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Let’s not fool ourselves: We don’t need empathy, we need political change. We don’t need charity, we need justice. Corporations have to be willing to put their might behind things they care about.
Rashad Robinson, president of the civil rights campaign group Color of Change
The very public death of George Floyd and others at the hands of police has forced all of us to stand up, pay attention, and to wonder, “How could this be happening?” It has caused all of us to do some needed soul searching: Do I think or act in a racist way? Do we (TSIA) think or act in a racist way? What about my family? My group of friends? My community? Our government? The truth is that this problem is here and now…and always has been.
I agree with what Mr. Robinson says in his quote above completely. Words are not enough. We can and should act, as people, a company, and an industry, without prejudice. I intend to go further than I ever have to ensure both those statements are true and in practice. It also includes providing support to the movement with our words. But what keeps going around in my head is: Words are not enough. And my personal actions and those of TSIA are not enough.
But what is enough? What action can we take that will really make a difference? At TSIA, we’ve been having that discussion. We have asked every employee to think hard, scan the horizon, and make recommendations.
First, we felt strongly about upgrading our diversity, equity and inclusion statement to be clearer and more prescriptive about what we aspire to, what we believe in, and specifically, how we will go about moving towards a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable world and a just company, community and society. We recognize that, as a research and advisory firm to the technology industry, we are in a unique position to engage not only to mobilize our employees, but also the TSIA member community in this journey.
We are publishing the gender and racial makeup of our employees and our leadership teams. We will continue to publish these, and additional, numbers over time and expect to see positive trends.
We have increased funds available for talent acquisition strategies that actively seek out women and people of color candidates for all our open positions. We are improving our talent acquisition process to seek out and actively measure the number of minority candidates in the application and the interview process for each role and ensure diverse representation on the interview panels.
Led by a group of TSIA employees, we have established a learning and education committee, with the goal of promoting an understanding of the social and economic impacts of race relations, equity, justice, and systemic racism by sharing data and information on topics of black history, racial equity, racial justice, race relations, and positive racial role models. Through this means we seek to understand our biases and behaviors and develop situational empathy. This includes an internal Media Club that meets monthly to review the content of selected relevant books, documentaries, movies, and podcasts.
Given our unique industry position, we are extending our reinvigorated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion to the TSIA member community to share practices and learnings in pursuit of our mission to improve the business practices of the technology companies we serve. We will engage the community in research and share their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practices broadly via webinars and conference sessions.
Donations: Through our current One&1 initiative, where we donate 1% of employee time and 1% of profits to employee identified charitable causes, we will be more inclusive of identifying organizations that address issues of racial equity and justice for donations.
Sustainable Transformation Initiative: Our goal for this initiative is to prepare the future black leaders for careers in the world's greatest tech companies. This will take the form of prescriptive mentor programs for motivated students from targeted community colleges and regional universities, providing them with free access to TSIA’s resources and facilitating mentoring, internships and job matching within the TSIA member community.
This is a journey for TSIA and for society at large. To be effective, it must be a sustained journey long past the news cycle has passed. We are committed to making that journey as impactful as we can.
We believe in transparency, and acknowledge that these race and gender stats are not where we’d like them to be. TSIA is on a journey to becoming a more diverse company. We will continue to publish this data and expect to see positive trends.
The Technology & Services Industry Association (TSIA) is dedicated to helping technology and services organizations large and small grow and advance in the technology industry. Find out how you can achieve success, too. Call us at (858) 674-5491 or we can call you.