by Dionna Smith
2020 was a pivotal year — everyone experienced a seismic shift in their lives. From the impacts of COVID-19 to long-standing racial injustice, the fault lines in our society have driven us from shock and fear to a resounding desire for change. I am filled with hope because I see so many people having candid conversations about race, Allyship and inclusivity in the workplace.
Creating safe spaces for conversations to happen is a top priority for me — especially since we are all physically separated and feel isolated. In my first 60 days at Thumbtack, I held many meetings with different people throughout the organization to better understand what programs and initiatives would be the most impactful.
My takeaway was that there is an incredible desire within the Thumbtack team at every level to learn more and do better. But there was also a feeling of hopelessness among the underrepresented minorities I spoke with. I knew we needed something to invigorate engagement in our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) as well as create excitement and momentum for action in the year ahead.
Teaming up with PowerToFly, a women-run startup and global community dedicated to diversity, inclusion and transparency in the workforce, we organized the LEVEL UP virtual summit. Held last month, it was a full day of discussion and learning how we all must play a role in taking DEI to the next level.
Our keynote speaker was the always inspiring Rha Goddess, the entrepreneurial soul coach behind hundreds of breakthrough changemakers, cultural visionaries and social entrepreneurs. One of my favorite quotes from her talk was:
“It’s not a Black or white problem. It is a humanitarian problem and we must have a united front. DEI is the work of being a better human. We are all affected by the injustices of the world, and as long as we continue to strive towards and prioritize being the best humans we can be, we’ll always be doing the work.”
Rha Goddess — Soul Coach, Innovator, Artist and Author. Learn more about Rha at movethecrowd.me
Following Rha’s session, which was open to all employees, our DEI leaders took part in a Q&A panel with our leadership team and a fireside chat with our CEO Marco. He shared his leadership team’s investment and support of making Thumbtack equitable through hiring practices, management training and support of DEI leaders. Going into 2021, he said, DEI at Thumbtack will have an expanded scope and more resources than ever, allowing us to focus more on people, product and community.
Our go-forward strategy is to build on the success of the LEVEL UP summit and to keep the conversations going. We’ll be focused on giving more senior level opportunities and roles to minorities and underrepresented applicants, ensuring underrepresented pros have the tools they need, and diversifying the tech landscape.
Through this next year, we will also be highlighting our ERGs and DEI leaders, showing our gratitude for their commitment to DEI through the work they’re doing outside of their jobs at Thumbtack. And this is just the beginning — everyone has a stake in making change happen, in making this moment a movement.
Originally published at https://medium.com on January 15, 2021.