When my co-founder and I started career.place, we did what many entrepreneurs do (because career.place wasn’t built yet), we surrounded ourselves by the best talent we had worked with in the past.
Our co-founder was the VP of engineering when I ran a product management group at a technology company. Together, we rolled out many successful products and releases as well as revamped the agile(ish) process that lead to amazing increases in efficiency and speed.
Our chief architect is a coding genius who was a top sales leader in a company where I ran product management. He consistently brought in strategic six and seven figure deals.
Our marketing strategist is an out-of-the-box thinker who loves shaking things up, taking risks and turning heads. He has a history of wild successes and ran marketing at a company where I ran product management.
In addition to being fantastic at what they do, they are also fantastic to work with.
Here’s the catch – they are all white men.
Why? The truth is, I have always been surrounded by white men. I work in technology, my bosses, my peers, my executive team – mostly men, mostly white (not always, but the vast majority). So, when I looked around for those that were highly effective and complementary to my style… surprise, surprise – white men.
That doesn’t mean we aren’t diverse.
In our little team – one was born in Cuba, another grew up in Africa and we each have a different state we call home. We have a Veteran, and someone with a disability. We represent three religions, our ages span from the 30s to 50s, and are parents of kids, dogs, or both (apparently parent of a dog is a thing). We also cross the full political spectrum (very red, very blue and proud purple) and the full range of entertainment (sports, movies, books, you name it, we debate it). We have a wide range of personality types, approaches, mannerisms, and ways of expressing ourselves.
So yes, we are diverse, and yes, we are not so diverse.
The core of the challenge is evident
Go through your career surrounded by a certain group of people (such as white men) and when you go back to tap into that talent, they will likely be from that group of people (such as white men).
To break this cycle, we must start from the ground up. From the newest entry level positions, to the top of the organizational structure, hire, promote, and cultivate employees using fair, equitable practices. Set clear, pre-defined requirements for each position, qualify candidates against those requirements, and consider adopting blind evaluation practices, like the career.place solution, to ensure equity in the evaluation process. If we all promote a culture of inclusion and positive change with fair hiring, then when new entrepreneurs like myself look around for the best talent they have worked with, their options won’t be so… homogeneous.
As for my diverse white male team… well, consider this; they all chose to work for a woman that they have worked with in the past – progress!
Moving forward, career.place will continue to progress by using our solution for all our future hires (by the way – we are hiring inside sales reps, if you are interested or know of someone – click here).