With the celebrations around Black History Month and Women's History Month, I’ve taken a moment to reflect on the diverse group of professionals I have been fortunate enough to work with over my career -- as well as how I and the company I lead can continue to be catalysts for ongoing change, improvement, and awareness.
Being a CEO has given me the opportunity to build organizations that believe in the power of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and I have worked to ensure this is a core aspect of my companies’ cultures. I myself am a first-generation immigrant to the United States, and have experienced first hand the power and edge that diverse voices bring to any organization. There is always work to be done and room for improvement, but together, we can work to create meaningful impact.
I believe transparency and action are important at any company and have instructed my teams to make DEI a standing topic at all quarterly executive (C-suite) and leadership offsites. We formed a DEI Council to build a DEI strategy, including DEI Operating Principles and DEI integration goals, and I appointed my COO (who is also a first-generation immigrant) to lead these efforts. In addition, we have embraced ongoing education including unconscious-bias training to help us understand how to create the best experiences for employees, customers, and partners.
Reporting on progress is only one part of this transparency. I also strive to be open and honest where there is room for improvement and am not afraid to challenge myself and my team to set aggressive goals and targets to create a more inclusive workforce.
Just as important as our internal work, community service efforts are critical to help underrepresented communities overcome the barriers and challenges they face. Our employee philanthropy program has worked with a wide range of organizations in Austin and other locations in which we operate. We donate thousands of hours of volunteer service as well as computer equipment and money to local organizations with a particular focus on investing in STEM education for the next generation in underserved communities, and supporting local families in need. I am incredibly proud that 67% of employees participated in a company-sponsored philanthropic event last year — including 100% of my executive team.
While we work together to create meaningful change, I also recognize there is more work to be done. I am grateful for a team that values these efforts as much as I do, and our shared commitment to never stop taking action to improve.