Turning Words into Action: Takeaways from Boston Tech’s Anti-racism Panel

Anti-racism Panel

In the weeks following the killing of George Floyd, companies around the world, Drift included, sent out intentional statements and taken actions in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black community. But we know that words are not enough. Which is why, as a part of our efforts, we teamed up with Wayfair, SmartBear, DraftKings, and Toast to put our words into action.

In a recent webinar, DEI leaders at these companies provided tactical and practical means for maintaining the momentum of the anti-racism movement in both our personal lives and places of work. This included a high-level perspective on what companies need to do now to contribute to positive change, how to work cross-functionally to elicit change from your leadership, and what individuals can do to share knowledge with family and friends while incorporating anti-racism actions into daily life.

Overall, it was an opportunity for introspection and guidance on actions to take both as an individual and at the company level. While there were countless valuable takeaways, for me, the three most important are the following:

  1. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace are no longer “business niceties,” they are necessities. Jackie Glenn, founder of Glenn Diversity Inclusion & HR Solutions and former Global Chief Diversity Officer at EMC, spoke to the fact that prior to the movement we are in now, many companies she has worked with looked at DEI as a nice to have, or an extra program to add when there’s a little extra money in the budget. We need to change that mentality and see DEI teams and programs as a must have in the workplace.
  2. That said, you don’t need a dedicated DEI person or team to make changes within your organization. Grassroots movements – such as the formation of employee resource groups (ERGs) – can show senior leadership that this is a priority for employees while also drawing attention to the need for a commitment to anti-racism programs within the company. There are also many external organizations you can partner with and small steps you can take to help you attract more diverse talent. (Check out the organizations and examples that Jason Jones gives at 39:55 to learn more.)
  3. Data is king! When in doubt, turn to the numbers. KeyAnna Schmiedl, Global Head of Culture and Inclusion at Wayfair, gave some great examples (at 26:16 in the recording) of data that shows the tangible results of DEI programs, and also highlights key areas where companies are falling behind. Don’t be afraid to track this data down and present it to leaders to make an even more compelling argument about the need for DEI programs and investment.

You can read the full webinar transcript here, it has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Looking for more anti-racism resources to utilize in your personal and professional life? You can watch the full webinar recording here. 

Anti-Racism in Tech webinar

As a part of Drift’s ongoing diversity efforts, we are using our platforms to amplify Black voices. If you are interested in sharing your story or insights with our audience, please contact Gail Axelrod at gaxelrod@drift.com