day as THINX’s new CEO, I opened up to the entire company about my struggles with infertility and IVF. I shared with them that a few years ago, when I was 24 weeks along my first pregnancy, I lost a baby and it was deeply traumatic. I’m not one to share my woes or challenges like an open book, but I felt that, as their new leader, they deserved to know why I was so dedicated to reproductive and pelvic floor health. In order to contribute to people’s lives, a leader must understand their own vulnerabilities and strengths. Setting the tone for open lines of communication and letting my team know that my door would always be open was vital.
I was ecstatic about the mission, the eco-friendly underwear, and how a group of fiercely talented feminists could change the landscape for those who feel ashamed or alone because of their bodies. Since day one, my high-priority goal was to improve the lives of the individuals working at THINX and Icon. On the team, we have parents, immigrants, survivors, those who identify as LGBTQ, and, yes, a few amazing men who have compassion and understanding for women’s health and advocacy; it’s imperative that we understand everyone’s unique needs.
As a company, it’s essential that every voice on our team is not only heard but also respected. I believe that there’s always room to learn and improve.
Because of the incredible grassroots power of #MeToo and the bravery of thousands of men and women, 2017, unlike any other year, has shown us that too many companies lack clear policies in handling accusations of sexual harassment, and we refuse to be one of them. At THINX and Icon, employees are encouraged and given a safe space to report any perceived incident of harassment or discrimination. Our policy outlines that team members have a safe space to report any concerns to the head of HR, or a manager they feel most comfortable sharing with. Managers and our head of HR must report any and all harassment and discrimination incidents to me. The complaint and investigation will be handled with urgency and the utmost sensitivity. Any employee found guilty of harassing, discriminating or retaliating against another employee for making a complaint will be subject to termination. This is a watershed moment for survivors of sexual assault, and it’s a critical time for our company to set an example of how to foster a safe work environment.
We didn’t want to be another startup cutting corners at the expense of employees, which is why 2017 was also a year of internal reckoning for THINX and Icon. For our company to be known as a safe space and pillar for equal rights, we drastically improved our policies, and in turn, our culture. Since July, we’ve hired a head of human resources and enhanced our employee benefits.
Here’s a rundown of the key changes we made in our employee handbook this year:
- 12 weeks of paid parental leave to mothers, fathers, and adoptive/foster parents: 8 weeks will be paid at an employee’s full pay and 4 weeks will be paid at 50% of an employee’s salary
- Unlimited PTO
- Childcare stipend
- Health Insurance subsidies for individuals and dependents
- A choice between an annual CitiBike or gym membership
- Quarterly culture survey to get a sense of employee sentiment and enable the executive team to make changes that benefit employees and our business
In January, we’ll be moving into our new office; a space that allows for collaborative workstations, lactations pods, and kid and family friendly spaces.
As we head into 2018, we’re proud to announce that our giveback and advocacy partnerships changed many lives this past year.
- With Icon’s partnership with Fistula Foundation, we funded 157 fistula surgeries for women in Africa.
- After Hurricane Harvey hit, THINX and Icon donated 2284 pairs of underwear to Houston Area Women’s Center and Undies for Everyone: Houston and $41,785 to Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
- THINX gave 500 pairs of underwear to A Sense of Home, a non-profit that provides communities for “aged out” foster youth.
- During THINX’s Fearless Bleeding Tour, we gave 200 pairs of underwear to Chicago Period Project, 150 pairs to Support the Girls Denver, and 250 pairs to Take Charge Period.
- Icon donated $23,435 to Sanctuary for Families, a New York provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and gender violence.
- THINX sponsored Safe Horizon’s #putthenailinit campaign and contributed $11,978.
- THINX donated $113, 885 to Girls Inc., a non-profit organization with the central goal of empowering and inspiring girls and young women.
Looking into the new year, we’re more committed than ever to our mission of taking care of our employees, customers, and community. Let’s keep the dialog going. Questions? Contact us at email@example.com or check us out on Instagram at @shethinx and @iconundies.