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How Our Team’s Experiences Shape Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

For many, the end of a year brings opportunity for reflection, followed by resolutions to guide the months ahead. Perhaps you’ve got a new practice or habit in your life you plan on starting. Maybe you have a word that will guide your decision making over the next 12 months.

At CauseMic, we’re moving into the new year with increased resolve to strengthen our existing commitment to making our world a more just place to live in.

Years ago, with a vision of assisting nonprofits to become fully funded, CauseMic was founded by two women of color and me.
 
We knew we wanted a socially eclectic team, giving us the benefit of divergent views when seeking new business opportunities and dealing with clients of varying makeups.
 
So we hired accordingly. Today, diverse hiring remains a core pillar of CauseMic and a critical component of our success to date.

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This doesn’t mean you have to represent a group not yet in our employ to be hired. But it means you definitely can.

And truthfully, we have groups not yet represented on this team that are very much needed. Plus, we want to find new ways to best care for the folks who are. This inspired new conversations around more intentional diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in 2023, as well as greater reflection on what these terms actually mean to us.

Diversity isn’t just about race and ethnicity, but includes gender identity, language, disability, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and the like.
It’s not about treating everyone equally or the legalese of affirmative action and equal employment opportunities.
 
And it’s definitely not just a politically correct box to be checked by creating a toothless DEI policy, sure to be sniffed out as insincere. As they say, “Execution eats strategy for lunch.”
 
Rather, diversity is about creating a team that can relate to any potential client.
 
It’s a team of individuals with backgrounds and abilities different from one another, including those who are typically under-represented in society.
 
And it’s individuals who can add building blocks of experience and perspective to others who have not walked in their shoes. (I love it when I hear one team member tell another, “Wow! I never knew that.”)

We believe a diverse team can unlock abilities, strengthen productivity, and maximize impact. And we’re not alone in this.

For example, McKinsey & Company’s May 2020 study entitled
Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters noted, “Diverse companies are more likely to financially outperform their peers.”

Specifically, those that were more ethnically diverse and gender diverse were 36 percent and 25 percent more likely to outperform, respectively.


And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce states, “Diverse and inclusive businesses outperform their homogeneous competitors in innovation, employee retention, talent recruitment, profit and many other business metrics that lead to long-term growth.”

These observations are typical for organizations in general, regardless of for-profit or nonprofit status.

Equity isn’t the same as equality.

Simply put, equality refers to each person having access to the same thing.

On the other hand, equity involves acknowledging various life differences and instituting measures that can achieve proportional fairness.


In so doing, equity overcomes barriers by availing the means necessary for equality to occur.

For example, CauseMic provides free health insurance for all team members. However, for some on our team to fully enjoy this benefit, our policy includes gender-affirming care.

Inclusion is the third leg of the DEI triangle, crucial for instilling a sense of belonging.

While fair hiring ensures diverse individuals and equity enables equal access, inclusion is their true welcome mat.

No one is left out of activities, opportunities, or team-wide development.

For instance, at CauseMic, we all display our pronouns to mitigate any feeling of a them-and-us environment.

We acknowledge various home circumstances by permitting remote work and flex schedules.

And all are rewarded for their efforts by sharing in company profits.

We’re letting our DEI flag fly—and here’s where we are.

Our growing team of individuals consists of various ethnicities, gender identities, sexualities, ages, veteran status, religious beliefs, nationalities, physical abilities, and more.

CauseMic pay scales are based on roles and shared transparently with the team. Moreover, our salaries are equitable, with limited gaps across all levels.
 
Plus, we continue to rally alongside each other to build the next phases of our DEI efforts. Team members from all levels of the organization are participating in a newly formed committee for its continued advancement.
 
We’re also pleased to see how our clients are increasingly pursuing DEI initiatives of their own to strengthen their teams and productivity.
 
Overall, it’s truly encouraging to see how far we’ve come by leaning into our values.
 
For example, CauseMic team members feel they are seen and largely fulfilled in their work. I’ve noted greater empathy and kindness the more we interact with each other.
 
And most certainly, the more diverse we’ve become, the better our creativity and innovation. Which means our clients are also beneficiaries of our DEI pursuits.

Nonetheless, we’re calling on three of our five cultural values to keep forging new DEI paths.

Sleeves up. Like anything worthwhile, notable effort is needed to ensure a truly successful DEI-centric organization.

Success is not final. I cannot conceive of a world in which there’s nothing left to improve. Knowledge, behavior, efficiency, kindness, work product, and certainly DEI come to mind.

Show, don’t tell. Ditch the lip service! Simply put, the whole point of DEI is not in its creation as a desired initiative, but rather in its execution and ongoing results.

With these values in mind (and in spite of progress to date), our management team has identified a need to be increasingly intentional about our DEI efforts.

So we put together a sort of guiding ethos as guardrails to keep us focused:

At CauseMic, we want to live in a more just and equitable society, and are committed to playing our part in its transformation. After all, it’s part of our foundation and current state – our team is made up of individuals from different ethnicities, genders, sexualities, religious beliefs, nationalities, physical abilities, and more.

We are made better by diverse perspectives which is why we need folks around us with diverse experiences. We also believe that success is not final, and continue to seek ways to invest in ourselves and our clients to build a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive world. To do so certainly leads to better creativity and innovation, but importantly, it leads to folks living more fulfilled lives.

To continue getting our slice of society in order, CauseMic’s most recent efforts include:

  • Surveying team members to better understand their perspectives
  • Signing the CEO Pledge, a set of four broad commitments to cultivate a trusting, welcoming, and empowering environment
  • Forming a committee to optimize DEI in initiatives such as hiring
  • Identifying experts for training and uncovering blind spots along with facilitating crucial all-team conversations
  • Finding appropriate organizations to support and engage
  • Preparing updates to our website that broadcast our commitment to DEI

With our melting-pot of a crew, CauseMic will be tugged in lots of directions to achieve greater workplace equality. It won’t be easy.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Are you and your team asking the hard questions? What are you doing to ensure a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment?