Racial justice is more than a cause, it is a non-negotiable way of life that goes far beyond professional actions. The killings of George Floyd, Oscar Grant, Breonna Taylor, and Eric Garner are sadly, just examples of decades and centuries of racism and police violence against Black citizens. This is a violation of human rights and has to stop. At Optimizely, we reject racism and discrimination in every form.
Our actions speak to our core company beliefs in how we serve our customers, our partners, and our employees. Today, as a first step, we are announcing a persistent commitment to support the Black community through changes in our company policies and internal education, increased donations of technology, funds, and professional services to social justice organizations, and development programs, mentorship programs, and policies to help recruit and develop Black leadership into the technology industry.
Effective immediately, we are taking the following steps to do our part to stop police brutality and the systemic abuse, neglect, and killing of Black men, women, and children around the world. Each of the following initiatives was identified in partnership with Optimizely’s Diversity and Inclusion Group and is sponsored by a member of the Optimizely senior leadership team to own and mobilize the company to drive measurable and lasting change.
- Increase Education: We work with ENACT Leadership to expand the audience for our Inclusive Leadership program (topics include: understanding privilege, unconscious bias, fostering change and inclusion) and develop additional content specifically focused on racial justice. Going forward, this will be available to every employee in the company.
- Amplify Our Support of Anti-Violent Causes: Optimizely supports efforts to curtail police brutality (such as ending qualified immunity for police officers and the reduction of police force as detailed by #8CantWait) and to support legislations to increase punishments for crimes against people of color (such as the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act).
- Transparency of Our Diversity Metrics: We have published our company demographics internally multiple times, and as recently as Q1-2020. Going forward, we will do so on a quarterly basis, while also publishing externally, to ensure that we are making progress in creating an increasingly diverse team and in hiring people of color.
- Recruiting: We have historically focused on diversity recruiting, including heavy use of the Rooney Rule, diverse panels, unconscious bias training, and close relationships with diverse talent groups such as Anita Borg Institute, Lesbians Who Tech, Next Play, Women Who Code, etc. However, it is not enough. We are committed to doing more to make a bigger impact, particularly regarding underrepresented people of color.
- Volunteering Our Expertise and Technology: We will donate the use of Optimizely products and services expertise to benefit chosen racial justice organizations. In doing so, we strive to help them increase their digital sphere of influence and to drive up conversion and marketing of key messages, campaigns, and donations.
- A New Mentorship Program to Help Black Children Become Leaders: Optimizely will expand its “school adoption” program to help Black students from difficult environments become the business, political and social leaders of tomorrow.
- Cash Donations: Optimizely’s leadership team has personally matched the aggregate donations of its employees for Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, Equal Justice Initiative, National Urban League, National Police Accountability Project. These are not company funds but the funds of our individual employees.
- Mobilize Communications to State and Local Leaders: We believe that working directly with local and state leaders is one of the best ways to drive reform in police departments and the criminal justice system. We will make it easier for Optimizely employees to make their feelings known to state and local officials by providing both email and physical addresses for communications, and directly support this activity via dedicated write-a-thons and telethons.
- On-going Fundraising: Using our own technology, we have launched a campaign to Optimizely users to raise awareness of key social justice organizations. Optimizely maintains a charitable giving process through our Impact Hub, raising $27,872 in the last seven days, and will add additional organizations that have a specific focus on racial justice.
- Diversity Leadership: Our Chief People Officer, in partnership with our CTO/Executive Sponsor for Optimizely’s Diversity and Inclusion Group, will identify owners for all key diversity initiatives, including training, diversity recruiting, and supporting our employee communities.
- Celebration of Juneteenth: Optimizely has declared #Juneteenth (June 19th) a company holiday in the U.S to enable our employees to self-educate and take actions regarding issues of race and social justice.
- OKRs: Optimizely continues to have executive level OKRs for retaining our diverse talent, recruiting more diverse talent into the organization, and supporting our employee Communities such as DIG, Ladies@, Out@, Veterans@ and our Green Team.
We realize that these are initial steps and that it’s our continual and collective actions that will determine how different the future looks. We commit to these initiatives and in working collectively with our employees and communities to create a better future.