Two UK-based venture capitalists weigh in on whether the investing industry has improved its diversity in Europe

PAULA GROVES   bycompany

Following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor-and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, which inspired racial justice protests around the world-businesses across corporate America and Europe spoke out against racism and discrimination last spring.

Venture capital funds were no different. Silicon Valley behemoths, from Sequoia and Bessemer to Kleiner Perkins, tweeted about doing better on diversity. But as the anniversary of Floyd’s murder approaches, has anything really changed in the investing world?

“I think we have, absolutely, [seen change],” said Paula Groves, a general partner at the venture capital firm Impact X, which invests in underrepresented entrepreneurs across Europe. “You see a number of companies and corporations…start to allocate funding to Black entrepreneurs. … All of these corporate giants have been spurred by the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, and I applaud their efforts.”

Groves-who began her career on Wall Street in the 1980s, then worked in private equity before spinning out her own VC fund focused on women- and minority-led tech companies-said that regardless of what investors may say about diversity, what really matters is where they put their money.

“Getting capital in the hands of [diverse] entrepreneurs is going to be so important from a wealth creation standpoint,” she said.

Supporting Black entrepreneurs has broader implications beyond just their individual companies, Groves said. Studies show that Black entrepreneurs typically support other Black businesses, such as restaurants. They’re also more likely to employ Black people in their own companies. It’s called the virtuous circle, and leads to wealth creation, which then leads to more entrepreneurship.

Funding Black founders also makes good business sense for investors.

“Mainstream entrepreneurs are getting most of the capital, as we know, and certain deals are oversaturated,” said Groves. “When deals become oversaturated, they become overvalued. … If we can find these hidden gems, we can take advantage of a valuation arbitrage, if you will, providing capital at a lower valuation, working with businesses to grow, and creating strategic value.”

Boosting diversity from within

Andy Davis, the founder and general partner of the 10×10 fund in London, said he is optimistic about progress being made inside venture capital firms themselves.

“On the VC side of things, we’ve seen a lot more Black VCs not only get interviews but get hired,” he said. “We’re seeing more people get to the final stages of interviews and get offered funds-so the VC industry is moving, in my opinion, though it’s moving slowly.”

Davis has worked in the past with the London-based firm Atomico, which he said is making a concerted push to hire more Black investors. That said, many of the roles being offered to Black candidates are entry- or mid-level. That’s below the seniority level at which real investment decisions are made.

“There is an issue at the check-writing level,” Davis said. “We do need to progress the careers of those who are at mid-level.”

He said there are only a few Black venture capital partners in the UK, and those that exist are partners at their own funds. In other words, there are no Black partners at non-Black firms.

Davis, who began his career as a startup founder before moving into angel investing, created a network of Black British founders in 2015. A few years later, he started a similar community for Black venture capitalists and angel investors. Those efforts have culminated in the 10×10 venture capital fund, an early stage fund to invest in Black founders, announced last July and launching next quarter. It will begin with about £3 million ($4.2 million).

Europe vs. the US

So far, both Davis and Groves work primarily with British startups. In some parts of continental Europe, investing in diverse entrepreneurs is complicated by a lack of data. In France and Germany, for example, the governments do not collect racial statistics at all.

Even in the UK, a recent study by Extend Ventures-a not-for-profit for diverse entrepreneurs-found a dearth of data on diversity in venture capital.

“We must be prepared to shift the status quo significantly on race with the same determination that we’re tackling gender disparity,” wrote industry expert Patricia Hamazhee in the report. “Without data, we cannot marshal the evidence that is demanded before change can be made.”

Groves said there is a handful of European investors starting to build out the Black entrepreneurial ecosystem, and that she believes it will grow.

“I would say that the European ecosystem is probably about 20 years behind the US ecosystem,” she said, adding that that’s true of the VC space in general, not just in terms of VC diversity.

Davis agreed that American VC funds tend to have more capital-and that the US has more of a startup culture.

“In the UK we are traditionally conservative, and in the US they are a lot more open to risk and the idea of entrepreneurship,” he said.

What next?

“In the wake of Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd movement, I think other people are starting to wake up to what I believe is an opportunity-not just to right a societal wrong, but also to maximize results and bring equality,” said Groves. “I believe that economic inclusion and the economic domain is the next place for equality in our society.”

For her, the key to getting Black entrepreneurs better access to capital is to prove that investing in them makes good business sense.

“Oftentimes people feel like the solution is to get a bunch of really smart people in the room and sit down and talk about strategy, and brainstorm what’s broken and how do we address these needs, and write a report,” she said. “We’ve done that for years. We have the data, we have the information, we’ve proven the business case-so let’s start to deploy the capital.”

Impact X, which has raised money from high-net-worth individuals in the UK and US, has so far invested in more than 20 transactions. The firm has had one exit-a fintech company, which it exited at a 7x markup in valuation from its initial investment. Groves hopes to have two more exits by June.

“So we’re proving the thesis,” she said. “[We’ve got], not just the data as to why it makes sense from an academic standpoint, but now we have actual financial results that we can point to.”

When it comes to finding diverse European entrepreneurs to invest in, Davis said there are plenty to choose from. “Every month I see about 120 companies and end up investing [personally] in 0.8 percent,” he said. Of those 120 diverse startups, about 100 are founded by Black entrepreneurs. “So,” he said, “when they say there’s a pipeline problem, it’s not on the founder end.”

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The Carlyle Group’s D&I chief lays out why she’s aiming to tie promotions to inclusive leadership, and why championing diversity is every employee’s responsibility

Kara Helander, the Carlyle Group
Kara Helander is the chief inclusion and diversity officer at the Carlyle Group.

The events of the summer of 2020, prompted by the death of George Floyd in late May, unleashed a wave of unrest across the country.

At the Carlyle Group, a global private-equity investor with 256 companies in its portfolio and $246 billion in assets under management, the events struck the firm’s chief inclusion and diversity officer deeply.

Kara Helander, the corporate leader tasked with helping steer the firm’s D&I activities, has since detected an opportunity to exact upon the momentum fomented by that moment – and is actively working to harness that energy and make changes endemic to the Carlyle Group’s internal HR processes.

Last summer, the firm finalized and implemented plans presented by Helander; Carlyle’s diversity, equity, and inclusion council; and its head of talent to implement a new set of criteria for assessing candidates who are in the running for a promotion to the managing director level.

The criteria examine their success in demonstrating inclusive leadership and management, tying the possibility of getting a promotion to more than just success in participating in a live deal, but to the ethos that managers create within their teams.

“What you want to be looking at is: Is it credible? Are they making progress over time? Are they making this a big part of their definition of what the modern leader and manager has to be good at?” Helander told Insider in a recent interview.

In addition to assessing the track record of MD candidates, specifically in terms of their success in exemplifying inclusive leadership, the Carlyle Group has also asked all of its employees to establish a goal related to diversity, equity, and inclusion for themselves this year.

Earlier this year, Insider took a look at the ways that the Carlyle Group is helping the companies it backs to diversify their teams and create more inclusive workforces and company culture.

The Carlyle Group and executives from one of its portfolio companies, the packaging supply manufacturer Novolex, told Insider how they worked together to broaden Novolex’s hiring aperture. The steps they detailed resulted in the appointment of two additions to Novolex’s board – both women – and helped the industrials firm triple its total number of diverse plant leaders.

A career spent championing diverse leadership

Helander has spent her career helping business leaders identify ways to support diversity, equity, and inclusion on their teams.

Before joining the Carlyle Group in 2018, she spent time as the head of her own consultancy that focused on helping companies implement corporate social responsibility and diversity and inclusion strategies.

Prior to that, she was a managing director at BlackRock. She also served as the asset manager’s global head of corporate social responsibility and oversaw the implementation of the firm’s first global diversity and inclusion and philanthropy strategies.

The firm isn’t stopping with its promotions review process. It’s also rolled out an internal training program to help educate other employees on how to mitigate unconscious bias.

That program is called “Better Decisions,” and, so far, more than 80% of Carlyle’s employees have partaken in the training and developed an action plan for their own personal development in this arena.

“It’s not so much where you start, but are you taking concerted, tangible action to make change around it? That applies to us and it applies to the companies in our portfolio,” Helander said. “You don’t want people to not take action because they aren’t where they should be.”

Looking to the future, the Carlyle Group announced an ambitious D&I-focused goal in the summer of 2020. The firm has committed to filling 30% of the board seats at all of its portfolio companies with members who come from diverse backgrounds by the year 2023.

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4 steps diversity and inclusion consultants recommend for hiring more Black and brown employees – and keeping them long term

Unemployment, job fair
Getting people from marginalized backgrounds in the door at your company is just the start of an effective diversity, equity, and inclusion plan.

  • Corporate diversity plans will fall short if companies don’t make Black and brown employees feel valued.
  • That’s because employees who don’t feel heard will quit.
  • Successful diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) plans give employees voice and agency.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have gone from empty buzzwords to well financed initiatives within companies across the country. Industry leaders – from Google to JPMorgan – are investing in internal and external programs to promote racial equity. Leaders are hiring more DEI executives and promising more workplace diversity within the next few years.

But this progress is at risk of falling flat, some of the country’s top DEI experts told Business Insider.

Mastercard’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer Randall Tucker said efforts by leaders to advance racial justice and equality in their workforces will be short-lived if they focus only on getting more Black and brown employees in the door. That’s because if Black and brown employees don’t feel respected and valued at a company, they’ll leave to find another job.

“It’s not just ‘Let’s find diverse talent.’ It should be you’re hiring diverse talent, and at the same time you have the levers to retain that talent. Otherwise you’re just wasting a lot of money,” he said.

Randall Tucker
Randall Tucker, chief inclusion officer at Mastercard, said companies risk Black and brown employees experiencing “onlyness.”

It’s not enough to focus on diversity alone. Black employees make up 12% of entry-level employees, but they account for just 7% of managers, according to McKinsey research published in February. A big part of this problem is that Black employees feel less supported than their white colleagues, the same research found.

To retain and promote talent, executives and managers alike have to prioritize equity and inclusion at the same time.

Equity goes beyond equal opportunity and encompasses the distribution of resources in a way that ensures everyone is treated equally. Inclusion encourages everyone to bring their whole unique identity to work and respects and values difference.

Black and brown employees face ‘onlyness’ at work

For many newly hired or promoted Black and brown employees, there’s a real risk of “onlyness,” Tucker and other DEI experts told Business Insider.

“Onlyness” is the phenomenon whereby a person is the only person of color, woman, LGBTQ person, ect. in the room. McKinsey and Company researched “onlyness” and found that LGBTQ women of color are the most likely to feel this way in the workplace.

If leaders don’t assess their company culture and proactively give employees from marginalized backgrounds a seat at the table and a voice in company decisions, “onlyness” turns into feeling excluded, or worse.

“Diversity and inclusion have to happen in concert,” Tucker said.

Doris Quintanilla, executive director and cofounder of The Melanin Collective, a DEI consultancy, said companies are at real risk of only achieving part of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“Since Trump’s election, I’ve seen hiring of people of color in different organizations, but I don’t see them staying or being happy because we’re not treating them like the human beings that they are. They’re still tokens, they’re tokenized,” she said.

Being tokenized is “the practice of doing something (such as hiring a person who belongs to a minority group) only to prevent criticism and give the appearance that people are being treated fairly,” per Merriam Webster.

“It’s not just about getting people in the door if they walk right out in six months to a year, right?” she said.

Doris Quintanilla
Doris Quintanilla, executive director and co-founder of The Melanin Collective, encouraged executives to pay employees who lead ERGs and other diversity councils.

What it takes to prioritize equity and inclusion

Equity and inclusion can seem like such intangible ideas. But certain key steps can help make it happen.

  1. Treat DEI initiatives as core to your business’s strategy

Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the profitable thing to do.

A 2018 study by Boston Consulting Group found that increasing diversity in leadership teams increases profits. Another study of 22,000 firms found that companies with more women in their board rooms and on their executive teams were more profitable. When diversity increases, so does company performance.

Kerryn Agyekum
Kerryn Agyekum, principal of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice at The Raben Group, a DEI consultancy, outlined multiple ways companies can champion inclusion and equity.

  1. Invest in DEI initiatives like you would other core business areas

Quintanilla of The Melanin Collective said you can’t underinvest an area and expect great results.

She suggests hiring top-tier consultants and paying employees, or otherwise recognizing employees, who lead employee resource groups (ERGs) and other important company inclusion initiatives. Indeed, more Black and brown employees are asking for recognition or payment for their ERG participation, which some call “a second job.”

Boston Scientific has adopted this approach by inviting its ERG leaders to executive-level company conferences, among other perks.

  1. Examine who’s in leadership positions in your organization

Kerryn Agyekum, principal of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice at The Raben Group, a DEI consultancy, said employees from marginalized backgrounds need to see people like them in positions of power to feel that they can aspire to similar levels of success.

Agyekum has a question executives should ask themselves: “Are we still relegating our Black and brown people to service areas or support roles within an organization or do they truly have influence and power as decision makers in business critical areas?”

  1. Remove systemic barriers that prevent Black and brown people from succeeding

There are many ways your organization might unknowingly be holding employees of color back.

For example, mentorship opportunities that rely on relationships that form naturally often leave employees of color behind, considering that many people in high-powered positions are white. And people are more likely to mentor those with whom they have things in common. This is why women of color are the least likely to have sponsors in corporate America, research shows.

Agyekum encourages corporate leaders to enact plans that give Black and brown employees equal access to sponsorship and mentorship opportunities.

She also suggests leaders revisit their hiring practices to weed out unconscious bias that favors white candidates.

In addition, leaders should conduct pay equity reports and proactively remediate any discrepancies they find, she added.

“If you’re a person in power, it isn’t your job to leave all of the Black and brown employees to figure out this whole ‘race thing’ on their own. You actually have a responsibility to remediate toxicity and remove systemic barriers,” she said.

This is an updated version of an article originally published in November 2020.

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A top Wells Fargo exec shares a strategy any leader can use to create an inclusive workplace culture

Lisa McGeough
Lisa McGeough, head of Wells Fargo’s international banking operations, said leaders shouldn’t be afraid to call out bias when they see it.

  • Lisa McGeough leads all of Wells Fargo’s international banking operations.
  • She said calling out microaggressions is crucial to creating an inclusive workplace culture.
  • Leaders must get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations around bias, she said.
  • This article is part of a series called “Leaders by Day,” which takes a look at how prominent business leaders are tackling various challenges in today’s economy.

Lisa McGeough leads Wells Fargo’s international banking operations, which encompasses all the firm’s businesses across the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

In other words, she’s one of the most important people at the bank, and one of a select few women who’ve broken the finance world’s glass ceiling, or the set of barriers that hold women back from the industry’s top positions.

According to Deloitte research from 2019, women hold only 22% of leadership roles in finance. While the number of women in leadership roles is expected to grow to 32% by 2030, that’s still well below parity.

Microaggressions, or subtle forms of discrimination and prejudice, are a major reason why more women and others from underrepresented backgrounds aren’t able to climb the corporate ladder, McGeough said.

Calling out microaggressions is one important part of creating an inclusive environment where everyone can succeed, she said.

“We must address all aspects of diversity in both our recruiting and managing strategies, asking difficult questions about where we don’t measure up and why?” she said.

McGeough knows from experience just how microaggressions can turn a workplace toxic. She shared her suggestions for any leader to address microaggressions in the workplace.

Learning from her own experience

Since starting at her first banking job in 1984, McGeough has experienced many subtle forms of bias.

Male colleagues would say things like “You’re so good at note-taking” or “I didn’t know you were interested in golf.”

She even had one manager who insisted she go home to take care of her kids instead of offering her the opportunity to cover clients who required extensive travel. This was despite her insistence she was the family’s breadwinner.

“If microaggressions are left unchecked or are not addressed in real time, they can create an exceptionally negative workplace environment and culture,” she said.

Today, as a leader, she uses her past experience to inform how she oversees her direct reports. She has a zero-tolerance policy for microaggressions, and will call them out.

How to call out microaggressions

In the wake of the racial reckoning happening in the US after the murder of George Floyd, fighting prejudice in the workplace is no longer an option. Employees, customers, and investors are demanding more diverse and inclusive companies.

In addition to the moral imperative, it’s also crucial for business. Microaggressions alienate employees, increase stress, and lead to a decrease in productivity, McGeough said.

A study based on over 11 million survey comments by Peakon, an employee engagement platform, revealed that a poor office environment is one of the top three reasons why people quit their jobs.

The first step, Sheena Howard, associate professor of communication for the online Masters of Business Communication program at Rider University, previously told Insider, is to remain calm. Then, address the comment in a direct and composed manner.

McGeough said managers shouldn’t be afraid to say things like “She was talking,” “Don’t interrupt them,” “What did you mean by that?” “Let her finish,” and “Don’t talk over them.”

“It’s essential that leaders and managers prioritize building diverse and inclusive teams,” she said.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently told Insider that the key to creating a more inclusive environment is not being afraid to have uncomfortable conversations. McGeough agreed.

“Leaders must challenge this behavior by addressing it directly,” she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg wants leaders to get real about addressing unconscious bias in the workplace

sheryl sandberg
Facebook COO and “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg is worried that the pandemic could undo years of gains women in the workplace have made.

It’s one thing to hear your CEO mention the topic of unconscious bias in a town hall. It’s another thing to see your direct manager call out your colleague’s microaggression in a meeting.

Real change takes brave leaders engaging in tough conversations. And Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of the gender equity nonprofit LeanIn, wants to make those uncomfortable conversations more common.

“People want to talk about bias, but they’re afraid to talk about what the actual biases are. They’re afraid to say things out loud,” she told Insider.

To help managers work through (not dance around) tough diversity and inclusion topics, Sandberg’s nonprofit created an interactive program called “50 Ways to Fight Bias.” Prompts from the interactive highlight the biases women, especially women of color, experience in the workplace.

Leaders from Amazon, Airbnb, PayPal, and Walmart have already participated in the program. Over 1,000 other companies are signed up.

Not talking about bias has damaging consequences. Among several other factors, like a lack of sponsorship or a culture of discrimination, bias particularly keeps women of color from reaching the highest rungs of the corporate ladder.

For every 100 men promoted into a managerial role between 2019 and 2020, only 85 women were promoted, according to research McKinsey and LeanIn released last year. That gap was even larger for women of color. Only 58 Black women and 71 Latinas were promoted.

For International Women’s Day, Insider spoke with Sandberg about unconscious bias, the mounting number of women exiting the workforce to care for their kids, and her thoughts on how America’s racial reckoning could lead to change.

The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

You’ve been thinking a lot about unconscious bias. You recently released an interactive program that managers at Walmart, Amazon, PayPal, and other companies have used on the topic. How are leaders doing right now when it comes to tackling unconscious bias?

It’s really about recognizing that we all need to do better.

We need to have conversations about women being interrupted, about Black women being called ‘bossy,’ about Latina women being called ’emotional,’ these are things that people need to understand are still happening, and we need this to change. And the only way to have these things change is to have these conversations.

It’s about leaders and employees getting uncomfortable.

Yes. We need to talk about it in the specific. Saying “There’s bias,” doesn’t do it. That’s not enough. We have to be specific, even though that’s where the hard conversations come up.

It can be hard to admit that these are the biases because we don’t want to say that, but pretending they don’t exist unfortunately does not make it go away. And I think that’s the point of the “50 Ways to Fight Bias” program.

We’re trying to bring unconscious bias to life.

Another topic I wanted to talk with you about is the staggering number of women leaving the workforce right now, the “she-session.” Are enough CEOs talking about it? Taking action?

I don’t think enough leaders are talking about it. I really don’t. My foundation did a survey in October that showed that 25% of women in the workforce were thinking about leaving.

You saw it coming.

I don’t think it’s that we saw it coming, it’s more that we asked women what they were thinking, and we listened.

Women were working a double shift before the coronavirus, but once the pandemic hit, there was a double-double shift. It’s completely unsustainable for women.

Crises are moments of reconciliation for us, right? We either have to make things better or we have to acknowledge and accept that they’re going to be worse. Women have done the majority of household work and childcare forever, that’s not new, right? The question now is, are we going to accept that? And leave it like that? Or are we going to fight and change it?

What can business leaders do to address the “she-session”?

There’s so much CEOs have to do to address this. This isn’t a problem women can solve on their own. This is a problem we have to work together to solve.

For one, make sure your corporate policies are right. For example, at Facebook, we canceled performance reviews. Because you can’t tell people, ‘Hey I know you’ve got a lot to do amid this pandemic’ and hold them to the same standards. We gave everyone an additional 10 weeks of COVID leave, additional time off for anything related to the coronavirus: taking care of yourself, taking care of your child, taking care of your child doing long-distance work, we are giving you that option. And I think more companies need to change those types of things.

Then there’s bias, you have to have a program that talks about and recognizes bias. You have to be very thoughtful about recruiting and retaining diversity.

There are so many things leaders need to do.

You talked about not wasting a crisis. The pandemic and the racial reckoning underscored the need for corporate America to take diversity and inclusion seriously. Do you think the efforts companies are taking now will continue? Will there be lasting change?

I want to believe that it’s going to be different this time. I think there are some real signs of hope that people are taking this much more seriously. But can I tell you I know for sure? Of course not, but I’m really hopeful.

Let me ask you, what do you think? You must have an interesting vantage point, as someone who writes about this.

Ha! Well, sure. I personally think we’re at a turning point where consumers, investors, employees – they want accountability. They want their leaders to make good on the promises they set out in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. So yes, I think there will be more pressure going forward, which could bring about change.

That makes me hopeful. You know, I really, really hope that we’re not going to waste this crisis.

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4 ways businesses can better attract and recruit new talent

Job interview
Recruiters should go beyond LinkedIn to source potential employees.

  • Office culture is important to people in their job search, says employee engagement and diversity expert Bernard Coleman.
  • Businesses can attract new talent by proving they care about what matters most to future employees.
  • Coleman believes recruiters can source better talent by expanding their search pool and engaging with those that’s right for their company.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

When it comes to recruiting well, it is an art as much as it is a science. Unfortunately, many organizations aren’t unlocking the full power of recruiting, and are settling by using outdated processes.

To attract the best and brightest, you need to make sure your recruiting strategy and team are up to the challenge and are up-to-date for what the future of recruitment will look like. So if your organization really wants to succeed, your recruiting needs to level up, and fast. Here are four essential ways to supercharge your recruiting.

1. Change where you look for talent

A lot of recruiters look for talent in the exact same places: the same universities, the same companies, etc. Instead, sourcing should be like fishing: Cast a wide net and go where the fish are. Because if every recruiter is sourcing from the same places, they are effectively overfishing and creating a perception of scarcity.
The perception of talent scarcity typically comes from a combination of three elements: overtaxed pipeline, lack of knowledge, and speed over precision. All three elements are solvable.
First, expand the search to find more talent by looking in new places. If you normally recruit at schools, change it up and choose new alternatives like historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) or Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) that match your general skills and needed criteria. Second, study up on the type of talent you’re seeking and find where they congregate. Simply put, go where the talent hangs out virtually and in-person to build presence and relationships.
Further, deploy more complex Boolean searches to achieve richer results on websites like LinkedIn. The greater specificity, the better. Finally, proactively build pipelines to create evergreen channels instead of reactively starting new searches.

2. Better define your employee vision proposition

Talent naturally wants to know what it’s like to work at your company. They’ll look at the company website, read Glassdoor and other places that convey the culture so the employee value proposition (EVP) needs to be crystal clear. Talent needs to know what the company stands for, what the company is committed to, and they want to connect to the mission beyond the boilerplate language.

People are interested in diversity and inclusion, in what office culture feels like, how people treat one another, to know they’ll be engaged and set up for success. Overall they want to know the entirety of the employee experience. That’s why the EVP must be clearly understood in words but also in actions. Organizations have one time to make a great impression.

3. Go beyond LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful tool. But used in isolation, it is an incomplete plan, and over-reliance on any one tool is a limiting strategy. Great recruiting requires a differentiated approach. You should use different tools because all talent isn’t listed on LinkedIn.
Try using Twitter lists, where you can follow certain industries like technology and sub-categories to find different ways to connect to candidates. Leverage Slack and explore the numerous communities to informally source and start up conversations with passive candidates.

Using all the tools, you can have improved outcomes and find talent that’s off the beaten path.

4. Gatekeeper versus door opener

Recruiters have a great deal of influence and should lean into how they can maximize the recruiting experience. Recruiters are the first people talent meets and should act as door openers to opportunity, as opposed to gatekeepers.

Roz Francuz-Harris, director of technical recruiting at Zillow and host of the podcast Y’All Hiring, put it well when she said to be mindful of your impact on job seekers at one of their most vulnerable points in life. When you act in a way that is either elitist or not fully transparent, it creates an image of a gatekeeper. As a recruiter, you want to be talent advisors to clients, add value, and be an asset to the business.

As much as you are interviewing the applicant, they are interviewing you and gauging the acceptableness of the culture. At the end of the day, as the saying goes, you’re not just recruiting employees, but are sowing the seeds of your reputation.

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A top exec at Wells Fargo shares the career moves that helped her crack the glass ceiling

Lisa McGeough
Lisa McGeough says being the CEO of your career means you actively take control of it, rather than passively waiting for success to come your way.

  • Lisa McGeough, head of international banking at Wells Fargo, shared how she broke the glass ceiling. 
  • Deloitte research from 2019 shows that women hold only 22% of leadership roles in finance.
  • The glass ceiling is the set of obstacles women face when trying to ascend to top corporate positions. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

When Lisa McGeough first walked onto the fixed income trading floor at Salomon Brothers (which was later acquired by Citi) in 1984, she was one of about 12 women in her class. There were more than some 65 men. 

McGeough, then 21, quickly learned she was in a man’s world. And the odds were not in her favor. 

Over the years, she’d experience numerous microaggressions from her male colleagues.  

“Girls can’t trade.” 

“You’re so good at note-taking.” 

“I didn’t know you were interested in golf.”

But she refused to let them get to her. Today, McGeough holds one of the highest positions in finance. She leads Wells Fargo’s international banking operations, which encompasses all the businesses across the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East, and Africa. 

“It was a tough place, the trading floor,” McGeough told Insider. “But that’s where I developed my resilience because I was not able to change the culture. I had to adapt to the culture, and survive the culture, and then thrive within the culture.” 

There’s been progress toward gender equality since the 1980s. Social norms have changed. The recent #MeToo movement has forced leaders to take a hard look at sexual harassment and the lack of women in leadership within their own walls. 

The Civil Rights Act of 1991, for example, gave people suing for workplace discrimination more rights and forced employers to take claims more seriously. 

Yet, at the same time, many things have remained the same. Executive positions are still mostly occupied by white men. Out of all the CEOs on the Fortune 500 list, only about 37 are women. There are only 6 black CEOs. 

There’s still a glass ceiling, a set of barriers women face when trying to climb the corporate ladder and make it into the C-suite. According to Deloitte research from 2019, women hold only 22% of leadership roles in finance. While it’s expected to grow, to 32% by 2030, that’s still well below parity.  

Approximately 48% of senior leaders at Wells Fargo are women, according to company data provided to Insider. Some 25% are racially or ethnically diverse and 9% are Black. 

Industry leaders like Salesforce and Amazon still wrestle with workplace discrimination, according to reports. And businesses across a range of industries show disappointing diversity numbers when it comes to their executive leadership. 

This is despite women holding 50% of entry-level positions, according to 2019 research from McKinsey and LeanIn. 

McGeough cracked the ceiling, though. For International Women’s Day, she reflected on how she did it. 

Learning the value of hard work 

McGeough said she’ll never forget visiting her immigrant grandparents. Her grandmother, who emigrated from Italy, worked two jobs – one at a men’s tailor shop and another at a local garden. She’d come home, pick food from the family’s garden in their backyard, cook dinner, and then would routinely stay up until nearly 3 a.m. sewing clothes for the family. 

McGeough’s parents, who owned an IT company in Chicago, encouraged her and her three younger siblings to work hard in school and in life. 

“It’s been in my psyche for my whole life, watching them as role models and how hard they worked,” she said. “Hard work, focused dedication, and resilience are the things that I got from them.” 

McGeough attended Bowdoin College in Maine, graduating with a degree in economics. Shortly after, she began a three-year career at Salomon Brothers. 

She worked hard to make it in the cut-throat world of finance, facing constant microaggressions and bosses who didn’t believe in her abilities. 

But she stayed determined. 

“No, one’s going to knock me out,” she’d tell herself. “No, one’s going to win. I am going to be the one that’s going to. I’m going to survive and I’m going to thrive.”  

Hard work alone, however, didn’t make her an executive, she said. 

“There is no fairy godmother. There’s no person who’s going to just notice you and pull you into a high level role,” she said.  

Be the CEO of your career

Lisa McGeough
McGeough said women and people from underrepresented groups should have a team of people who know their hard work and can advocate for them in rooms where decisions are being made.

Women and other professionals from underrepresented groups have to be more active about how they plan their career growth, she told Insider.  

Her philosophy boils down to a simple catchphrase: “Be the CEO of your career.” 

In other words, take charge of your career, as a CEO would take charge of their company. Actively advocate for yourself.

For example, do not assume your manager or your manager’s manager will notice your hard work, she said. Keep track of your progress, she said, and bring it up in meetings, especially when it comes time to performance reviews.

Make sure your career has a “board of directors,” or a group of people who can help you along the way and advocate for you. 

“It’s not just your boss. It’s your clients, a lateral manager, mentors or sponsors,” she said. 

They can advocate for you when you’re not in the rooms where decisions are being made. 

By having a board of directors, McGeough said she was recommended for roles that other women were passed up for. 

Know when to move and look for new opportunities 

Women have to know when to leave a job where they can no longer grow.

For McGeough, that happened when she had a manager who insisted she go home to take care of her kids instead of offering her the opportunity to cover clients who required extensive travel. This was despite her insistence she was the family’s breadwinner. 

After that experience she knew she had to get out.

Career progress often isn’t a straight path, but rather a series of lateral moves, she said. Some of those moves happened when she saw an opportunity, raised the issue with leadership, and pitched herself for the role. 

“I raised my hand to do something very hard that no one else was doing. And there was a very large gap in this particular role that I observed,” she said. “Take risks, be uncomfortable.” 

Now, as a leader, she actively advocates for up-and-coming talent, especially women and those from underrepresented backgrounds. 

“How do I advocate for this talented woman or diverse person on my team to give them the visibility that they need? Because I’ve experienced what they’re experiencing now. How do I create a diverse leadership team?” 

Those are questions she says more leaders should be thinking about, she said. 

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JPMorgan reveals the latest part of its $30 billion commitment to support Black and brown communities

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, speaks about investing in Detroit during a panel discussion at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., April 11, 2018.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon previously said he is “committed to fighting racism.”

  • JPMorgan is investing hundreds of millions in Black and brown entrepreneurs and small business owners.
  • Brian Lamb, JPMorgan’s head of diversity and inclusion, spoke with Insider about the firm’s plan.
  • Black and brown small businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

On Thursday, JPMorgan announced a new wave of investments as part of its $30 billion commitment to lift up Black, Latinx, and other underserved communities. Latinx is a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina to describe people of Latin American descent. 

The plan, which was announced in October of last year, appears to be the largest US corporate commitment to racial equity in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, according to Insider research.

The latest round will focus on Black and brown entrepreneurs and small business owners, according to the financial giant.

“We look at diversity and inclusion as a business,” Brian Lamb, JPMorgan’s global head of diversity and inclusion, told Insider. “We want to drive sustainable change.” 

The firm said it would commit $300 million to support underserved small businesses and an additional $42.5 million to its “Entrepreneurs of Color Fund,” a program that supports Black and brown founders. 

Brian Lamb JPMorgan
Brian Lamb, JPMorgan’s global head of diversity and inclusion, is helping oversee the firm’s implementation of the $30 billion commitment.

The pandemic has devastated small businesses, especially those owned by people of color. 

Black-owned businesses were more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to have closed during the pandemic, according to an August 2020 national study by the New York Fed. Some 41% of Black-owned businesses closed, and 32% of Latinx-owned businesses closed. Meanwhile, white-owned businesses fell by just 17%. 

In addition, JPMorgan will be opening new branches, called “Chase Lounges,” in underserved areas including Harlem, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. These branches will have resources for entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their companies. 

The news follows JPMorgan’s announcement from earlier this week that it would invest $40 million in minority depository institutions (MDIs) and community development financial institutions (CDFIs). MDIs and CDFIs provide financial services in communities that are often underserved. 

In October, the firm said it would commit $8 billion to help 40,000 Black and Latinx households access mortgages. The firm said it will help an additional 20,000 achieve lower mortgage payments by providing up to $4 billion in refinancing loans over the next five years. 

The mortgage industry is riddled with racism. Lenders deny mortgages for Black applicants at a rate 80% higher than that of white applicants, per 2020 data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

The firm is also tackling affordable housing. 

Over the next five years, JPMorgan said it will finance 100,000 affordable rental units by providing $14 billion in new loans and equity investments, among other efforts. 

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Black, Hispanic, and Native American households are more likely than white households to be low-income renters, meaning there is a severe lack of affordable homes available to them. 

“We’re going to track and report on our progress towards these commitments and ultimately hold our most senior level leaders accountable to the progress,” Lamb said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

How managers can support their Asian peers through the troubling increase in anti-Asian violence

coworkers, Asian coworker with white coworker, diverse colleagues
Some Asian Americans have expressed on social media that they feel saddened, angered, and fearful given the recent spike in anti-Asian violence across cities in the US.

  • On Tuesday, a 52-year old Asian American woman was attacked in New York City.
  • The attack is the latest of many against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic.
  • Diversity consultants shared how managers can support Asian colleagues and call for systemic change.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Last week, a 52-year-old Asian American woman was assaulted and shoved to the ground outside a New York City bakery. She hit her head on the concrete sidewalk and had to receive several stitches, AP reported

It’s the latest in a string of anti-Asian attacks since the start of the pandemic, which many said has been fueled by former President Trump’s use of the phrases “the China virus” and “the Kung flu” when referring to the novel coronavirus.   

Between March 19, 2020 and December 31, 2020, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, an Asian advocacy group, received over 2,800 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate from 47 states and the District of Columbia. The accounts include stories ranging from people having racial slurs directed at them to people getting punched or slashed in the face. 

Earlier this month, a suspect was arrested and charged for assaulting three elderly victims in the Chinatown area of Oakland, California. In San Francisco, an 84-year-old man from Thailand died after being knocked to the ground.

“Watching videos of the attacks was horrifying. I felt the mix of deep anger and sadness that only a sense of powerlessness can bring,” DEI consultant Richard Leong, who is Asian American, told Insider. 

Like Leong, many Asian people in the US are likely upset, sad, and fearful. Creating a safe work environment is so important during these difficult times.

Check in and ask how you can be of support 

Managers need to show empathy and create an environment where their direct reports feel safe to express their feelings, Kailei Carr, CEO of The Asbury Group, a leadership DEI consultancy, told Insider. 

“Sincerely asking how Asian employees are doing and if there is anything they need in one-on-one sessions is a good start,” Carr said. 

Don’t demand a response, she added, but express that you’re happy to connect them with mental health and other resources. 

Managers should also be prepared to offer their employees flexibility in their work schedule or workload, and to connect them with resources that might be helpful, like an employee resource group that focus on employees of color, Leong said. 

“This could look like reprioritizing deliverables and meetings to give space, offering connections to leaders and communities that might be helpful – especially if the manager does not identify as Asian – or simply offering a kind and supportive space to listen,” the DEI consultant added.  

Send out a statement condemning the attacks and offering resources 

If your leadership team hasn’t already done so, consider working with HR and your employee resource groups (ERGs) focused on Asian employees and employees of color to send out a statement condemning the attacks. 

For example, Paul Knopp, CEO and chairman of KPMG recently released a statement on LinkedIn, reading in part: “KPMG does not tolerate discrimination, harassment or racism; and condemns all forms of violence and xenophobia-all acts of hatred and bigotry are wrong.” 

Netflix’s vice president of inclusion strategy Vernā Myers also shared a message on LinkedIn. 

“The violence against our Asian brothers & sisters is unacceptable and I am committed to standing against xenophobia & hate everywhere,” her statement reads. 

Carr added that the statement your company puts out could share lists of organizations that are supporting victims or raising awareness, as well as a list of mental health resources for employees impacted.  

Support your Asian colleagues beyond this moment of crisis

Managers can use their positions of power to talk with those higher up about how to use this moment to usher in real change, he said. 

“Asian employees often do not have adequate visibility and support, it’s critical for managers to look beyond the current moment and think about systems and structures to support Asian employees,” Leong said. 

According Leong, managers can start conversations with leadership on key questions like “Do Asian employees feel seen and represented in the company’s leadership?” and “Are their stories told as part of the company narrative?” 

This way, businesses can take this dark moment and turn it into a call to action for positive change. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Virtual reality is offering timely narratives on race, diversity and culture by centering the perspectives of people of color

Blood Speaks_ Maya - The Birth of a Superhero
An image from Blood Speaks: Maya – The Birth of a Superhero.

  • Developers are using virtual reality to recreate both historic and everyday events, and allow users to hear and experience different perspectives.
  • Some experiences are designed to encourage people to look at their own behavior, while others tell lesser-heard stories. 
  • One takes users back to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, while another documents the discrimination experienced by a Black male during throughout his life.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As demand for virtual reality and augmented reality continues to grow, people are increasingly using it to learn about racism or hear more stories from people of color.

Read more: What is augmented reality?

In some cases, developers are using the technology to recreate historic events and instances of racism in the hope it will make people address their own misconceptions, Axios reported. In other cases, projects led by people of color are creating highly inventive experiences that entertain as much as they educate. 

Demand for virtual reality is set to boom over the coming years. Shipments of VR headsets are expected to grow 48% annually over the next four years, according to estimates from the International Data Corporation.

The technology is allowing developers to create interactive documentaries, likened to “living museums.”

As part of this, people are using the technology to encourage empathy with marginalized groups. VR simulations show people what it’s like to be homeless, pregnant, in a wheelchair, autistic, or a different race, according to Erick Jose Ramirez, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at Santa Clara University.

“The idea is that technology might help us better understand what it’s like to be someone on the receiving end of racist violence [which] can help us understand the roots of our own racism and then combat it,” Ramirez wrote.

Read more: Google employees sent a letter demanding leadership changes and a stronger commitment to ‘academic integrity,’ as tensions over AI ethicist’s exit continue to rise

Studies have previously suggested that adopting a different race during a VR experience can affect people’s unconscious behaviors during gameplay.

‘I Am A Man’ takes users back to the civil rights movement of the 1960s

“I Am A Man,” made by independent VR developer Derek Ham, takes users back to the key events of the US civil rights movement leading up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Worker’s Strike.

It combines historical film and photographs with voice narrations from actual civil rights participants, and worked alongside the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis to ensure its accuracy.

I Am A Man VR Experience from on Vimeo.


“The vision is to give people an experience of history in a way that provides a more personal understanding of the struggles of these marginalized people,” Ham said on the website.

“The VR experience allows one to literally walk in the shoes of people who fought for freedom and equality during the civil rights era. Most importantly, this project gives users a deeper awareness of their struggle.”

The project, which has won awards, including at the Cleveland and Nashville film festivals, can be downloaded from the Oculus Store but is also available for web, mobile, and screen immersive viewing.

Everyday racism

But not all these VR projects focus on historical events. Some, such as “1,000 Cut Journey,”  look at the everyday life of Black people to show how they face racism on a daily basis.

In the VR developed by Stanford and Columbia Universities, an assistant professor at Columbia’s School of Social Work, users witness the discrimination experienced by a Black male during both his childhood and adult life in the classroom, the workplace, and by police. This is all condensed into 12 minutes.

And “Traveling While Black,” produced by Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams and Emmy Award-winning Felix & Paul Studios, takes users to Ben’s Chili Bowl, a diner in Washington DC that was used by many Black people as a space safe during the Jim Crow laws.

During the experience, users converse with diners who discuss their experiences of restricted movement and race relations as a Black person in the US. The experience aims to confront the way people both understand and talk about race.


“If you’re not African American, you get to go into a space and be part of a conversation that you probably normally would not be privy to,” Williams told The Guardian. “If you are Black, you get to delve deep into that inner trauma that we all carry with us in America as Black people.

“I think that’s really powerful in the way that 2D storytelling can’t provide.”

VR is a vehicle for companies to teach staff about implicit bias

These VR projects aren’t just for personal use. Some are being launched on a corporate scale, too, as an innovative way to provide workplace equality, diversity, and inclusion training. 

Vantage Point, for example, uses VR to teach both Fortune 500 companies and schools about racial discrimination and gender inequality. Vantage Point works alongside companies in the US, UK, Ireland, and France. During the pandemic, it has been shipping headsets to clients.

PwC and tech startup Talespin have launched similar VR implicit bias training, which immerses participants in scenarios where they learn to make inclusive hiring decisions and point out instances of discrimination.

Training programs like these could become more common in the future.

US companies spend $8 billion annually on diversity and inclusion initiatives, yet research shows that they’re actually more segregated now than they were 40 years ago.

VR could be an option for companies to ramp up their implicit bias training – and a PwC study found that it’s actually more cost-effective that classroom-based training. Participants learn quicker and stay more focused, too.

virtual reality VR

Beyond borders

In the UK, immersive technology is also being used to highlight the experiences of people from all backgrounds and ensure their voices are being heard. 

One timely example of this is The CreativeXR program, which is run by Digital Catapult and Arts Council England, and features a varied range of VR and AR-based stories, many of which have been created by people of color.

Blood Speaks: Maya – The Birth of a Superhero, Munkination, SONG, and A Place to Be are among these inventive offerings. Some can be accessed using VR headsets such as Oculus Quest; others via a mobile phone. 

In Blood Speaks, an ordinary 21st-century girl transforms into a superhero whose powers derive from the process of menstruation. The unflinching story is moving and thought-provoking in equal measure.

The project, which was developed specifically for Oculus Quest using Quill and Unity, is inspired by the stories of women in Nepal who are forced into exile because their menstrual blood is considered impure, according to creator Poulomi Basu.

In a statement, Basu said: “The first phase has seen massive impact and helped activate policy change in Nepal. With a little brown girl magic, we are looking to forge new audiences through this female-led narrative that features voices that reconfigure audience perceptions of BAME [black and minority ethnic] characters and, through their interaction with Maya, we want to inspire our audience to find the magic within themselves.”

Musical projects lend themselves particularly well to immersive mediums as Munkination – a hip-hop opera with a futuristic story about climate change at its heart – demonstrates.

Its creator, HAM The Illustrator, said in a statement: “I created this experience because I want to engage my community. There aren’t many stories by and for people like me, and I want to tell a story that puts us at the forefront; our heritage, our perspective, and that history of living in equilibrium with nature, because we don’t have much time left, and we all need to be involved.”

Equally, SONG, an immersive 360° performance based on the K-Pop phenomenon, also uses music to tell a powerful story. The action takes place inside a “planetarium” installation and features simultaneous live streams in VR and 2D environments.

According to creator Sammy Lee, the project emerged out of a deep commitment to the future of the performing arts, driven by the energy of pop music as military technology. 

A scene from A Place To Be
A scene from A Place to Be.

Finally, A Place to Be, by The Independent Film Trust, explores the black British experience beyond the constraints of the present day. The 360˚ VR experience is set in a south London shebeen and uncovers the untold histories of Black Britons. Set in 1981, days before the Brixton uprising, the experience transports viewers to one of the unlicensed clubs that offered a safe space to the African-Caribbean community away from systemic racism. 

Fans of immersive technology should expect to see many more similar inventive AR and VR experiences from a range of providers in 2021, as demand for diversity and culture-based projects continues to align with the need for creative ways to stay connected.

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